Football: Arsenal look to England's forgotten men: Spiked Gunners prepare for the silencing of Silenzi in the shadow of the Alps as Graham aims to draw shroud over Turin hopes

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The Independent Online
THE individuals concerned will take some convincing, but Terry Venables probably did Arsenal a favour when he left four of their finest out of his first England squad. Motivation will not be a problem for the Gunners he spiked in tonight's first leg of the European Cup-Winners' Cup quarter-final against Torino.

The fact that Lee Dixon, Nigel Winterburn, Paul Merson and Ian Wright are not required at Wembley next week makes them all the more determined to represent their country with distinction here, where Arsenal are carrying the flag as England's last representatives in Europe.

George Graham shrugged and said: 'It's not up to me who Terry picks', but a knowing smile indicated that the point was not lost on a manager who has won just about everything bar a European trophy in his eight years at Highbury. It is a gap on his CV he is anxious to fill.

Never one to give much away, he contented himself with saying that none of his players lacked incentive, but Wright, in particular, is fired up and raring to go.

So, too, it goes without saying, is one of the two Arsenal players Venables did pick on Monday, Tony Adams. Arsenal expect to be heavily reliant on their clenched-fist captain, whose brief is to subdue Andrea Silenzi, Italy's latest centre-forward, with the same rugged efficiency which left Alan Shearer cursing in frustration on Saturday.

Adams's inspirational form and leadership qualities have brought him to the verge of the England captaincy. He is neck and neck with David Platt for the job, with Venables due to announce his choice on Monday. Adams is acting, and sounding the part here, although the erstwhile 'Donkey' should find an alternative metaphor to the carrot and stick when he talks about different players needing different treatment.

Six years as Arsenal's captain had taught him that while some team- mates benefited from a boot up the backside, others responded more readily to a pat on the back.

'I like to get them going, but you've got to know your players,' he said. 'There's no point rucking with some people. Alan Smith is the example I always use. He is so easy- going that there's no point having a go at him. David Seaman is the same. He's got this aura of calm authority about him. You can't get stuck into him.

'Motivation is a big thing with me. I like to get myself, and everybody else wound up, but it's not a question of going mad. Some people seem to think I walk around the dressing-room going berserk, but it's not like that. I just like to remind the players what their responsibilities are, what their job is or, in other cases, how they should relax and express themselves.'

Responsibility rather than free expression is the order of the day here, with Arsenal content to keep it tight and leave the winning of the tie to the second leg, back home.

Graham was in the well-appointed Stadio delle Alpi on Sunday to see Torino beat Internazionale 2-0 for what was only their second win in 12 Serie A games. Impressed? Not particularly. Inter had disappointed him, he said, throwing in the towel on falling behind.

'Three weeks ago, I saw a much better game, when Torino lost to Parma, who are a great team.' That match, more than Sunday's, had taught him that Turin's 'other' club possessed two of the best defensive markers in Italy in Angelo Gregucci and Enrico Annoni, and two dangerous runners - Benito Carbone and Enzo Francescoli.

In style, he said, Torino were very similar to Arsenal. 'They are very strong defensively. They do tend to give away a lot of free-kicks. We could do with an Italian to take them.' Graham insisted he was harbouring 'no negative thoughts', but the strong probability is that he will rely on the compact 4-5-1 formation which served Arsenal well in the last round, when they defeated Standard Liege 7-0 away and 10-0 on aggregate.

The shape worked well again in rehearsal on Saturday, when Blackburn were beaten 1-0, and Smith, masterly as the lone striker, may be preferred to Wright, who missed the match in Liege.

The more prolific of the two ex- England strikers was omitted for precautionary reasons at the weekend, and says he is now 100 per cent fit, but a booking in the last round has put him in danger of suspension, and Graham is inclined to keep him in reserve.

Even after Sunday's resurgence, Torino are a modest sixth in the table, and Arsenal are good enough to emulate Terry Neill's Class of '80, who beat Juventus here en route to the final of the same competition.

Torino (probable): Galli; Fusi, Gregucci, Annoni, Mussi, Venturin, Fortunato, Jarni, Carbone, Francescoli, Silenzi.

Arsenal (probable): Seaman; Dixon, Bould, Adams, Winterburn, Parlour, Merson, Jensen, Hillier, Campbell, Smith.

Referee: J Quiniou (Fr).

Official problem,

Last night's football, page 39

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