By Richard Clarke
Arsène Wenger insists his decision to bring back Robin van Persie at Tottenham on Wednesday is NOT a massive gamble.
The manager lost William Gallas and Cesc Fabregas for significant periods after he played them while still recovering against Barcelona in the Champions League Quarter-Final first leg. Having waited since November for Van Persie to return, it will be heart-breaking for the Dutch striker to suffer in similar fashion.
At his pre-match press conference, Wenger was confident this would be different but he could provide no promises.
"There is always a gamble," he said. "I don't want to deny that, there is always a gamble in this kind of decision. But in his case we have been a bit more cautious because he has had more time for preparation.
"The biggest gamble I took recently was on Gallas. Fabregas was not a massive gamble. Gallas certainly and it didn't work but he came back from a muscular problem. That is not the case for Robin. He has a joint problem.
"Robin is a very important player for this club. He is important for the confidence of our offensive power, he is a player who can contribute as well. He can make the final ball, he is good on set-pieces, he can score goals, so we are very happy to have him back. The sadness for us is that we lost him so early in the season."