By Chris Harris

Arsenal have spent much of this season proving the critics wrong. That's why Cesc Fabregas believes they can bounce back and beat Manchester United tonight.

The holders are firm favourites to reach the Champions League Final after securing a 1-0 lead in last week's first leg and Fabregas knows that a goal for United at Emirates Stadium would leave Arsenal needing three to go through.

But Fabregas has seen enough this term to suggest that Arsenal can overcome adversity once more. The captain watched Mathieu Flamini and Alex Hleb leave last summer, suffered five defeats in the first 14 Premier League games and then spent four months on the sidelines with a knee injury. But Arsenal's response - a 21-game unbeaten run in the top flight - has convinced Fabregas that they can upset the odds this evening.

"I never believed we could not do well this season, that was more down to the press than ourselves," he said.

"It is true that we have been linked with a lot of disappointments and things which we could have done better. The start of the season was difficult. We lost players we never expected to leave, but the team kept going.

"That shows the mental strength and character of the team because we are now playing in the Semi-Finals of the Champions League.

"I didn’t think we were struggling at all [when I was injured]. I watched all the games and I think when I was injured they won all the games, so I didn’t think that.

"My target, and everyone’s target was to be in the Champions League Final and I still think we can do that. We will give everything to make sure that happens. Everyone worked really hard this season to be where we are now and we want to achieve it. We feel that if we play well, we will deserve to be in that Final."

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
5 May 2009