Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Fabregas, Hleb, Rosicky, and Toure to miss Slavia Prague Clash

Kolo Toure and a trio of Arsenal's midfielders did not travel to the Czech Republic for Wednesday's match against Slavia Prague.

Arsene Wenger explained to Arsenal.com that Cesc Fabregas and Alex Hleb were being rested while Kolo Toure and Tomas Rosicky were recovering from minor injuries picked up in the 2-2 draw with Manchester United on Saturday.

"I wanted to take Tomas Rosicky, but he has a slight problem with his groin," said Wenger.

"Kolo Toure got a kick on his calf [against Manchester United on Saturday]. He will be OK for Reading on Monday. Rosicky, we don’t know yet.

"Alex Hleb and Cesc Fabregas are rested."

The Toure injury (thankfully) sounds very minor, and comes at a time when we are not facing any really tough fixtures, so I'm not too worried there. Rosicky though has been struggling for fitness this season, and I would be disappointed to see him losing his place to Emmanuel Eboue permanently as the Czech Republic captain is a valuable player.

However, we are unlikely to need either player to defeat Reading on Monday, and our next fixture is Wigan on November 24th, so we should be able to cope without the pair.

Alex Hleb and Cesc Fabregas have arguably been Arsenal's two best players this season so the team will miss them, but with the Champions League knockout round almost a sure bet, the two midfielders won't be too necessary against Slavia.

In fact, it should mean that Abou Diaby and Theo Walcott get some playing time, which will benefit the youngsters greatly. I applaud Wenger's decision to keep the two in London for some well-deserved rest.