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Page last updated at 19:10 GMT, Thursday, 2 April 2009 20:10 UK

Fabregas returns to Arsenal squad

Cesc Fabregas
Fabregas has been out of action since December

Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas is set for his first-team return and has been included in the squad to face Manchester City on Saturday.

The Gunners midfielder has not featured since suffering a serious knee injury during the game with Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium on 21 December.

"Cesc is ready to play again, but he needs three games to be back to his best," said manager Arsene Wenger.

"We are due to play eight games in 25 days, which are all decisive."

Arsenal are battling with Aston Villa for fourth place in the Premier League to secure Champions League football for next season and are also involved in two cup competitions.

The Gunners play their quarter-final first-leg Champions League tie with Villarreal on Tuesday and face Chelsea in an FA Cup semi-final on Saturday 18 April.

The 21-year-old suffered the injury going for a 50-50 challenge with Xabi Alonso in Arsenal's 1-1 draw with Liverpool.

Although Arsenal have recently revived their form, Fabregas' absence has been seen as a key reason for their inability to challenge for the title.

Speaking in the official Arsenal programme for the match against City, the Spaniard said: "I feel good and I am available for selection, although I do not know what the extent of my involvement will be yet.


"During the past week I have felt really sharp - I do not know if I can cope with 90 minutes in my first game because I have not played competitively yet.

"But whether I start or am on the bench the good thing is that we cannot say I am injured anymore. I will be very happy because I will feel like a footballer again."

Fabregas was recently embroiled in controversy during the 2-1 FA Cup quarter-final victory over Hull when he was accused by Tigers' boss Phil Brown of spitting at assistant manager Brian Horton.

On Saturday, Arsenal will be without strike duo Robin Van Persie and Eduardo, who were both injured while on international duty, but Theo Walcott and Emanuel Adebayor are available.

Walcott returns from a knee injury while Adebayor is fit again following a recent hamstring strain.

Samir Nasri (flu) and Mexican striker Carlos Vela (fatigue) may miss out though.

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see also
Arsenal v Man City
01 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Eduardo suffers new injury blow
19 Feb 09 |  Arsenal
Eduardo ready for Arsenal return
22 Jan 09 |  Arsenal

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