By Declan Taylor

Arsène Wenger believes that Denilson will have a crucial part to play in a midfield battle that Arsenal “cannot lose” against Roma.

The Brazilian has started more games than anyone else in Wenger’s squad and he looks set to retain his place for Tuesday’s visit of the Serie A giants.

Wenger has pinpointed the central midfield clash as a particular hotspot in the match – and he’s certain that if Arsenal can assume control in the engine room, they will be well placed for victory.

“Denilson will have an important part to play in the Roma game and I believe the whole team will have an important part,” said the manager.

“When you play against Roma you know there is one battle you cannot lose and that is in midfield because that is their strong point.

“They play with a congested midfield and with a lot of short passing on the ground. If you lose that battle you will be second best.”

With injuries to Cesc Fabregas, Abou Diaby and Theo Walcott, Denilson has become the only real mainstay of a Gunners midfield which has chopped and changed all season.

His manager can see a notable physical improvement in the 21-year-old’s game and thinks that the stats speak for themselves when it comes to his overall contribution.

“If you look at the numbers and the amount of balls he wins, he is one of the top midfield players in the country on many indexes,” Wenger said. “He doesn’t talk too much be he is very efficient.

“I am surprised how little credit he got for what he has delivered since the start of the season. I think he has improved tactically in his first pass and physically in the challenge. He is much stronger than a year ago.

“You can see today when he makes a tackle he wins the ball. I am convinced he will be even stronger in six months.”

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21 Feb 2009