Arsene Wenger admits Arsenal is cautiously taking things “day by day” as it looks to get captain Cesc Fabregas fit for next week’s Champions League trip to Barcelona.
The Spain World Cup winner limped out of the Premier League game against Stoke last week with a hamstring problem, and missed the shock League Cup final defeat to Birmingham as a result.
Fabregas will not be rushed into a return for Saturday’s (Sunday AEDT) Premier League visit of Sunderland, but Wenger remains optimistic the Gunners’ skipper can recover in time to face his boyhood club at the Nou Camp, where Arsenal will hold a slender 2-1 lead.
Wenger told Arsenal TV Online, “As for Cesc, we go day-by-day. We assessed him today and he is positive about his injury.
“We feel he has a chance. I do not want to disappoint people so I say he has ‘a chance’, I strongly believe that.”
Arsenal is0 already without striker Robin van Persie and England winger Theo Walcott, while midfielder Alex Song is struggling to shake off his knee problem.
“Alex Song is out on Saturday (Sunday AEDT) and he is doubtful for Barcelona,” Wenger confirmed.
“At the moment he has not practiced at all. He has this knee problem that gets better everyday, but we’ll assess it on Monday.”
Tomas Rosicky is expected to be okay after having to go off in in the last start 5-0 FA Cup fifth-round replay win over Leyton Orient following a blow to his head.
Midfielder Aaron Ramsey could, meanwhile, make his first appearance since suffering a broken leg just over a year ago as he returns from a loan spell at former club Cardiff.
Wenger said of the 21-year-old: “There is a chance Aaron could be available in the squad for Saturday. It will be very good to have him back.
“He is getting better and better now. We know he has a great engine, has great passing ability and can score goals as well.”
Centre-back Laurent Koscielny, whose defensive blunder gifted Birmingham a late winner at Wembley, is doubtful again with a hamstring problem, but Wenger feels he should be available for Barcelona.
by Buford Balony