Fabregas could return for Chelsea clash

Arsene Wenger is cautiously optimistic Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas could be fit to play against Barclays Premier League leaders Chelsea next weekend.

The Spain midfielder suffered a hamstring injury as he netted a freak goal at Sunderland last Saturday, the ball kicked into him by Anton Ferdinand and it looped back into the goal.

Fabregas had just been finding his form having returned late after reaching the World Cup final, but after receiving specialist treatment in Paris, the 23-year-old could now be back in action for the trip to Stamford Bridge on October 3.

Wenger said this morning: "I hope that he will be ready for the Chelsea match and that he will be fine.

"But at the moment we don't know, it's too early."

With England defender Kieran Gibbs having joined Theo Walcott, Robin van Persie and Nicklas Bendtner on the sidelines after picking up a foot injury in the midweek Carling Cup win at Tottenham, the news of Fabregas' potential quick return is a timely boost.

Defender Thomas Vermaelen (Achilles) will miss Saturday's Premier League clash against West Brom at Emirates Stadium, while Tomas Rosicky (ankle) and Emmanuel Eboue (knee) face fitness tests, but midfielder Abou Diaby (leg) could return.

Fabregas will also miss the Champions League game at Partizan Belgrade next Tuesday night, but the Spaniard is keeping his fingers crossed he will be available to face the Blues.

"The injury is not as bad as we first thought," Fabregas told Spanish radio station COPE.

"There is no muscle rupture and I will be back perfect in about 10 to 11 days.

"I am working with an osteopath in Paris and just working day to day.

"I think I will make the Chelsea game."

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