Fri, Apr 02, 2010 - Page 20 News List

Arsenal gamble backfires with injury

AP , LONDON

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s gamble on the fitness of captain Cesc Fabregas may have backfired after the Spain midfielder sustained a suspected broken leg that could end his season and rule him out of the World Cup.

Wenger started Fabregas in Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final against Barcelona after he passed a late fitness test on a knee injury.

The gamble looked to have paid off when Fabregas scored a late equalizer in a 2-2 draw, but the Gunners captain left Emirates Stadium on crutches after again getting hurt.

He was scheduled to have another scan yesterday on the injury he says could keep him out of the rest of the season and the World Cup.

Fabregas said he thinks he damaged his fibula when he was fouled for his equalizing penalty and then hitting the kick with so much force.

Fabregas was preparing to shoot when his legs got tangled with those of defender Carles Puyol, who was challenging him from behind.

The referee ruled that it was a foul and sent off Puyol. Fabregas got to his feet and hit the kick down the middle of the goal as Victor Valdes dived to his left.

Wenger wanted to take Fabregas off the field for the final moments, but had already used all three substitutes in his team’s comeback from 2-0 down.

Fabregas will miss next week’s second-leg match at Camp Nou even if the injury proves to be minor. He picked up a yellow card for fouling Sergio Busquets and is suspended.

A prolonged absence would severely threaten Arsenal’s surprise challenge for the Premier League title and could even have an ­impact on Spain’s attempt to add the World Cup title to its European Championship.

Arsenal is third in the Premier League, just four points behind leader and defending champion Manchester United, while Spain kicks off its World Cup against Switzerland on June 16 in Durban.

Wenger’s problems don’t end there, with injuries to William Gallas and Andrey Arshavin.

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