Fabregas misses Celtic clash

Posted Wednesday, August 26, 2009 by PA

Arsenal will be without captain Cesc Fabregas (hamstring) for the Champions League second-leg clash with Celtic at Emirates Stadium, but he could return for Saturday's Barclays Premier League trip to Manchester United.

Both Abou Diaby and Aaron Ramsey are in contention as the Gunners look to defend a 2-0 lead, with manager Arsene Wenger set to rotate his side.

Czech winger Tomas Rosicky (hamstring) has returned to training and could be match fit by the weekend.

However, England forward Theo Walcott (back), reserve goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski (knee), France winger Samir Nasri (broken leg) and defender Johan Djourou (knee) all continue their rehabilitation.

Manager Arsene Wenger maintains his young Gunners can cope without Fabregas and secure a place in the lucrative group stage of the Champions League.

Wenger has utilised a fluid 4-3-3 formation this season to great effect, with Fabregas flanked by defensive cover.

Wales youngster Ramsey replaced Fabregas at half-time against Portsmouth on Saturday, when he netted his first league goal, while Diaby also laid down his own marker with a brace in the 4-1 win.

"Cesc's scan was quite reassuring," revealed Wenger.

"He has no muscular strain, but it will take a few days to settle down. There is a chance he will be fit for Old Trafford."

The Arsenal manager continued: "I rest players who I feel need a rest without considering the game after.

"My target is to win the game, it's a massive game for us and after that we will see what we do for the weekend.

"It is not job done, it is job to do, to finish. That is how I approach it.

"Celtic have no choice - they will have to come out and have a go at us.

"We will be faithful to our tactical approach and will try to put them under pressure, play very high up and try to win the game."

Celtic midfielder Landry N'Guemo will miss the clash through suspension.

The Cameroon international is suspended as Celtic attempt to overturn a two-goal deficit in the second leg at Emirates Stadium.

The match has come too soon for Stephen McManus and Barry Robson, who are back in full training but did not travel to London with the squad.

Tony Mowbray believes it is unwise to write Celtic off but admits the Hoops are pinning all their hopes on scoring first.

Should Arsenal add a third goal, Mowbray admits the match will effectively be over but he is confident his side will subject Arsene Wenger to some uncomfortable moments.

Arsenal face Manchester United on Saturday so an early breakthrough would enable him to make half-time changes against Celtic.

"It's a difficult task after the first leg but it's a game we're looking forward to. I've talked about trying to score the first goal," said Mowbray.

"In any match the third goal is a very crucial one - it's either when the game's put to bed or the team who was 2-0 up get very nervous.

"We're at half-time in this tie and we need the goal. I don't think Arsene Wenger will have written us off. He's way too good at his job to have done that.

"I'm sure he'd like to score the goal so that he can relax while sitting on the bench.

"But if we score first then he won't be relaxing and it won't be a case of bringing some players off to rest them for Manchester United.

"We gave a good account of ourselves in the first match, though Arsenal were the better side on the night.

"Let's hope for a bit of good fortune and see where that takes us."

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