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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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By ESPN Staff

Returning Henry lauds stand-in Gunners

Thierry Henry may be back to lead Arsenal in their FA Cup tie at Liverpool tomorrow, but the Gunners skipper is all too aware a lot of hard work has been put in without him.

The Frenchman returned from a seven-match injury lay-off because of a sciatic nerve problem to set his side on their way to a 4-0 victory over Charlton on January 2, which moved them back up to fourth in the Barclays Premiership.

During that spell, the Gunners had lost only one game, at Sheffield United last Saturday.

Gilberto took on the mantle of stand-in skipper to chalk up five goals, while the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie, who is suspended tomorrow, have also produced consistent displays.

Henry believes such team spirit has helped the Gunners become an effective unit, whether or not they are missing key men.

He said: 'We have won so many games while missing important players, so I think people should give credit to the players who deserve it.

'Being out of the team injured for a few weeks has meant that I can see and hear things from a different perspective - and I do want to pay credit to Gilberto.

'He has been an amazing player for Arsenal for years, but it seems like he has to score goals before he gets the credit he deserves.

'I would say he has been our most consistent player this season, he is scoring goals, making vital tackles, and he deserves more credit.'

As well as Van Persie, midfielder Cesc Fabregas will also miss tomorrow's match because of a ban in what is the first of two cup matches against the Reds in the space of four days on Merseyside.

Theo Walcott (back), Julio Baptista (ankle) and Togo striker Adebayor (thigh) are all carrying injuries.

Full-back Emmanuel Eboue (knee) should return, while centre-half Johan Djourou (hamstring) and William Gallas (thigh) remain doubts.

Midfielder Freddie Ljungberg (hamstring) is still sidelined, while Abou Diaby is now back in training following his recovery from a broken ankle.

Wenger said: 'We have Eboue available.

'Julio Baptista might come back too and William Gallas is very close [to a return].

'The news of Theo Walcott's back is very good. He and Gallas are possibles for the Carling Cup.

'Lauren is ready to play. He is looking from week to week better and better in training. Emmanuel Adebayor should be back for the Blackburn game.'