Arsene Wenger has all but confirmed Cesc Fabregas’ place in the squad for Arsenal’s Champions League clash against Barcelona on Tuesday.
The former Catalan youth player limped off with a hamstring injury in his side’s 1-0 victory over Stoke in the English Premier League in February and has missed three matches with the complaint, but the French boss said Fabregas is almost certain to be part of the Arsenal squad for the second-leg, round-of-16 match at the Nou Camp.
“Fabregas will have a final test today (Monday) and I am 90 percent he will travel and be fit,” Wenger said of his captain.
“It is vital for us because he is important in the transition between defending to attacking because he gets us out of pressure and can give a final ball as well.”
“He is one of the leaders of the team – the leader of the team – so it is important to have him in a big game like that.”
Wenger conceded Pep Guardiola’s side would attempt to manipulate possession to try and overcome Arsenal’s 2-1 first-leg lead, but he believes his side is equipped for the job as they bid to reach the competition’s quarter-finals.
“Yes we have to (defend) because it is one of the few games where we spend 60 percent of time defending,” he said.
“It is very important but we have to fight against the preconceived ideas as well because the only one way of thinking is that Arsenal cannot defend.”
“But I would just remind you that in the last 11 games we have seven clean sheets in the Premier League and conceded less goals than Man United, for example, which is a very good defence.”