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Riise relishing Gunners tie

Italians confident of progressing

Last Updated: 23/02/09 10:53pm

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Riise relishing Gunners tie

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Roma defender John Arne Riise insists the Italians are looking forward to their UEFA Champions League clash with Arsenal.

Arsenal welcome Roma to Emirates Stadium on Tuesday in their last 16 tie aiming to continue their unbeaten home record in Europe.

Former Liverpool star Riise is relishing the prospect of taking on Arsene Wenger's men and he is expecting a tough encounter despite Arsenal's poor run of form in the Premier League.

"This is a fantastic place to play, a fantastic stadium and so we have to enjoy it," said Riise.

Not be scared

"We should not be scared or think it is against us. We must enjoy it and I think the players are looking forward to it.

"People say they (Arsenal) have had a bad time but I've seen a few games and they play fantastic football, they have great technical players.

"They defend very well and they have a physical side up front with (Nicklas) Bendtner who is very good in the air and uses his muscle and they also have small, quick players on the wing.

"They are a fantastic team and it will be a difficult game. These are two teams that like to play football and if we do that it will be a good game."

Roma striker Mirko Vucinic has set his sights on helping the side score an away goal to bring back to Stadio Olimpico in a fortnight.

"They are a strong side, but we can beat them," said Vucinic.

"These are two games and therefore if we obtain a good result already in the first leg, we will surely have more possibility to go through.

"The best thing for us would be to score goals away from home, because in this competition the goal away from home is worth double."

Roma coach Luciano Spalletti, meanwhile, is confident his side have what it takes to overcome their poor recent form in England, where they have not won in their last five visits, losing four.

"We have often lost when we have come to England but the statistics are not important," said Spalletti.

"We have worked to improve the team and we know it's important to win.

"With the character this team has shown on a number of occasions against this kind of opposition I feel confident that sooner or later we will win (in England)."

Spalletti also praised his opposite number Arsene Wenger for the work he has done in building a strong identity among his players.

"In my opinion Arsenal as a group are special because of their tradition," he added.

"They may be young but they have a lot of quality. The club knows how to transmit the right behaviour to the players when they wear the shirt. It is part of their project to find young players with lots of talent and from the very start they must show personality.

"It's a very strong group."

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