Eurozone: Gunners are young but not naive, says Henry

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The Independent Online

Thrierry Henry knows all about that age-old Arsène Wenger tactic of talking up the youthful naivety of his players but the ex-Arsenal forward has warned Barcelona the Premier League side are old enough and good enough to beat his current team.

The Frenchman, who scored 226 goals for the north-London club in eight seasons before he left in 2007, said: "They are still young but they have been playing together for a long time. Cesc [Fabregas] has now been playing for Arsenal for seven years. Clichy has also been at the club for a long time.

"You can say the same for Song, Denilson and Van Persie, Nasri. It is true that the players are young but at the same time they are very competitive. When any team plays the current holder, people always say the champions are the favourites.

"But look at what has happened so far. Look at Lyons with Real Madrid and CSKA with Seville. I would not say that there is a favourite. It will be very difficult."

Henry must wait to see if he is recalled for the Arsenal game, but the man who knocked Chelsea out of the Champions League and sent the birth rate in Catalonia rocketing the last time he was in London, will almost certainly not play.

Andres Iniesta's last-minute goal at Stamford Bridge in last season's semi-final broke Chelsea hearts, and Barcelona's maternity hospitals recorded a 40 per cent rise in births nine months afterwards. But the midfielder went off injured in his side's 1-0 victory over Real Mallorca on Saturday and will miss the first leg. Leo Messi, Xavi and Gerard Pique are all expected to be fit despite not starting in the away win. Henry, who was fit but left in the stands by Pep Guardiola, is less certain to be involved.

Robben misses United first leg

Arjen Robben will miss Bayern Munich's first-leg Champions League quarter-final against Manchester United after picking up a calf injury in the German side's shock home defeat to Stuttgart. Bayern already have their other superstar Franck Ribéry wrapped in cotton wool and hope Robben will make the second leg at Old Trafford. Ribéry was left on the bench in the 2-1 defeat, which leaves Louis van Gaal's team two points off the lead in the Bundesliga. The Italian title race was blown wide up with Roma closing the gap on Internazionale to one point by beating them 2-1 at home courtesy of goals from Luca Toni and Daniele De Rossi.

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