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Wenger expects final to be tale of the unexpected

Written by: Staff

LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has told fans to expect the unexpected in Wednesday's Champions League final against Barcelona.

The Frenchman added to the anticipation surrounding the final of European soccer's elite club competition by saying Arsenal would not man-mark Barcelona dangerman Ronaldinho. He also predicted a thriller at the Stade de France.

''They are a team that you admire, a team that always tries to play and never has a negative approach to the game,'' Wenger told reporters.

''I like that very much and the fact that they have players who turn games round. We all love that in the game.

''It's a game that should be exciting because on both sides we have players who can produce the unexpected.'' The showdown has been dubbed the dream final with Arsenal's outstanding French striker Thierry Henry vying with Brazilian world player of the year Ronaldinho for top billing.

''We will not man mark him,'' Wenger said of the Brazilian, adding that he did not want Arsenal to pin all their hopes on Henry either.

''I don't want too much pressure on Thierry, I just want us to play well as a team. If we play well as a team Thierry will be automatically good. If we don't, Thierry will suffer.

''We saw that (in the semi-finals) against Villarreal away when the team refused to play and we suffered offensively.'' Wenger, whose team laboured to fourth place in the English Premier League this season, is happy to be bracketed with the Spanish champions but says simply being in the final for the first time is not enough.

''Everybody said the dream final is Barcelona against Arsenal which means that somewhere it is acknowledged that Arsenal and Barcelona play good football,'' he said.

''But people always want more. We want to be recognised as being a team who can win the biggest trophy.

''I'm here to win the final. We don't just want to be there in the final, we want to win the trophy and I believe we will do it.'' REUTERS SY VC2300

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