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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wenger’s Fab gamble backfires

Arsene Wenger knew he was taking a risk of Cesc Fabregas’ fitness when he named him in the starting line up for the Gunners Champions League clash away at Braga.

The Spanish International had complained of sore hamstrings and it was believed he would sit out the match in Portugal in order to be 100% for crucial upcoming league games.

In the end he was a surprise selection, despite other first teamers Robin Van Persie and Andrey Arshavin sitting out the game against the same opposition they beat 6-0 in the reverse fixture last September.

But those who followed the latest scores this week will be aware that the gamble backfired spectacularly and things quickly turned sour for Arsenal the moment Fabregas limped off midway through the second half.

A few minutes later Carlos Vela was brought down in the box but was bizarrely booked for diving instead. Then six minutes later Matheus ran onto a long ball and slotted clear to put the Portuguese side ahead.

With the Gunners pressing for an equaliser in stoppage time Matheus broke free again to seal a famous win for Braga and drag them back in contention in a group they looked dead and buried in a few weeks ago.

Arsenal must now win their final group game against Partisan to ensure progress and will have to do so without captain Fabregas, who now faces up to three weeks on the sidelines, missing vital Premier League games as well.

This is a double blow for Wenger as he knows his side need to bounce back in the league as well following their shock 3-2 North London derby defeat to Spurs on Saturday.

Those who plan to follow the live football scores this weekend should note that they head to Villa Park on Saturday without their inspirational skipper and know their Premier League and Champions League odds have taken a serious hit as a result.

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