Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas has heaped praise on teammate Robin van Persie ahead of tonight’s Champions League clash against Barcelona, describing the Dutchman as the “perfect striker”.
Van Persie is in contention for a shock starting place in tonight’s crucial tie at the Nou Camp after recovering from a knee injury sustained in the Carling Cup Final defeat to Birmingham.
It was initially believed the Dutch striker would be out for three weeks with the injury but his “amazing” recovery has netted him a place in the squad for tonight’s match as Arsenal look to complete a historic victory against a team regarded as one of the greatest of all time.
Van Persie scored in the first leg against Barcelona at the Emirates, helping Arsenal to come from a goal down to win 2-1 with Andre Arshavin bagging the late winner.
And his surprise return is a huge boost to the Gunners, according to Cesc Fabregas.
The captain told Arsenal’s website: “Robin is a very important player for us, he is the perfect striker, he can do everything and understands the game very, very well.
“For a midfielder to have a player like him, it is fantastic because he gives you all the options that you need.
“I was very surprised [to hear he was in the squad] because this [Monday] morning we did not know anything about it. He woke up feeling great and said he wanted to try and practice. No-one wanted to cheat on anyone, it has been a surprise on the whole team.
“He was bandaging his ankle for training and said ‘I am doing great and I want to try. Let’s see how I feel tomorrow’. If he is fit to play, it would be very good.”
However, one player Arsenal will be without is midfielder Alex Song with the Cameroon international ruled out with a knee injury.