GUNNERS PREVIEW: Can Arsenal topple Villa without Fabregas and Adebayor?
Arsenal will be missing skipper Cesc Fabregas and leading scorer Emmanuel Adebayor for their make-or-break trip to Aston Villa on Boxing Day after Sunday s costly 1-1 draw with leaders Liverpool at The Emirates, writes Jem Maidment. Midfielder Fabregas co
Arsenal will be missing skipper Cesc Fabregas and leading scorer Emmanuel Adebayor for their make-or-break trip to Aston Villa on Boxing Day after Sunday's costly 1-1 draw with leaders Liverpool at The Emirates, writes Jem Maidment.
Midfielder Fabregas could be out for up to three weeks after suffering medial knee ligament damage on the stroke of half time following a 50-50 challenge with Xabi Alonso.
And two debatable yellow cards for Adebayor saw the Togo striker head for an early bath. He is now suspended for Friday's match with Nicklas Bendtner set to start at Villa.
The Gunners wrap up 2008 with a trip to Tony Adams' Portsmouth on Sunday.
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"Neither of the [Adebayor] bookings were justified," said an exasperated Arsene Wenger after Sunday's draw.
"It is just an unbelievable decision. The decision cost us two points today, and I do not agree with it all."
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Adebayor, himself, was furious with Liverpool defender Alvaro Arbeloa as referee Howard Webb handed him a second booking.
"The defender threw himself to the floor as if I had put a knife in him - what he did was not fair play at all," said Adebayor.
Robin van Persie fired Arsenal into the lead before former Spurs striker Robbie Keane returned to north London with a goal, hammering home an unstoppable equaliser before the break.
Wenger, though, appeared confident Liverpool can not maintain their form. "I am convinced we would have won with 11 players," he said. "We took control with 10 men, but imagine what it would have been like with 11? The title is won in May and we are only in December.
"We will fight until the end, because I am convinced that Liverpool will drop more points.
"They have had four draws at home, so why should they not drop more in the second part of the season.