Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hopeful Cesc Fabregas can return for Chelsea clash

Skipper could make crucial Premier League date...
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is hopeful skipper Cesc Fabregas can return for the crucial Premier League meeting against Chelsea.

Fabregas, 23, damaged his hamstring deflecting Anton Ferdinand's clearance into the net in last weekend's 1-1 draw with Sunderland. The World Cup 2010 winner confirmed on his Twitter page earlier this week that he would be sidelined for a fortnight and this diagnosis put him on course for the October 3 clash.

Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Wenger had his fingers crossed he could count on his captain at Stamford Bridge.

"I hope that he will be ready for the Chelsea match and that he will be fine," he was quoted as saying by

"But at the moment we don't know, it's too early."

Wenger also defended his attacks on the perceived tough tackling he has accused other Premier League teams of committing. His words had seen him blamed for trying to manipulate the media by Blackburn Rovers boss Sam Allardyce and Stoke City's Tony Pulis.

"They shouldn't [take it personally] because I do not criticise them," Wenger stated.

"Most of the time it was down to the fact I criticised violent football, and I am ready to do that at any price, to come out on that because I don't accept it.

"Everybody should be on the same wavelength on that, without criticising any manager.

"When I say 'this is a bad foul', I just say 'this is a bad foul' - I do not consider who it is, where it is or the manager. I just think it is a bad foul."

He added: "I don't do it [manipulate media] - I just think if it is right or wrong and I came very quickly to the conclusion that it is wrong," said the Arsenal manager.

"I don't think the criticism was right on that."

In other news, Thomas Vermaelen has been ruled out of the weekend meeting with West Bromwich Albion, but Tomas Rosicky, Emmanuel Eboue and Abou Diaby could feature if they pass fitness tests.

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