Get the CaughtOffside iPad app. Download the #1 Free Sports App from the App Store.
All of the latest footie news and much, much more.
When the third round of Champions League qualification starts later today for Arsenal, there’s a good chance that if you take a look at manager Arsene Wenger on the sidelines, you might see him perspiring a bit more than usual. With Cesc Fabregas ruled out of the first leg of today’s match, Arsenal’s probable midfield will now include 17-year-old Aaron Ramsey and Denilson in central midfield, with Theo Walcott and Emmanuel Eboue on the wings. Talk about a green team!
Fabregas is certain to miss the opening leg of the Champions League qualifier against FC Twente – along with eight other key names – and will also play no part in the Premier League opener against West Brom on Saturday.
Arsene Wenger will hope to have the influential midfielder available for the second leg against Twente on August 27. But the Arsenal manager admits his club’s current injury crisis means the vital process of Champions League qualification is now in the hands of rookie teenagers.
Aaron Ramsey, the 17-year-old signed from Cardiff City this summer, will now make his competitive debut against Steve McClaren’s side in an inexperienced midfield which has lost Mathieu Flamini, Alexander Hleb and Gilberto Silva this summer. (Telegraph)
With Fabregas missing for the first leg, you have to wonder if Second-Choice Steve (thanks to the Guardian for the name) and his Twente tots can stage an improbable victory today. Without their talismanic midfielder feeding the ball to Adebayor and van Persie up front, should Arsenal supporters be nervous about embarking on a new season without Fabregas in the line-up?