Denilson is a happy Gunner

The 22-year-old Brazilian is expected to feature for the Gunners in

tomorrow night’s Champions League Group H clash against Braga in

Portugal, where a point would secure safe passage to the last 16.

Denilson joined Arsenal from home-town club Sao Paulo four years

ago, having captained Brazil to a runners-up spot at the 2005

Under-17 World Championship. With the likes of England’s Jack

Wilshere and Wales youngster Aaron Ramsey, soon to be fit again

after a broken leg, all fighting to partner captain Cesc Fabregas,

there is certainly plenty of options for Arsenal manager Arsene

Wenger. Denilson feels Wenger’s history of helping young talent

develop can only bode well for the future. “It is very good and

healthy to have such competition,” he said. “If you look, the

manager has given all of the young players the opportunity to play,

and to show their abilities. “Cesc Fabregas arrived at Arsenal when

he was 16 years old, now just a few years later he is the captain

of the team. “We have got one of the best teams in the world, and

also one of the youngest, with players like Wilshere and [Abou]

Diaby. “We all work together with the same idea and with huge

respect between everybody.” With concerns over burning out

Fabregas, Wenger could opt to play Denilson alongside Alex Song and

push Wilshere further forwards against Braga. “Denilson is a good

ball winner, and someone who can move the ball very quickly,” he

said. “In the way we see the game, that is a very important

quality. “The ball comes very quickly out of his feet and his

passes are always very clean, with either foot.” Arsenal travelled

to Braga – via Vigo in Spain, because of Portugal’s General Strike

this week – without defender Gael Clichy, who has a minor back

problem, while both Andrey Arshavin and Robin van Persie were also

left in London to recover fitness. England international Kieran

Gibbs is set to stand in at left-back. Denmark striker Nicklas

Bendtner is also in contention, having not featured since his

outspoken comments over selection. Wenger said: “Bendtner is in the

squad, but what is important is that the team does well tomorrow –

at the end of the season, everybody will have forgotten who played

in the game or not. “What will be important is what we will have

achieved together.” Braga may have been swept aside 6-0 in north

London on Matchday 1 during September, but could go level with the

Gunners – currently top of the group on goal difference from

Shakhtar Donetsk – with victory in the AXA Stadium. “In the first

match against Braga, everything went for us and we had a very good

game,” Wenger said at this evening’s official UEFA press conference

in Portugal. “But we have to forget that because it was a big score

under a bit special circumstances. “We feel it will be a completely

new game tomorrow, but we have played in every difficult place in

Europe and we know if we turn up with a good performance we have a

chance to win anywhere. “That is how we will approach the game. “We

will not feel any superiority, but we know that to win any away

game in the Champions League you need to turn up with a good

performance.”