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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr, 4, 2006

Del Piero loses fitness battle for Arsenal showdown

Juventus striker Alessandro Del Piero has been ruled out of tomorrow's Champions League quarter-final second leg with Arsenal due to a thigh injury.

The Italian international, who is the club's all-time leading scorer, missed the first leg with the injury and now Juve will be without their talisman as they attempt to overturn a 2-0 deficit against the Gunners in Turin.

Fabio Capello, the Juve coach, was hoping to have all of his attacking options available with both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Trezeguet ineffective at Highbury last week.

However, those two players are now set to start against Arsenal.

'Del Piero has not been picked,' Capello confirmed in his press conference before Wednesday's game.

The coach will be without four key players for the game.

Mauro Camoranesi, Patrick Vieira and Jonathan Zebina are all suspended.

'I never cry about what I don't have,' Capello said. 'I'm always positive. I am happy with the team I have and I am confident that we can do well.'

Czech playmaker Pavel Nedved missed the first game with a ban and returns to the line-up.

'Nedved is a crucial player,' Capello said. 'He is able to change the rhythm of a team during a game. And considering we have to attack from the very beginning, he will be important for us.'

Arsenal, meanwhile, hope Cesc Fabregas will be available but Emmanuel Eboue faces a fitness test.

Ivory Coast defender Eboue (groin) is rated with only a '30 per cent' chance of starting but has travelled to Turin along with Fabregas (foot) and fit-again Sol Campbell.

England international Campbell is expected to be in the squad for the first time since the start of February, while midfielder Freddie Ljungberg has recovered from his calf problem.

Manager Arsene Wenger said: 'At the moment Fabregas looks good. Eboue will have final test tomorrow, because we did not want to take any chances today. He did tests today without the ball and looked very positive. He has a 30 per cent chance to start the game.'

Arsenal are without veteran Dennis Bergkamp (groin), although he would not have travelled anyway because of his fear of flying. Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor is cup-tied - and left-back Ashley Cole (ankle), Pascal Cygan (hamstring) and long-term absentee Lauren (knee) are all out.

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