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).

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
News
i100
Life and Style
tech

Apple agrees deal with Visa on contactless payments

Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
News
i100
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

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
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