Wenger takes Henry gamble

Arsene Wenger knows the season could effectively be over for Thierry Henry should his gamble on the striker's fitness go horribly wrong tonight.

Arsene Wenger knows the season could effectively be over for Thierry Henry should his gamble on the striker's fitness go horribly wrong tonight.

The Arsenal skipper has not trained fully for the best part of two weeks but will return to the squad for the crucial Champions League clash with PSV Eindhoven at the Emirates Stadium.

Henry, 29, has been hampered by a troublesome hamstring as well as a foot problem - and was given a painkilling injection to play in the first leg a fortnight ago.

Last season's exploits in dragging the Gunners towards the Champions League final and then the bitter disappointment of also coming so close to World Cup glory have clearly taken their toll.

Henry is desperate to get back into action and feels he is `paying the price' for continuing to play on earlier in the campaign when not physically ready.

Wenger accepts this time that they have to get it right.

"His season has been disturbed by small injuries but sometimes small injuries are worse than the real injury, they stop you playing at 100% of their level and that is what has happened to him this season," said the Arsenal boss.

"From his back (problem), his hamstring has been tight for the whole season. If it gets worse after the game, we will stop him completely until he is completely clear."

Wenger added: "There is no risk for his health, but it is just it could get worse again after the game - and you then start from scratch."

The Arsenal manager knows just what an influence his talisman can be.

"Thierry is vital because he can score you a goal and he has a psychological impact on the opponents as well, therefore I am very happy that I have him available," said Wenger.

"Every player is the most important but some, like Thierry, have been more influential.

"The history he has made speaks for him - he is the biggest goalscorer and when you look at how difficult it is to score in the modern game it has been amazing."

The Arsenal boss added: "Thierry's attitude in the camp is great. He was for a while down, but now he just wants to do as well as he can."

The Gunners must overturn a 1-0 deficit if they are to progress to the last eight.

Arsenal (from): Lehmann, Almunia; Clichy, Djourou, Toure, Gallas, Ljungberg, Fabregas, Gilberto, Hleb, Adebayor, Baptista, Henry, Walcott, Denilson, Aliadiere, Diaby, Traore.

PSV EINDHOVEN (probale): Gomes; Sun Xiang, Alex, Addo, Carlos Salcido; Culina, Simons, Mendez, Cocu; Kone, Farfan.

Referee: Alain Hamer (Luxembourg).

Kick-off: Tonight, 1945.

TV: Live on Sky Sports 2 from 1930.

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