We’ll be without Cesc Fabregas tonight for the trip to Fratton Park against Portsmouth but in this morning’s Daily Mail, super Cesc insists Arsene Wenger was right to gamble on his fitness against Aston Villa – even if the decision did backfire, leaving the midfielder facing three weeks on the sidelines.
As we know, Fabregas produced a stunning 27-minute cameo on Sunday, scoring twice before being forced to withdraw after his hamstring problem flared up once more.
But he tells the paper: ‘I came off the bench with a lot of desire against Aston Villa. I hadn’t played for a few games and I agreed with the manager that I should come on for a while. I am in good spirits.
‘I won’t be able to play for a while but I hope to be fit soon and return to the team to help. I injured myself scoring the second goal. I did a sprint and felt a strange tug.’
Fabregas was also asked about Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood’s recent angry reaction to rumours linking the player with a move to Barcelona. Fabregas said: ‘I don’t want to assess what the chairman said about Barcelona.
‘I am very happy at Arsenal. For 2010 I hope to avoid injury and win a title with Arsenal. I want to have a good World Cup with Spain as well.
Meanwhile the Mirror reckons AW has put Jack Wilshere’s bid to go out for a loan spell on hold – because of his injury troubles.
Wilshere was set to sign for Owen Coyle’s Burnley for the rest of the season, but concerns over Fabregas and Denilson have put that switch on ice.
Wenger may use Wilshere in the FA Cup at the weekend, with a review on his short-term future now put back for a couple of weeks until the problems with Fabregas and Denilson clear up, says the paper.
In this morning’s Sun. AW talks about our run since the defeat at home to Chelsea and ahead of tonight’s game at Pompey. He said: “It shows two things – that football changes very quickly and that sometimes, I am right.”
“Of course Portsmouth is a big game for us. When you are manager, you believe you can never afford a blip. When we were 11 points behind Chelsea we definitely could not. I still believe that today but now we are in a position to take advantage of other teams dropping points. But Portsmouth is always a difficult place to go. I watched them against Liverpool and you need to turn up and to come out with a top performance.”
The paper says AW believes Abou Diaby can add more goals from midfield after his cracking third in Sunday’s 3-0 win over Aston Villa. He added: “Diaby is dominating now and what is very interesting is he and Fabregas can both score goals.
“We have not one, but two players who are good runners so they can come from deep positions and get goals.”
The Daily Telegraph claims our need for a new striker has further intensified after Nicklas Bendtner suffered a fresh injury setback that will rule him out for at least another three weeks.
With Robin van Persie out until April at the earliest, the absence of Bendtner has left AW having to use Andrei Arshavin as the main central striker over the past month, says the paper.
Bendtner suffered a groin problem against Tottenham at the end of October and, although it was hoped he would return early in December and then at the beginning of next month, Wenger is now resigned to waiting a further three weeks.
“He had hernia surgery and should be back already,” said AW. “But he had a groin problem as well and the groin problem looks to last longer, so they say to me three weeks.”

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