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    Wenger: Fabregas is available for Arsenal


    by ODN


    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has not yet decided whether to gamble on captain Cesc Fabregas for Tuesday's Champions League Group H clash against Shakhtar Donetsk.

    The Gunners skipper has not featured since September 18 after suffering a hamstring problem when scoring at Sunderland as the ball was kicked against his leg before ballooning over the keeper.

    Without their talismanic midfielder, Arsenal lost successive Barclays Premier League matches before the international break, although they returned to winning ways against Birmingham at the weekend.

    In Europe, however, Wenger's men maintained their 100 per cent start following a hard-earned 3-1 victory at Partizan Belgrade.

    With Shakhtar - who signed Croatia forward Eduardo from Arsenal in the summer - also having picked up six points, Tuesday night's encounter could all but guarantee one side safe passage into the knockout stage.

    Wenger, though, will give plenty of thought as to whether he should throw Fabregas straight back into the action.

    "Cesc has prepared well. He had a little setback, but got over the hurdle and is ready to play at full fitness, but whether I start him or not, I do not know yet," Wenger said.

    "It will be whether I take a gamble or not, because he has been out for a long time.

    "But physically he is ready and fit - and wanting to play."

    Wenger continued: "You know his influence on our team, he is our leader, our passer, he has a good level of assists and a good goalscoring record.

    "Ideally you want him in the team."

    Eduardo ended a three-year stay at Arsenal when he moved to Donetsk during the summer in a £6 million deal, having found himself pushed down the pecking order following the free transfer signing of Marouane Chamakh.

    Wenger admits it was somewhat emotional to see the Brazil-born forward leave, the 27-year-old having fought his way back to full fitness following an horrific broken leg and dislocated ankle at Birmingham in February 2008.

    "I will be happy and sad to see Eduardo," said the Arsenal manager.

    "Happy because he was always a fantastic boy with a fantastic mentality, he just had the class of an Arsenal player, and sad because I worked very hard to get him here and he left with the feeling that he could not completely fulfil the promise he had in the first season.

    "That was basically down to the fact he was injured for a long time and somebody else moved in front of him."