Cesc Fabregas already a doubt for Manchester United v Arsenal clash

The Arsenal captain is out injured again after manager’s fitness gamble backfired in Portugal

ARSENAL are facing up to the prospect of another spell without captain Cesc Fabregas as their nightmare week continued in Portgual on Tuesday night.

Arsene Wenger admitted he took a gamble on playing his skipper, and it was one he regretted as the Spaniard limped off before the end of the 2-0 defeat that has put the Gunners’ qualification for the Champions League knockout stages in jeopardy.

“It could be two to three weeks [out for Fabregas],” said Wenger. “It is very disappointing because I had a hesitation to play him before the match started. I took the gamble and it backfired on us.”

Fabregas missed a month with a hamstring problem earlier this season, but that was in his other leg and unrelated to the new injury, said his manager. He will certainly miss Saturday’s trip to Aston Villa, and could even be a doubt for visit to Old Trafford on December 13.

“It is a hamstring but it is the other leg, it is hard to predict how long he could be out,” said the Frenchman, for whom the night could barely have gone any worse. Emmanuel Eboue was also injured and “will be out for a while”, an injury that left the Gunners with 10 men as they slipped to a morale-sapping and potentially damaging defeat.

The Gunners’ destiny is in their own hands in the final game against Partizan Belgrade at the Emirates, but anything less than victory and they could be out.

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“It is hard to swallow, but now we have to win our last game,” added Wenger. “The most important thing for us now is to qualify. It is good that Shakhtar play against Braga but they are the super favourites to win the group.”