Football: Holders have Europe at their mercy: Trevor Haylett sees nothing to stop either Arsenal or Wright in their quest for further glory abroad

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The Independent Online
NEWCASTLE had toyed with the emotions and dreams of their Toon Army and Manchester United had flirted with the prospect of calamitous defeat, but for Arsenal the latest bout of European football proved to be merely a routine piece of business at the foreign office.

With one more goal to furbish the Ian Wright legend and additional evidence to support their reputation as miserly defenders, George Graham's team were able to take an important stride in Copenhagen towards retaining the Cup-Winners' trophy they lifted there in May.

Steeped in experience, Arsenal are superbly equipped to take care of these two-legged ties. Their story of continuing success precedes them abroad so that the next potential victims are facing an uphill task before they start.

Ebbe Skovdahl, the Brondby coach, admitted that they had been 'too impressed' by Arsenal as the visitors established an early 2-0 lead in Thursday's first leg and shouldered some of the blame for that. He said portraying Wright in advance as their only threat had been wrong because 'one or two of my defenders seemed frightened of him'.

With Alan Smith adding to Wright's sequence-stretcher - this was his 12th goal in nine appearances and his sights are now set on the four he needs to eclipse John Radford's 22-year club record of 11 European goals - Arsenal were set fair and well-insured against the fightback. It yielded just one second-half Brondby goal but nothing more besides a collection of bruises and surprise from Graham at the Danes' robust approach.

Briefly, Arsenal's composure went awry, Stefan Schwarz collecting a caution for encroachment which puts him out of the second leg. As important as he is in clamping down on the source of the opposition's attacks, Graham's team should get by without him.

It is a different story across London where Chelsea must travel to Vienna in search of the goals that proved beyond them at Stamford Bridge. Gavin Peacock sounded a note of optimism yesterday but the probable loss of Frank Sinclair is an additional worry. Like Arsenal they have lost on each of the two weekends following European exertions and are anxious to make amends tomorrow against Ipswich as are the Gunners, who receive Coventry.