Fabregas backs Almunia to keep Arsenal secure

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The Independent Football

The Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas maintains goalkeeper Manuel Almunia has the complete trust of the team as they start their European campaign this week against Braga.

Almunia's position as first choice goalkeeper was the subject of much speculation over the summer, as Arsenal had bids for Fulham's Australia international Mark Schwarzer turned down.

"Manuel commanded the defence very well at Blackburn," Fabregas said of Arsenal's 2-1 win before the international break, "but it is not just about one game or two or three. He is a well-loved player among everybody here and performs well for this club. We all wish him a super season and have a lot of trust."

Wenger saw Abou Diaby (leg) added to the injury list on Saturday following what looked a bad tackle from Bolton defender Paul Robinson – that went unpunished – and resulted in the midfielder, who had only just come on, having to be substituted. The French winger Samir Nasri – fit again following knee surgery – will return to contention after being an unused substitute at the weekend.

Wenger chose to rest both full-backs Gaël Clichy and Bacary Sagna for the league game and Kieran Gibbs, who came in for Clichy, believes the competition for places can only be positive. "It is difficult to play the same team through the season because players are going to get tired – that is when we start to get injuries," Gibbs said. "It is good for people to get a chance. Not only is the competition good for Gaël to play well, it is also going to be good for the club because we are both fighting to help the team win something."