Baptista: Experience will eliminate Gunners
Arsenal, with captain Cesc Fabregas and strikers Emmanuel Adebayor and Eduardo missing for the first-leg at the Emirates Stadium next Tuesday, will be forced to field several fresh-faces against Luciano Spalletti's Serie A side.
And Baptista, who spent the 2006/07 season on loan at Arsenal from Real Madrid, is confident his experience, along with that of team-mates Francesco Totti, Simone Perrotta and Christian Panucci, will overcome Arsene Wenger's young Gunners. "Don't get me wrong, it isn't a defect," he said. "But when you're playing at this level, the last 16 of the Champions League, a lack of international experience can give your opponents the advantage."
Roma's meeting with Arsenal is one of three last 16 clashes between English and Italian sides, with Premier League leaders Manchester United facing Serie A front-runners Inter Milan and Chelsea taking on Juventus.
And the 27-year-old says cutting out basic errors will be key if either of the other two Italian sides are to advance to the quarter-finals. "For sure they will be three great matches between the best teams in Europe," he said. "For us, as for Juventus and Inter, it will be hard because at the moment English football is the forefront. "Inter, Roma and Juventus have everything needed to do well against Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea, but it will be fundamental not to make any mistakes because if you mess up even briefly, you're out and can't recover. "For this reason, us, Inter and Juventus cannot commit any errors."
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