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Laurens: Pastore matures for PSG

Ligue 1 14 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Sep 16, 2005

'We can cope without Henry', claims Bergkamp

Dennis Bergkamp insists Arsenal can cope with their Champions League striker crisis after Robin van Persie joined Thierry Henry on the sidelines for their next tie away to Ajax.

While Henry is out injured with a groin problem, Van Persie is set to be suspended for the second group game in Amsterdam following his red card against FC Thun.

Jose Antonio Reyes should at least be available to lead the attack in Amsterdam, while Robert Pires, Freddie Ljungberg or Alexander Hleb could always play in behind the Spain international.

However, it has again highlighted Arsenal's lack of strength in depth in terms of recognised out-and-out strikers, with Arsene Wenger having rejected the chance to join the bidding for Michael Owen.

The Arsenal boss had cash to invest but having missed out on his main target, Julio Baptista, he restricted his spending to the purchase of Hleb, teenage midfielder Alexandre Song and on-loan keeper Mart Poom.

'Normally, if you have the confidence in a player like Thierry to play 50 or 60 times a year, you don't have to look for it [a new signing],' insisted Bergkamp ahead of Monday's Premiership game against Everton.

'Unexpectedly, Thierry is missing a few games and you can have a problem - but we have enough players to sort it out.

'The boss is known for making a system for the players that are available. If you don't have an out-and-out striker, you have to find something else and make that work.

'He has got the experience to do it. The start to the season has been a little difficult but we can use players up front that normally play in midfield.

'Jose Reyes has played more games in midfield than up front but can do that job. It has been different in the past, with four or five strikers, but we have lost a few over the years. The boss believes we can do it with these ones.'

Arsenal have been weighing up whether to appeal against Van Persie's dismissal, while UEFA were awaiting the referee's report before finalising the length of his suspension.

Bergkamp insisted: 'We felt aggrieved because we had a good view from the bench and he was always looking at the ball. They [UEFA] have to look at it because there was no intent there.

'A lot of things have already happened to him in his young football career but I think he can handle it, he's got quite a tough mind.'