Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Frimpong's Going to War Even If Arsenal Don't Need to Win

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Frimpong's Going to War Even If Arsenal Don't Need to Win

Article excerpt

Byline: James Olley in Piraeus

ARSENAL'S Champions League dream may not be on the line this evening but the encounter is a chance for Emmanuel Frimpong to revive his own career aspirations with the club.

Frimpong (below) is expected to anchor the midfield in a markedly changed line-up from Saturday's Premier League stroll at Wigan but with the fingerprint of the side that were unfortunate to lose a Carling Cup quarter-final against Manchester City last week.

The 19-year-old will start only his eighth match for the club this evening here at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium, which will provide an oddly juxtaposed backdrop of a hostile atmosphere from which the visitors need not extract anything.

Frimpong's bellicose playing style has earned him a significant following for one whose career is so embryonic -- a quick glance at Twitter puts his followers at more than 216,000 which reflects his willingness to engage fans on anything from declaring himself unbeatable at table tennis to a full explanation of his "Dench" catchphrase. (Dench is the clothing brand owned by rapper Lethal Bizzle).

But it is his willingness to engage opponents no matter how great their distinction that enthuses manager Arsene Wenger.

On a night when motivation could become a factor given Arsenal's impregnable position at the top of Group F, Frimpong will play an important role in repelling an onslaught from the Greek champions, who know even a victory is no guarantee of progress into the last 16.

The Ghanaian-born midfielder should revel in the limelight. After missing last season with anterior cruciate knee ligament damage, he is making up for lost time.

"Manu was massively impressive before he got injured, because he had been outstanding in pre-season," said Wenger.

"He struggled to come back and feels he is not completely back to his best, but I think he is -- what Manu needs now are competitive games. …

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