Fabregas injury 'not my fault'

Wenger defends decision to play key midfielder who broke leg after claiming he was fit

Arsenal's press conference yesterday resembled a scene from Casualty as Dr Wenger issued yet another medical bulletin, then defended his decision to expose Cesc Fabregas and William Gallas to Champions League action in midweek.

Both exacerbated existing injuries and have been ruled out for the season. Pressed as to why he let the pair play, Arsène Wenger said: "At the end of the day my job is not to push the players to play when they are injured. But it is [also] not to stop them playing when they feel they can play, and they want to play."

Fabregas finished Wednesday's Barcelona match with a broken leg, an injury that appears to have originated in Craig Gardner's tackle in the match with Birmingham City last weekend.

Wenger said his gut feeling was that his leg would not have become broken had it not been for that incident, but added "there was no reason to stop him playing [on Wednesday]. We have two independent doctors who do not work at the club, they looked at the X-ray and if they had felt that it needed a deeper investigation then they would have told us. We have to accept that this can happen in football."

Had Fabregas under-stated the pain he was in? "There is always that possibility. You play with pain sometimes and nine times out of 10 you get away with it. One time you make your injury worse."

Of Gallas, who broke down with a recurrence of his long-standing calf problem, Wenger said: "Gallas was born in 1977, he's 32, going to 33. You ask a player of that experience, 'do you feel ready to play? Have you worked hard enough? Are you ready to go into the game?' And when he says 'Yes,' you have to believe him.

"He declared himself fit. I have the reports from the rehabilitation centre where he was for ten days, he had four days training with the team, and maybe he should have taken some more time. But he was jumping, he was running up and down the stairs in France, in very hard sessions."

Wenger gave short shrift to his compatriot Raymond Domenech, coach of France, who has criticised the decision to play Gallas and suggested the defender will now miss the World Cup.

"The French national team is important but first we have to take care of the interests of Arsenal," said Wenger. "The player is paid by the club, so we have to use the players when they declare themselves fit. I do not think this will cost him his World Cup. "

Also absent from today's Premier League match with Wolves is Andrei Arshavin (calf) but Denilson (groin) and Gaël Clichy (back) have recovered from injuries incurred on Wednesday. Sol Campbell, said Wenger, will also play. The Arsenal manager said he had not replaced the stricken Gallas with Campbell on Wednesday as the 35-year-old former England international was still suffering from a groin problem picked up at St Andrew's.

The decision to play Campbell today suggests he will be omitted from Tuesday's return leg against Barcelona but Wenger insisted: "If we need him, he will play. But first he has to play a full game without injury."

With so much focus on Barcelona there is a danger that today's match will be given insufficient attention, but victory, should the Old Trafford summit meeting be drawn, would put Arsenal within two points of the Premier League lead with five matches to play. Wenger said his team should concentrate on winning their match, adding: "I believe this game demands 100 per cent focus – nobody beats Wolves at the moment just turning up and thinking it will be easy. They are on a good run. It will show how much focus we can bring to a game like this."

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week