Roma v Ajax
Roma need a win tonight to stand any chance of progressing. The mathematics of this group are compicated but Ajax will go through if they win or draw,and may even progress if they lose depending on the result from Valencia’s match with Arsenal.
Their cause has not been helpedby the loss through suspension of captain Francesco Totti, who was sent-off against Arsenal last week.
In his absence Roma will start with a strike partnership of Antonio Cassano, who scored in the 1-1 draw at Highbury, and Vincenzo Montella.
Brazilian midfielder Emerson is expected to play after recovering from an ankle injury. In defence, Leandro Cufre is expected to replace compatriot Walter Samuel, who is suspended.
Ajax’s main concern is over the fitness of Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who hurt his hamstring in the 2-1 Dutch league win over Excelsior Rotterdam on Sunday.
Defender Hatem Trabelsi also picked up a knock in Sunday’s game, but is expected to play.
Roma: Seaman, Lauren, Campbell, Keown, Van Bronckhorst, Wiltord, Gilberto, Vieira, Pires, Henry (Jeffers), Bergkamp.
: Pelizzoli, Panucci, Samuel, Aldair, Candela, Cafu, Emerson, Tommasi, Lima, Cassano (Montella), Totti.
Valencia v Arsenal
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is set to gamble on the fitness of England defender Sol Campbell in the crunch match at Valencia’s Mestalla stadium tonight.
Campbell, whohas been missing from Arsenal’s team in recent weeks has an achilles injury and was initially ruled out of the game. But with Martin Keown definitely ruled out, Wenger would see it as a risk well worth taking.
Pascal Cygan will partner Campbell at the heart of the Arsenal defence. Wenger will definitely be without goalkeeperDavid Seaman who has a damaged hamstring. Wenger had hoped Seaman would be fit but he has failed to recover and young Stuart Taylorwill be handed a start.
England fullback Ashley Cole did not travel to Spain either as he is still recovering from a hernia operation. This leaves his place available and Giovanni Van Bronckhorst will deputize at left back.
Captain Patrick Vieira has recovered in time and will start. Dennis Bergkamp will not play due to his fear of flying. With Arsenal needing to get at least a point from the game to ensure that they progress through to the quarterfinals, Patrick Vieira has said that the team are confident they can get a positive result.
“It’s a big test for us but the kind of game everybody wants to play in.” said Vieira.
“We know what we have to do and we feel we are good enough to go through. We are a better side than when we played them last time. We have improved, learned a lot and we are going there to win the game.”
Valencia go into tonight’s game needing a win to qualify for the next round.
Coach Rafael Benitez is confident that his team can beat Arsenal, despite missing Kily Gonzalez and influential midfielder Ruben Baraja.
“I am absolutely convinced we are going to beat Arsenal and reach the last eight,” the coach said.
“It is true we need a victory, but it is in our hands. The Valencia we will see on Wednesday will be attack-minded, even though we know how good our opponents are.”
Vicente Rodriguez is due to replace Kily Gonzalez but an extra attacker may be used to replace Baraja as Benitez looks to attack Arsenal from the outset.
Valencia: Canizares, Reveillere, Ayala, Pellegrino, Carboni, Rufete, Angulo, Albelda, Vicente, Aimar, Carew.
Arsenal: Taylor, Lauren, Campbell, Cygan, van Bronckhorst, Parlour, Vieira, Gilberto, Pires, Wiltord, Henry.