Wenger on collision course with Fabregas

Cesc Fabregas was one of the victims of Arsene Wenger’s very own ‘hairdryer’ treatment at half-time at Anfield on Sunday and it seems the young Spaniard may again face the manager’s wrath.
This morning’s Daily Mail reports that Johan Cruyff has gone head to head with AW by picking Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas to play in a friendly for Catalonia next week.
Cruyff wants the Arsenal midfielder in a star-studded team that will play Argentina in the Nou Camp on December 22 to raise funds for grass roots sport in the region.
The paper says Fabregas is deeply proud of his Catalan roots and grew up regarding former Barcelona boss Cruyff as a footballing god. Of course, AW has the right to refuse permission for him to play because Catalonia are not an official FIFA nation, and has already said he won’t allow it.
But Fabregas, 22, seems keen to take part. On Saturday morning, the day after Wenger had expressly warned he would refuse permission, Fabregas told Spanish daily newspaper Marca: “I’ll play for Arsenal this Wednesday against Burnley and three days after against Hull.
‘After that we have a gap in the Premier League and so on December 22 I will play for Catalonia at the Nou Camp. We are going to have almost a week without any games in the English league, and I want to take advantage of this by going to Spain and playing for the Catalan team against Argentina.’
AW is more worried about keeping his talismanic midfield leader fit for a Christmas programme that includes meeting in-form Aston Villa as well as a trip to bottom club Portsmouth.
Meanwhile, Theo Walcott has come out fighting after the 2-1 win over Liverpool and suggested that we are still very much in the race for the title. He told the Sun: “Results like this show we are no pushovers. Being 1-0 down at Anfield, it is a hostile place but we showed great spirit to come back and win.
“We wanted to give something back to the fans because they were fantastic for us. We believe we can mount a challenge without Robin. He is such a big player for us — he has scored so many important goals for us and his stature up front scares defenders.
“He will be an unbelievable miss but we have got people like Andrey coming in to fill the gaps and he is fantastic as well. He will definitely clock up plenty of goals. It is fantastic to see but hopefully we can get our injured players back sooner rather than later.
“It is great to get these three points and gradually get closer to Chelsea and Manchester United. We have a game in hand coming up but we must look to Wednesday’s game at Burnley now and aim to get the three points. We will be right there at the end of the season.”
In the Mirror, Fabregas claims Arsenal proved by beating Liverpool that size doesn’t matter. We’ve been criticised for not having enough big, physical players in his side, and at Anfield he started with the pint-sized Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Theo Walcott and Andrey Arshavin.
But Fabregas claims the spirit they showed to come back to win 2-1 shows size isn’t everything.
“Football is not all about size,” he said. “We’ve seen successful teams in the past without any physical presence, who could play great football.
“In the second half we showed that if you play good football, it’s very difficult to stop.
“We’re happy with the result as it’s three points in a very difficult stadium. We would have been delighted at the start of the season to be told we’d get three points here.”
The win puts Arsenal right back in the title race and they are six points behind leaders Chelsea with a game in hand.
Fabregas claims all the top teams will continue dropping points in what he predicts will be the most keenly-contested Premier League battle for years.
“The title race has a long way to go and is more open than ever,” said the Spain star. “You can see that any team can beat any team, which is good for the spectators and all the teams. We’re happy with the situation we’re in right now.
“There’s still a long way to go and we can improve in many ways. In the first half we were not at our best, but came back to win the game, which is the sign of a big team. But we can always improve. Even the best team in the world can improve.”
Fabregas felt the win was important psychologically because Arsenal proved they can beat one of their main rivals without the injured Robin van Persie.
“What I’ve learned over the years is that a football team is not only about one player or two players, it’s about the team,” he said. “There are 25 players in the squad and whoever comes in can do very well as we showed at Liverpool.
Theo Walcott, who outjumped Jamie Carragher to set up Arshavin for his winner, agreed that they can still be contenders without the Dutch striker.
“We believe we can mount a challenge without Robin,” said the England winger. “He is such a big player for us. He has scored so many important goals for us and his stature up front scares defenders.
“He will be an unbelievable miss, but we have got people like Andrey coming in to fill the gaps and he is fantastic as well.”

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