By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger would not risk playing Cesc Fabregas on Sunday - even if it was the last game of the season.
The captain tweaked his hamstring during Wednesday's 1-0 victory over Stoke City and has since been ruled out of the Carling Cup Final against Birmingham.
It's heartbreaking for Fabregas, who has waited a long time to lead his team out at Wembley and will now look on as Robin van Persie dons the armband.
But Wenger insists that his influential midfielder would not be available even if Arsenal had no more games to play after Sunday's showpiece.
"Would I play him if it was the last game of the season? I don't think so, I don't think so," said the manager.
"The problem is you're asking me whether he could play with the injury he has. Certainly not at 100 per cent. And he could make the damage much worse and be out for three, four, five weeks maybe.
"He's disappointed, but his disappointment is diminished by the fact that we have other main targets after this game. Like the championship, the Champions League, the FA Cup.
"If he was playing, he could damage his participation in all the other targets after that. Of course, he accepts it with disappointment, but our job isn't just about good things. It's also about disappointments."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 25 Feb 2011