Wenger to be on guard despite Steaua's troubles

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The Independent Football

Whatever pressure Arsène Wenger may feel under for his Arsenal side to win here in tonight's Champions League group match against Steaua, it is insignificant in comparison to that faced by his counterpart. Steaua's impatient owner, Gigi Becali, has vowed he will sack the interim coach, Massimo Pedrazzini, if his side lose. Pedrazzini took charge on a temporary basis last month following the resignation of Gheorghe Hagi, who blamed ongoing tension with Becali.

The 49-year-old Italian has overseen two victories, including a 1-0 win on Saturday which lifted them to sixth in the league – but it seems he has not yet earned the backing of the owner. "If we lose tomorrow, Pedrazzini will be sacked," said Becali, perhaps in an attempt to motivate his players, who have each been promised a £20,000 bonus if they overcome the Gunners.

Wenger greeted the news of Steaua's unrest cautiously. "We are used to playing teams who have problems, but Arsenal have a very good unity factor for the opponent teams," he said with a smile. "When you play against them, they suddenly discover they have no problem at all."

Arsenal have arrived still monitoring the collateral damage of their weekend win at Upton Park, although, according to Wenger, there is a "50-50" chance of an appearance for Alexander Hleb, who appeared to have been put out of contention by a tackle from Mark Noble, which the Arsenal manager insists merited a red rather than a yellow card.

While the striker Robin van Persie is still recovering from an ankle injury, he has more chance of playing than his forward partner Emmanuel Adebayor, who is struggling with the effects of a kick on the thigh.

Steaua's player to watch

Florin Lovin

A defensive central midfielder whom Arsenal will find hard to break down. A goal threat from set-pieces