Henry and Vieira in as Wenger looks to sharpen up

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The Independent Football

He has one eye on the momentous visit of Manchester United to Highbury on Tuesday and, with that in mind, Arsène Wenger announced that he would unleash Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira on Wolverhampton Wanderers today to make sure his Arsenal team were ready for the challenge that awaits them.

He has one eye on the momentous visit of Manchester United to Highbury on Tuesday and, with that in mind, Arsène Wenger announced that he would unleash Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira on Wolverhampton Wanderers today to make sure his Arsenal team were ready for the challenge that awaits them.

After a week of considering the problem of keeping his players fresh for the most eagerly-awaited match of the Premiership season, Wenger decided that his biggest challenge was not resting his players, but keeping them sharp.

There will be no role for Dennis Bergkamp, and possibly not Robert Pires either, in the FA Cup today but the match will provide some brief respite from the problem of catching Chelsea. Yesterday Wenger said mischievously that he noticed during Wednesday's Carling Cup semi-final certain points about the Premiership leaders that he described as "very interesting to analyse". "We can be very positive," he added.

Although Wenger would not enlarge upon the weaknesses he had spotted in Chelsea, he continues to refuse to give up on the Premiership. "I focus on saying come on Arsenal, let's play good football and try to win games," he said. "If one hundred per cent security was just to have a secure defence and not concede goals, everybody would do it."

Wenger has not yet decided on what measures to take with his midfielder Jermaine Pennant, who was charged at the weekend for drink-driving, but the Arsenal manager will not abandon the 22-year-old who has committed the offence twice in the last year. Pennant's proposed loan move to Birmingham City is now on hold.

Wenger said: "He deserves to be punished but he needs help as well. I don't think he is a drinker but I also don't believe that you can go out on the night before your team plays and say you are a responsible player."

The midfielder Edu now looks like he will be staying at Arsenal this month after Valencia's coach, Claudio Ranieri, revealed that his club were not prepared to match the asking price for the Brazilian. "It's 99 per cent certain that Edu will not arrive in this transfer window," Ranieri said. "Edu is a great player and he's free in June and if we can we will sign him then.

Wenger, who will also start with the goalkeeper Jens Lehmann, also admitted that he passed up the chance to buy Chelsea's Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech. Arsenal could not get a work permit for Cech who was at Sparta Prague at the time.

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