By Chris Harris
Cesc Fabregas' injury was the result of a kick on his leg and is therefore no reflection on Arsenal's medical team.
That was Arsène Wenger's considered opinion as the fall-out from the midweek draw with Barcelona continued at his pre-match press conference on Friday.
Fabregas has been ruled out of the rest of the domestic season after suffering a crack in his fibula when he was brought down by Carles Puyol. The Arsenal captain picked himself up to equalise from the spot but he spent the rest of that pulsating 2-2 draw as a passenger.
Arsenal’s worst fears were confirmed on Thursday and questions have been raised ever since about how avoidable Fabregas' injury was and whether he should have played against his former club. Wenger put the record straight when he faced reporters at the training ground.
"You always question that - the training, the pitches - but I believe as well for example we are kicked a lot and the consequence of Cesc's first problem was a kick at Birmingham," he said.
"It was a bad tackle and then the muscular problems are not down to the physical game, it's down to something that's not right or [because] we play tired players. We have not found the solution, if we had found the solution we would have rectified it.
"I'm tempted to say 'no' [Fabregas would not have fractured his leg if he had not been kicked at Birmingham] because the inflammation was certainly there on the bone but there was no medical reason to stop him from playing. It was bruised and inflamed and maybe it gave away, yes."
Arsenal have had more than their fair share of injuries this season and some diagnoses - including Fabregas' - require X-rays or MRI scans. However, Wenger knows that not every knock can be checked so thoroughly and he trusts his players if they declare themselves fit to play.
"You cannot make [an MRI scan] every time... on the MRI scan you do not see more. You have a special bone scan that you can make but you cannot do that every time a guy gets a kick because it is endless.
"We got two independent bodies and doctors who looked at the X-ray. They do not work at the Club and we have the report from them. If they had felt it needed a deeper investigation they would have told us. That was not at all their statement and you have to accept as well that it can happen in football.
"No [I shouldn't have been firmer with Cesc] because at the end of the day my job is not to push the players when they are injured to play but it is not to stop them playing when they feel they can play. You have, as well, a responsibility in this job.
"If you stop every time a player who says 'no I am fit to play' and he has that influence in the team the players will think he has become completely mad. It's unbelievable [that Cesc played on after the injury] but he's a tough boy."Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source