Fabregas injury not long term says Wenger

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The Independent Online

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has been given a lift with news of Cesc Fabregas' hamstring injury and Denilson being given the all-clear to deputise for his captain against Hull tomorrow.

Fabregas limped off before the break during the draw with Burnley in a match that left Wenger fuming at the fixture compilers and the Premier League defending their schedule - but the initial signs are good for the Spaniard.

The 22-year-old has been ruled out of the Barclays Premier League clash against Hull at the Emirates Stadium but the injury may not be as bad as first feared.

"Cesc had a scan (on Thursday)," said Wenger. "We have not had the result yet. The only thing that is sure is that he will not play on Saturday.

"Beyond that, it all depends on the scan. Is it a tightness that just presents a small risk on Saturday or is it a slight strain - grade one or two? We'll know that later.

"If it is a tear it is a small one and the maximum would be 10 days. So it is not long term."

Brazil midfielder Denilson could deputise for Fabregas against Hull after recovering from a back problem.

"Denilson is back and available for Saturday," Wenger told Arsenal TV Online.

"But (Nicklas) Bendtner, (Tomas) Rosicky, (Gael) Clichy and (Armand) Traore will all be too short. The first back should be Traore, maybe for Aston Villa (on December 27)."

Wenger was furious after being asked to play Liverpool on Sunday and Burnley on Wednesday before hosting Hull on Saturday, while Phil Brown's side have enjoyed a free week.

Frenchman Wenger suggested "the guy who organised the fixtures this season must have come out of a special school, because he is more intelligent than I am" but is unlikely to face action from authorities over his clumsy statement.

The Premier League, however, strongly stand by the way the fixtures have been arranged, given that the campaign finishes earlier than last season due to the World Cup.

"The Premier League fixture calendar is a complicated process," a Premier League spokesperson said.

"It is as fair as possible to the clubs who all take an active part in the process ahead of the fixtures being announced.

"This Barclays Premier League season has been a particularly difficult one to schedule given an increased amount of Champions League and Europa League dates from UEFA, and a truncated season because of the FIFA World Cup. That will not be the case next season."

Other factors influencing the way fixtures have been compiled include the Champions League last-16 matches being played over four weeks rather than two, while the final of the competition being on a Saturday impacts on the FA Cup final.

There is also an argument that issues could have been brought up during the Fixtures Working Party at the start of the season when representatives from clubs, the Football Association, police and fans' groups met.

Wenger reacted after his side dropped points in a 1-1 draw at Turf Moor and saw captain Fabregas limp off.

Gunners midfielder Abou Diaby said: "We have to get closer to Chelsea and catch them and that is why we're so disappointed that we couldn't take another step and we lost some points. It is very frustrating."

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