Fabregas issues warning to rivals

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The Independent Football

Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas has warned the rest of the Barclays Premier League his young side "will not be bullied by anybody" this season.

The Gunners skipper is recovering from a hamstring problem during the international break, an injury which forced him out of both the Champions League qualifier second leg against Celtic and the last domestic game at Manchester United where Arsene Wenger's team lost 2-1 despite dominating most of the match.

Despite not being directly involved himself, Fabregas feels the manner of the defeat - by way of a second-half penalty and an own-goal from Abou Diaby after having led 1-0 - will only serve to make Arsenal stronger for the challenges ahead.

"It hurts to lose in that way, but we were denied many opportunities and it was a very physical game - maybe too physical - but we showed that we will not be bullied by anybody," said Fabregas, speaking to the Goal.com UK website.

"Clubs try not to let us play our style of football and some use questionable tactics, but we will not be intimidated by anyone."

Fabregas, 22, spent another summer reading headlines of just where he would be playing his football this season away from Emirates Stadium.

However, the former Barcelona trainee continues to feel "comfortable" at the north London club.

"I know all about the speculation about Barcelona, but you have to understand I am a professional and I am an Arsenal player," he stressed.

"We have made a good start and we can go on to do good things this season.

"You can never know what will happen in football, and it is always an honour to be linked with a prestigious club like Barcelona, who I know all about - but let's see how Arsenal does this season.

"I am sure we will win something soon."

Fabregas continued: "I am comfortable here and Arsene Wenger has helped me a lot and for that I will always respect him.

"I would like to win a major trophy again, but we will see."

Wenger did not complete any more business before the September 1 transfer deadline, as a deal to bring former captain Patrick Vieira back to the club failed to materialise.

With no agreement reached to take centre-half Philippe Senderos - who spent last season on loan at AC Milan - to Everton, the Swiss international will now find himself as cover for William Gallas and Thomas Vermaelen following the news compatriot Johan Djourou faces up to six months on the sidelines after knee surgery.

Off the field, meanwhile, speculation grows Alisher Usmanov is close to upping his stake in Arsenal's parent holding company with the purchase of Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith's 15.9% share.

Should the Uzbek oil magnate, whose Red & White Holdings own just over a quarter of the total shares, complete any such deal with the former director, who left the board in December 2008, it would pass the 30% threshold which, under the City's financial regulations, then automatically triggers a formal takeover bid.

Currently, American entrepreneur Stan Kroenke is Arsenal's biggest single shareholder, with 28.58%.

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