Cesc Fabregas avoids punishment over referee rant

Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas was today in the clear after the Football Association revealed referee Lee Mason made no special mention of the episode which left David Moyes raging at the Emirates Stadium.

Everton boss Moyes suggested Fabregas should have been red-carded for comments the Toffees boss claimed he made to match officials in the tunnel at half-time last night.

Home manager Arsene Wenger denied Fabregas had even spoken to the officials, stressing it was he and not the Spanish midfielder who had his say at the interval.

And the FA have confirmed they received no extraordinary incident report from referee Lee Mason of any confrontation involving Fabregas.

Fabregas has no doubt Arsenal's battling 2-1 victory over Everton proves they have the character needed to push Manchester United all the way in the race for the Barclays Premier League title.

The Gunners rallied after going behind to what looked an offside effort from Louis Saha to net twice in the space of five minutes during the second half.

Victory kept them five points behind Manchester United, who extended their unbeaten run this season to 24 league matches after a 3-1 win over Aston Villa at Old Trafford.

Wenger praised his team's new-found resilience as they chalked up a six successive win, achieved without 14-goal midfielder Samir Nasri who will be sidelined for three weeks with a hamstring injury and so miss the first leg of the Champions League clash against Barcelona.

And Fabregas is confident Arsenal have what it takes to last the distance.

"We were not up for it at the start against Everton and we were very sloppy. We know that we could have paid for it, but fortunately the team stepped up," Fabregas told Arsenal TV Online.

"We realised that if we kept playing like that, we would be going nowhere.

"It is a very inspiring comeback and maybe we needed something like that to lift us and see that even with injuries and suspensions, we can still have a really strong squad.

"Now we have three days to recover for what will be a big game on Saturday [at Newcastle]."

Front-runners United still have to play Chelsea twice, matches which could have a major say in the title race, but Fabregas maintains Arsenal are only focused on what they can achieve.

"We are just concentrating on ourselves, even if the other teams draw, lost or won, it does not matter," he said.

"The good thing is we are up there fighting for the championship because we really want to go for it."

Arsenal levelled through Andrey Arshavin's volley before Laurent Koscielny headed home what proved to be the winner from a corner.

The French centre-half, whose attempted clearance had led to Saha's controversial goal, believes only the Gunners can overhaul United.

"It looks like we are the last contenders - United are five points ahead of us and they are more points ahead of Chelsea, Manchester City and the others," said the summer signing from Lorient.

"Those teams can come back strong as well, but we look like we could challenge United.

"We have to keep focused on our games and not look too much at theirs.

"We have to keep winning and hopefully they will drop points at some point."

Koscielny, 25, explained: "We have to keep working together - that is the key because if we don't concede goals, we will always have an opportunity to score ourselves.

"Between now and the end of the season, it is going to be a big fight."

Arsenal will be hoping both midfielder Alex Song (leg) and Theo Walcott (ankle) recover from knocks picked up last night to be able to feature at St James' Park.

However, it appears goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski could be sidelined for the rest of the season, with reports in his native Poland suggesting the 26-year-old will need surgery on a shoulder problem.

Everton, meanwhile, will now regroup for the visit of Blackpool after what for them was only a second defeat since the end of November.

Midfielder Mikel Arteta feels Saha, 32, can continue on the goals trail to help Moyes' men climb up into the top half of the table.

"Louis is a world-class player. When he is in form like he is right now he is as good as anyone out there, and he showed that in the first half," Arteta said in the Liverpool Echo.

"We've got what we've got in terms of players, and we need to get through with that.

"Hopefully he can carry on scoring for us and putting us ahead in games.

"It was our mistakes that cost us. Not Arsenal being unbelievable. It was up to us and we cost ourselves the game."

Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution