By Richard Clarke

Cesc Fabregas is out of the Carling Cup Final.

The Arsenal captain hobbled off in the early stages of the win over Stoke on Wednesday night with a hamstring problem and, immediately, fears were raised about his involvement in Sunday’s showpiece.

Speaking exclusively to TV Online on Thursday evening, Arsène Wenger confirmed the bad news. But, thankfully, his absence is not expected to be long.

“It is a very small injury but certainly Cesc will be out for Sunday,” said the Frenchman. “For how long [beyond that] I don’t know but for Sunday he will be short.

“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.”

While the manager was clear on the captain’s involvement this weekend, He would not be drawn on the chances of Fabregas being fit for Barcelona on March 8.

“It is very difficult to give a deadline,” said Wenger. “It is impossible.”

As we already knew, Theo Walcott will also miss the Carling Cup Final after being stretchered off in the same game. Again, the problem may be relatively short term.

“I saw him this morning,” said Wenger. “He has a classic ankle sprain. 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.”

TV Online subscribers can see the full interview later. In it Arsène Wenger talks about:

  • his team selection for Sunday
  • the 2007 Carling Cup Final
  • the six-year wait for a trophy
  • Birmingham’s front line
  • coping with being favourites
  • the Premier League games against Birmingham
  • the theory that one trophy will lead to more
Copyright 2014 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 24 Feb 2011