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Tuesday, September 21, 1999 Published at 19:53 GMT 20:53 UK

Kanu pays penalty

Kanu starts on the bench, but Dixon returns after ban

Arsenal star Kanu has started on the bench for the visit of AIK Solna.

Wenger: "We will be less comfortable at Wembley but if we play well - we win"
But even if he does get on, following his miss in Florence the Nigerian will not take a penalty.

Manager Arsene Wenger said: "It is too soon to put him back in that position, even though he is a strong guy and will get over that miss in Florence.

"He was very down afterwards and could not even find the words to apologise to his team-mates."

[ image: Wenger discusses matters with Thierry Henry on Tuesday]
Wenger discusses matters with Thierry Henry on Tuesday
Penalty-taking at Arsenal has become a difficult subject after Dennis Bergkamp's miss last season cost the club a place in the FA Cup final.

Bergkamp and Davor Suker are likely to be the starting strikers on Wednesday, but Marc Overmars may get the spot-kick job, should one come along.

Wenger will not reveal the identity of his new choice, as the manager battles with another psychological barrier - their temporary home ground of Wembley.

Last year Arsenal won just one of three matches underneath the Twin Towers, but return because of a limit of just over 30,000 placed on Highbury for European ties.

Many Arsenal players say the national stadium is a disadvantage to their playing style, while it gives visiting sides a lift.

"Last season we just did not feel as comfortable playing at Wembley as we do at Highbury," admitted Martin Keown.

"I don't think anybody can be surprised by that."

But Wenger is not convinced.

"We must not be misled by wrong things," warned the Frenchman.

"Given the choice, and with all things equal, we would all prefer playing at Highbury. But if we pass the ball well and take our chances to score, the field does not matter."

Lee Dixon is available again for the Gunners after serving a two-match Euro ban and he starts.

But Ray Parlour is still banned for one more game, and Emmanuel Petit misses out with knee trouble.

English boss

Solna - who used to be known as AIK Stockholm - have an English coach in Stuart Baxter.

The former Preston and Stockport player has never managed at League level in England, but delivered Solna's 10th Swedish League title last November.

The team did it by drawing half their 26 games and winning just 11 matches, while their defence went 13 domestic league and cup games without conceding a goal until a recent game.

Their tight defence almost secured a shock win over Barcelona last week when they were finally undone by two goals in the last four minutes.

Barca's equaliser came from a corner when Baxter was trying to make a substitution and had 10 men on the field.

His rage at the French referee after the game has led to a touchline ban from Uefa for his Wembley visit.

Former Leicester City defender Pontus Kaamark and ex-Newcastle striker Andreas Andersson are familiar names returning to England.


Arsenal: Manninger, Dixon, Keown, Adams, Winterburn, Ljungberg, Vieira, Grimandi, Overmars, Bergkamp, Suker. Subs: Lukic, Vivas, Henry, Silvinho, Luzhny, Kanu, Upson.

AIK Solna: Asper, Nordin, O. Andersson, Brundin, Gustafsson, Novakovic, Tjernstrom, A. Andersson, Lagerlof, Ljung, Kaamark. Subs: Baxter, Corneliusson, Bergh, Aslund, Mattiasson, Kjolo, Johansson.

Referee: M Pereira (Portugal)

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