Henry back to give Wenger fully fit squad for Cup final

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The Independent Online

Arsène Wenger yesterday said that Arsenal could be back to full strength for the FA Cup final as Thierry Henry prepares to make his return from injury against Everton tonight.

Arsène Wenger yesterday said that Arsenal could be back to full strength for the FA Cup final as Thierry Henry prepares to make his return from injury against Everton tonight.

Henry may not start the Premiership game at Highbury, but he could make his first appearance for five weeks after a groin injury. As long as he can come through that test, followed by Sunday's game at Birmingham City, he will line up against Manchester United in Cardiff on 21 May.

Sol Campbell and Freddie Ljungberg could join him, with the England centre-back destined to return after injury against either Everton or Birmingham. However, given that Wenger had rated Henry as having only a "30-70" chance of facing United just a fortnight ago, his return is the biggest boost of all for Arsenal.

"Thierry is back in the squad and it's very good news. I'm very surprised but we still have to see how he reacts to playing and training regularly," Wenger said. "I expected his season to be over, and so did he, but he has worked very hard in training and he has improved tremendously in the past week.

"If there was the slightest risk, I would not take it in the Cup final but his body is a one-off. He needed a break physically. The body is always the first alarm that you need a breather.

"He wants always to play but maybe we will have to be a little more cautious with him. We are not completely over this injury at the moment. We have to see whether his inflammation of the groin comes back."

Arsenal have coped well without Henry as Jose Antonio Reyes and Robin van Persie have risen to the challenge. Philippe Senderos has played well since Campbell injured his ankle against United on 1 February.

"Sol will get a game or two before the final," Wenger said. "My thinking is simple. Senderos is doing well and, of course, they can play together. But Sol has been doing very well in training and has no deep [injury] problem apart from the fact that he hasn't played. Will he start the FA Cup final? I don't know. In football you have to accept to go from game to game."

Wenger said David Moyes deserved to be named manager of the season for the "miracle" of guiding Everton into the Champions' League. Wenger said: "For me what Everton have done is a miracle. After the first game of the season, I thought they would go down and I felt sorry for them. But then they got on a run that has been incredible. I think David Moyes deserves a lot of credit with his staff, and the players as well. Every point they have earned has been through hard work.

Asked if Moyes was his manager of the year, Wenger said: "It must be [Jose] Mourinho and Moyes. It just shows how strange football can be. Moyes was the bet to be one of the first managers sacked."

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