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Fabregas And Eboue Injuries Add To Arsenal’s Worries

By NBF News
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Skipper Fabregas picked up a hamstring problem
Arsenal's Champions League misery increased when they suffered injuries to Cesc Fabregas and Emmanuel Eboue.

The Gunners lost 2-0 in Braga and must now win their last qualifying game to be sure of going through.

Skipper Fabregas picked up a hamstring problem, while Eboue suffered damage to his knee ligaments.

“It could be two to three weeks,” said manager Arsene Wenger about Fabregas's latest setback. “I took the gamble and it backfired.”

Wenger selected Fabregas despite the Spaniard's on-going fitness troubles, adding: “It is a hamstring injury – on the other leg – so it's difficult to predict how long Cesc will be out for.    We have another proof that it is absolutely useless, this system.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger on Uefa's five-referee system

“We will have to assess Fabregas on Wednesday. It is very disappointing because I had a hesitation to play him before the match started.”

When asked whether he will miss Arsenal's Premier League match with Aston Villa on Saturday, Wenger replied: “Yes, definitely.”

He added: “Eboue will be out for a few weeks because he took a very bad tackle, unpunished. It is a medial knee ligament injury.”

Wenger, who saw Carlos Vela denied a penalty at 0-0, was unhappy with the officials over Eboue's injury, adding: “What was the fifth official doing? We are going through a period of having bad luck.”

Arsenal needed a point to secure qualification for the knockout stage but they conceded goals to Matheus in the 83rd minute and another from the Brazilian striker deep into stoppage time in the Estadio Municipal.

The result means the Gunners, who also suffered a late collapse on Saturday when they lost 3-2 to Tottenham in the Premier League, must match Braga's result against Shakhtar when they face Partizan Belgrade at the Emirates Stadium in two weeks' time to ensure progression.

“We were not sharp enough to create clear-cut chances,” admitted Wenger, who made seven changes from the game against Spurs. “But Saturday's result had no knock-on effect.    606: DEBATE

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“Tonight we played against a team who refused to play and tried to catch us on the counter attack. They used every single trick in the book to slow the game down.

“I think we had enough on the pitch to make a goal but football is like that when the other team focuses not to play. Everybody is free to play the way they like and they won.

“We could play 10 matches like that and win eight or nine times but tonight was the one we didn't.”

Wenger was also dismayed by the inability of the five officials to see that Vela had been fouled with 13 minutes left, with Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai instead booking the Mexican for simulation.

“It is difficult to understand how we did not get a penalty,” said Wenger. “The five referees is not an answer to the problem. We have another proof that it is absolutely useless, this system.

“The turning point was the penalty – I still cannot understand how Vela got a yellow card. It remains a complete mystery.

“The referee gave some surprising decisions tonight. It is hard to swallow, but now we have to win our last game. The most important thing for us now is to qualify.

“It is good that Shakhtar play against Braga, but they [Shakhtar] are the super favourites to win the group.”