BRAGA v/s ARSENAL
ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger admits Cesc Fabregas’ hamstring troubles could be having a detrimental psychological impact on his performances.
Fabregas has been suffering with the muscular injury in his right leg since his return to the club following his exploits in South Africa with Spain during the World Cup.
The Arsenal skipper has admitted the issue had been playing on his mind but Wenger (right), whose side will be looking to book their place in the next round of the Champions League with a win over Braga tonight, believes the injury will soon no longer be of concern.
“It is getting better,” said Wenger. “He was out for a while and had a recurrence of his hamstring problem, then it gets in your head.
“When it gets in your head, it is difficult to play free of your mind.
“I feel it is getting better in every match, from game to game he becomes stronger.
“On Saturday against Tottenham, he has created three great goal chances, so we are getting back to the normal Cesc.
“Sometimes after the game he has a little recurrence, but at the moment I do not want to take a massive gamble.
“We cannot afford to lose him, so I check every morning of the game how he is and we monitor him quite well.”
Wenger revealed he will also attempt to nurse Dutch striker Robin van Persie back to full fitness rather than throw him in at the deep end against the Portuguese champions.
Van Persie injured his ankle against Blackburn back in August and has only recently returned to first team action, but Wenger feels it is still too soon for him to start a game of this importance.
He said: “Van Persie has not travelled so he can improve his fitness because he is not 100 per cent fit – I mean his physical condition to fight in a big game.
“If I take him to Braga and he is not 100 per cent and is on the bench and doesn’t come on then it is a waste. I leave him behind and he will take the opportunity to work.”