Fabregas's future distracts from young Gunners' display of class

Arsenal 3 Celtic 2

Arsenal made hard work of defending the Emirates Cup yesterday, hanging on to beat Celtic 3-2 after leading 3-0. Now, though, comes an even more difficult task – winning the club's first piece of serious silverware for five seasons.

As if finishing ahead of Chelsea, Manchester United and the rest in the Premier League is not enough of a challenge, Arsène Wenger, the manager, also faces the unwanted complication of the Cesc Fabregas situation.

The Arsenal captain returns on Thursday from a four-week post-World Cup break, bringing with him the baggage that Wenger agreed on Saturday was an unwelcome distraction to everyone at the club. Although Barcelona have given up their pursuit of Fabregas through the official channels, the Catalan press and the Blaugrana players continue to act as though the arrival of Fabregas at the Nou Camp is simply a matter of "when" rather than "if."

One school of thought is that Fabregas should be allowed to leave, thereby removing all further distractions, and giving Wenger money to spend. Wenger, however, would probably then opt to give Alexandre Song, Denilson and Abou Diaby – all missing yesterday – further chances to show what they can do. Those three will now be looking over their shoulders at Jack Wilshere and Emmanuel Frimpong, both 18, who have excelled in pre-season and did well again for 70 minutes yesterday.

Wenger admitted that the precocity of the two teenagers had altered his thinking about the make-up of his midfield this season. "We were considering maybe going on the market for a midfield player, which we will not do now," he said. "Frimpong is a bit less a dribbler, but he's a fighter and a winner. He can choose between England and Ghana, so I would have no hesitation and invite him to play for England."

Wilshere has already been mentioned by the national manager, Fabio Capello, as a future England player but Wenger urged caution. "Let's not make them stars before they are stars," he said. "But in 2012 he will be 20. Theo Walcott went to the World Cup at 17 and it didn't kill him."

Arsenal began briskly. Carlos Vela slid home Walcott's cross after four minutes and Lukasz Zaluska then dived over Bacary Sagna's left-foot shot after 44 minutes. Walcott provided his second assist six minutes after the interval, Samir Nasri converting his short pass from 15 yards.

Celtic's embarrassment appeared complete when Georgios Samaras hit a penalty kick high and wide, but it seemed to inspire them, and Daryl Murphy struck from close range. Ki Sung-yeung scored a second eight minutes from time. "For 70 minutes we played well then collapsed a bit, and you could see that everybody has not got 90 minutes in their legs, but I have seen what I wanted to see," Wenger said.

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Almunia; Sagna (E Eboué 62), Djourou, Vermaelen (L Koscielny 73), Clichy (Gibbs 62); Frimpong, Wilshere; Walcott, Rosicky (Nasri, 46), Vela (Arshavin 62); Emmanuel-Thomas (Chamakh, 46). Substitutes not used Mannone (gk), Randall, Nordtveit, Hoyte, Yennaris.

Celtic (4-3-3): Zaluska (Cervi, 46); Hinkel (Samaras, 61), Rogne, Hooiveld, Mulgrew (Twardzik, 66); Maloney, Juarez, Crosas (Du-Ri, 61); Ki, Murphy Hooper, 86) Rasmussen (Fortune 61). Substitutes not used Hooper.

Referee A Marriner (England).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn