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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug, 11, 2007

Wenger may play Da Silva in opener

Eduardo da Silva has all the ingredients to be a big hit in the Premier League, according to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. The Brazil-born Croatia international is likely to make his debut for the Gunners against Fulham tomorrow, should he shake off a minor ankle problem. The 24-year-old got his first goal for Arsenal during the pre-season Amsterdam Tournament and comes into the English game as the record scorer in the Croatian league. Wenger has stressed the £7million signing from Dinamo Zagreb is not designed to be a direct replacement for Thierry Henry. However, the Arsenal boss is more than happy with the attributes Eduardo adds to his squad. 'I would not be scared to throw Eduardo in from the start,' Wenger said. 'He has settled in very well. 'Eduardo is a fighter, he can score goals, he is quick, he is a team player so you are never scared to put these players in.' Wenger added: 'You know how big the pressure is on a striker - when he does not score for a while, they say 'What is he doing?' or 'Has he the level to be in there?' 'I remember answering the question for Thierry Henry. `Okay, he created chances but do you think he can score goals?' - and he scored a few. 'So it is very important to score, but not for me, it is more to have a certain peace from outside.' Wenger is confident his squad can emerge from the shadow of record goalscorer Henry. With Robin van Persie fit again and Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor - currently out with a groin problem - the Gunners certainly have plenty of attacking options. Wenger said: 'You have to accept that the team will be different, you cannot compare any individual. 'We have had a few good strikers at Arsenal and no-one scored as many goals as Thierry Henry so you cannot put that kind of pressure on anybody. 'The only thing I can say is that we have a strong belief, a great desire for success. 'We have a great togetherness and we are very hungry - and the fact that everyone doubts about us reinforces that.' Wenger insists Arsenal can silence the critics and have a major impact on the Premier League title race this season following successive fourth-place finishes. 'If you come within our squad, you will see that there is a big contrast between how we see the situation and how our environment (outside) sees the situation,' said the Arsenal manager. 'Because we know we have quality, we know we have a style of play, we know we have a hunger, we know how we have prepared. 'We have created a strong belief, we have a great solidarity in the squad and we know that what matters is now. 'That is why we are so keen to show it. That is the pride of the champions to come and show how good you are, and I believe this team wants to show that.'

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