Arsenal lose Song for Barca
Alex Song will miss Tuesday's trip to Barcelona but Arsene Wenger insists captain Cesc Fabregas has a 90 per cent chance of being fit.
By Pete O'Rourke - Follow me on Twitter @skysportspeteo
Last Updated: 07/03/11 5:20pm
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has confirmed injured midfielder Alex Song will miss Tuesday's Champions League trip to Barcelona.
Song missed Saturday's goalless draw against Sunderland as he struggles to recover from a knee problem he picked up in the Carling Cup final defeat to Birmingham.
The Cameroon international failed a fitness test on Sunday and he will not make the trip to Barcelona.
"Alex Song is completely out," Wenger told Sky Sports News.
"He had a test yesterday morning - the test was negative and he's out."
Wenger is confident Cesc Fabregas will be available to face Barcelona, rating his chances at '90 per cent'.
"Wilshere will be fit, Fabregas will have a final test today and I am 90 per cent he will travel and be fit," added Wenger.
Asked how vital it was to have Fabregas fit to play, Wenger said: "It is vital for us because he is important in the transition between defending to attacking because he gets us out of pressure and can give a final ball as well.
"He is one of the leaders of the team - the leader of the team - so it is important to have him in a big game like that."
Wenger has also rubbished the notion that Arsenal will play into Barcelona's hands because they are not set up to defend.
The Frenchman accepts his side are going to have to defend well if they are to progress as he expects Barcelona to dominate possession.
"Yes we have to [defend] because it is one of the few games where we spend 60 per cent of time defending," he said.
"It is very important but we have to fight against the preconceived ideas as well because the only one way of thinking is that Arsenal cannot defend.
"But I would just remind you that in the last 11 games we have seven clean sheets in the Premier League and conceded less goals than Man Utd for example which is a very good defence.
"I think we can defend when we have to, but we prefer to attack that is for sure."
LessonsWenger hopes his side have learned from the mistakes of last season's meeting between the two sides when Lionel Messi destroyed the Gunners with a four-goal salvo at Camp Nou after Theo Walcott had given Arsenal the lead.
He said: "We can learn. I would like to have the same start as last year because I feel defensively we can cope better with their pressure and that is what we want to show.
"The second leg last year was a little bit the Lionel Messi show and you can never bet on a poor performance from Messi but that is certainly one of the keys of the game."
Wenger has set his sights on scoring an away goal as he fully expects Barcelona to score.
"Yes we would take that [a goalless draw], but it is a bit of an illusion to go to Barcelona and think they will not score at all so you have to think as well we want to score at least a goal," concluded Wenger.
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