Arsenal can cope without Fabregas insists Wenger

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The Independent Football

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger maintains his young Gunners can cope without injured captain Cesc Fabregas against Celtic tomorrow night and secure a place in the lucrative group stage of the Champions League.

The Spain international is recovering from a hamstring problem, on which scans have revealed only minor damage and puts him back in contention to return for Saturday's Barclays Premier League showdown at Manchester United.

Czech winger Tomas Rosicky is training again following his injury lay-off, and also may be included this weekend.

However, before the Gunners will look to extend their 100% domestic start, there is the small matter of the return leg of their European tie, when Arsenal defend a 2-0 lead.

Wenger has utilised a fluid 4-3-3 formation this season to great effect, with Fabregas flanked by defensive cover.

Wales youngster Aaron Ramsey replaced Fabregas at half-time against Portsmouth on Saturday, when he netted his first league goal, while Abou Diaby also laid down his own marker with a brace in the 4-1 win.

"Cesc's scan was quite reassuring," revealed Wenger.

"He has no muscular strain, but it will take a few days to settle down. There is a chance he will be fit for Old Trafford."

The Arsenal manager continued: "I rest players who I feel need a rest without considering the game after.

"My target is to win tomorrow's game, it's a massive game for us and after that we will see what we do for the weekend.

"It is not job done, it is job to do, to finish. That is how I approach it.

"Celtic have no choice - they will have to come out and have a go at us.

"We will be faithful to our tactical approach and will try to put them under pressure, play very high up and try to win the game."

Wenger insists there will be no sense of complacency tomorrow night, even though the odds are stacked against the Scottish side.

"We know there is so much at stake for us. I do not think we are in danger of easing off at all," he said.

"We know how quickly football can change and that makes it interesting as well."

The Gunners boss insisted: "For the success of our season, to be strong at the Emirates is vital.

"Any time you show any weakness at home, it can have big consequences for the rest of the season."

Despite the loss of Arsenal's playmaker, Wenger sees no reason why he should necessarily tinker with tactics.

"I still have the personnel who can come in," the Gunners boss said.

"It is another chance for Ramsey. It is a big season for him.

"However, do not forget he is only 18.

"I believe his target for this year, I told him before the season, is between 15 and 20 games.

"The way he is developing, he could get that."

Wenger is closely monitoring the transfer market ahead of the September 1 deadline, although the Arsenal manager maintains no signings are imminent and denied a deal had already been done for St Etienne midfielder Blaise Matuidi.

"We have still one week left," said Wenger.

"The only thing I can tell you is that at the moment we are not close to signing anybody."

However, the future of centre-back Philippe Senderos, who was in talks with Everton, remains unclear.

"If he has not moved before August 31, then he will be considered as any other player in the squad," said Wenger.