A small crack in the right fibula will keep Arsenal’s captain out for 6 weeks effectively ending his season.
He should however be ready in time for Spain’s World Cup campaign.
An accumulation of trauma to the same leg initiated with Craig Gardner’s tackle in the Birmingham match and then colliding with Carlos Puyol which led to the penalty.
It is very possible that Cesc took the penalty on an already cracked fibula- the adrenaline pumping at that huge moment must have masked the pain.
“When I took the penalty, I was quite strong, but after when I went to get the ball, I could not walk any more,” said Fabregas after the match.
This is a big blow not just because of what Cesc brings to the game, it is now more of who he is to the game. His skills are transparent but he has grown as a leader right before our eyes. Arsenal’s captains have provided diffident or temperamental leadership under Thierry Henry and William Gallas. With Cesc, there is an unflustered lead by example quality. An attractive brand sorely needed in the helter skelter end to this season.
We are also missing other key players in various parts of the field.
William Gallas’s calf problem will keep him out for three weeks – a shorter time than previously thought. Arshavin faces a similar amount of time away from the pitch.
“William had a recurrence of his calf strain. That is at least three weeks,” said Wenger. “I took a gamble that didn’t pay off. Yes I regret that now. Arshavin has also done his calf. Three weeks.”
With these injuries – Arsenal’s season is on the bubble. Does Wenger try and continue his quest for European glory or devote his attention to the slim chances of a Premiership title? A depleted roster of players makes both very difficult.
We have upcoming fixtures against teams jostling for fourth position with an away game at Spurs and home for City. Those are going to be physically and emotionally draining matches. And our final encounter is with Fulham who are having quite a season. We need to have a core of players who can continue functioning and functioning at peak before all the madness ends.
On the bright side, we have the potential for a fully functioning midfield even with these losses.
In Cesc’s place, Samir Nasri will have to step up. To be fair, Nasri has shown signs of already doing that when the Arsenal captain was injured earlier in the season. He showed his attacking flair in the Porto match and against Barca, his tandem with Bendtner led to the Walcott goal. As for Walcott, the goal which was observed by Fabio Capello, should give him a boost in self confidence. Wenger has been very sparing with Walcott and this is the time to give him more minutes. The same should be expected from Tomas Rosicky.
On the defensive end. Alexander Song was the only consistently disruptive force in that Barca siege- so he needs to continue his form both against Barca and the rest of the Premiership.
Sol Campbell’s lack of speed against the speed of Messi and Xavi would have been a liability but now Wenger will have no choice but to include him as Thomas Vermaelen’s partner on central defense.
More Arsenal players added to the ‘doubtful’ list of starters for the Wolves game.
Denilson who had a solid game against Barca has a groin strain and Gael Clichy seems to have re-aggravated his back problem. Having to chase Dani Alves can do that. They may not make the cut.
In a silver lining, Robin Van Persie might see some action before the season is over. His rehabilitation seems to be going very well. We could do with some sorely needed firepower. He was on a tear with 7 goals before being stricken down.