Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas has been ruled out of Sunday’s Carling Cup final against Birmingham City with a hamstring strain.
Fabregas limped off the pitch during Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat of Stoke City on Wednesday; a victory that came at a high cost for the Gunners given Theo Walcott was also struck down with injury.
The Spaniard was staying positive ahead of the trip to Wembley, telling supporters on microblog Twitter that he had ‘waited too long to captain a final for Arsenal’ and would do everything in his power to be fit by Sunday.
But Gunners boss Arsene Wenger confirmed on Friday that Fabregas would take no part in the final.
“It is a very small injury but certainly Cesc will be out for Sunday,” Wenger told the club’s official website.
“For how long (beyond that) I don’t know but definitely for Sunday. It is very difficult to give a deadline. It is impossible.”
“He is disappointed. We all feel sorry and sad for him. The only way we help him now is to win the Carling Cup as he contributed a lot in this competition.”
Walcott, who was stretchered from the Emirates with an ankle sprain, will also miss the Carling Cup final, but Wenger is confident the England international will be out for no more than two weeks.
“I saw him this morning. He has a classic ankle sprain,” Wenger said.
“We don’t think there is any more damage to it. But it is still a sprain.”
“We are sad for him too. He is out for Sunday and maybe one or two more weeks more.”
The injuries have come at an ill-fated time for Arsenal, who are just one point shy of Manchester United on the Premier League table and travel to Barcelona in the Champions League next month.