Belfast Telegraph

Arsenal stars van Persie, Fabregas and Wilshere recover in time for Barcelona clash

By John Kerr

Arsenal striker Robin van Persie is expected to play against Barcelona at the Nou Camp tonight after making a dramatic, unexpected return from injury.

The Dutchman sustained a knee injury during Carling Cup final defeat against Birmingham and was supposed to miss the eagerly-awaited Champions League last 16, second leg showdown.

But now Van Persie, whose goal sparked a storming fightback by Arsenal in the first leg, will have a morning fitness test and could well start the game alongside crucial midfielders Cesc Fabregas and Jack Wilshere.

The Gunners, who lead 2-1, will not, however, have anchorman Alex Song or flying winger Theo Walcott fit in time for this one.

Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola said he would welcome all of the Gunners' star names tonight.

“I’d love to see them all there because I would like to play the best possible Arsenal team,” he said.

Gunners skipper Fabregas, an on-off Barca target who missed last season's Champions League quarter-final at the Nou Camp through injury, said: “A win for Arsenal in this game is all I’ll be thinking about.”

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