Football: Wenger waits on Overmars

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The Independent Online
Arsene Wenger takes Arsenal into Europe tonight convinced that the English game handicaps its leading clubs. The Gunners, 1-0 down from the first game, take on PAOK Salonika in the Uefa Cup second leg at Highbury tonight.

Wenger will be waiting for news on the fitness of Marc Overmars and hoping that the full-back Lee Dixon can recover from a calf injury. Overmars, who has scored three goals in the last two games, limped off the field against Everton on Saturday complaining of an ankle injury.

Wenger believes that the heavy workload English football forces on its big clubs is ruining their chances of success in European competition.

"I have said for a long time that you will see some surprises in English football because of the schedule like it is," he said. "We have only three days - that's very short - to get people fit from the Saturday matches.

"It's not long enough. When you play Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday and then Tuesday like we will be doing, it's tough going into European games because you find that your opponents have been resting. We should ban championship matches between the two European ties, which is what happens almost everywhere else."

At least Wenger will have the free-scoring Dennis Bergkamp back in his side, after the Dutchman was left out of the first leg because of his fear of flying.

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