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Wenger making case for Henry; Arsenal 2 Werder Bremen 0.

Arsene Wenger told France they should pick Thierry Henry as their No 1 striker after Arsenal's pounds 10million man put the Gunners within touching distance of a place in the UEFA Cup semi-finals.

Henry came up with another stunning goal, but it took until 14 minutes from the end for Fredrik Ljungberg to give Arsenal a 2-0 cushion for next week's second leg in Germany. And Wenger refused to boast that a place in the last four was already a formality.

'I believe is a good result for us but the tie is still 50-50 because Werder Bremen have a strong tradition of reversing results at home,' said the Arsenal boss.

Bremen were a big letdownb last night, but they overturned a 3-0 deficit against Lyon in the third round to go through 4-0 at home and dismissed holders Parma last week on a 3-2 aggregate after trailing 1-0 from the first meeting in Italy.

But they were never going to come back with a precious away goal after Henry's 21st-minute strike.

The Highbury hero chased a long through-ball from Patrick Vieira, into acres of space and beat the offside trap before beating goalkeeper Frank Rost.

Wenger said: 'He has taken some huge steps and I would say he is ahead of all the contenders for a place in the France team including Nicolas Anelka, David Trezeguet and Sylvain Wiltord of Bordeaux.

'He played out wide for France in the World Cup but when I had him at Monaco at the age of 15 and 16, I played him in the centre because you could see he had something as well as strength and physique.'

Ljungberg netted Arsenal's second goal 14 minutes from time to give them a comfortable cushion for the trip to Germany next Thursday.

Skipper Tony Adams made all the difference, but this was only his second appearance in 12 games and Wenger is wary about sending him out again against Tottenham on Sunday after struggling with foot and groin injuries.

Scorer: Henry (21) 1-0, Ljungberg (77) 2-0.

ARSENAL: Seaman, Dixon, Adams, Luzhny, Silvinho, Parlour (Overmars, 66), Vieira, Grimandi, Ljungberg, Bergkamp (Kanu, 66), Henry. Subs: Winterburn, Keown, Suker, Manninger, Malz.

WERDER BREMEN: Rost, Eilts, Baumann, Wiedener, Tjikuzu, Frings, Herzog, Dabrowski, Barten, Bode, Ailton (Schierenbeck, 83). Subs: Flock, Maximow, Trares, Bogdanovic, Brasas, Skripnik.

Referee: C Colombo (France).

Booking: Bremen - Herzog.

Attendance: 38,009.
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Title Annotation:Football
Author:Pierce, Bill
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Mar 17, 2000
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