By Nick Teale
Cesc Fabregas hates being on the sidelines.
A hamstring injury meant the Arsenal captain had been ruled out for two weeks before starting against West Ham United on Saturday.
But the Spaniard found life on the treatment table frustrating and was delighted to be back on the pitch at the weekend, though he revealed he was suffering an uncomfortable infection.
"I hated being out for two weeks," he said. "I wanted to come back but I was a little concerned in the first half to see how the hamstring was.
"I also had a little bit of an infection on my face as well. I could not really train too much. So I took it a little bit easy.
"It was my throat. That is why I have grown my beard - if I shaved you could see the lump. At the beginning it was tough but at the end I was strong."
The midfielder had missed the games against Porto and Hull City. Ahead of those matches there had been some suggestions that Arsenal would miss their captain's influence.
But the Spaniard himself was not shocked to see the side win both fixtures in his absence.
"It didn't surprise me," he said. "People who say we are a different team without me are completely wrong. I have missed five Premier League games and except Everton, where we drew, we have won all the games.
"It is a strong squad and anyone can play at any moment."Copyright 2013 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 22 Mar 2010