Wenger gunning for suc-Cesc
Arsene Wenger has handed the Arsenal captaincy to Cesc Fabregas on a permanent basis, ahead of their Champions League clash with Dynamo Kiev.
The Spaniard replaces William Gallas following the Frenchman's verbal indiscretions in the media regarding his team-mates and, at just 21 years-old, Fabregas must lead troubled Arsenal into an important Champions League group game this evening.
Qualification had looked a certainty for Arsenal, but a 0-0 draw at The Emirates with Fenerbahce and their recent Premier League form has rightly raised some doubts. Still priced at 1/5 to top Group G they would only need a draw from tonight's game to keep them in with a great chance of qualification to the last 16. With a three-point lead over Dynamo and level with Porto (if they beat Fenerbahce tonight) their superior goal difference of +7 leaves them sitting pretty. View the lastest Champions League tables in our Football Stats Centre.
A repeat of the draw achieved in September away at Kiev would probably suit Wenger regardless of what his team can manage. The win against Man Utd aside, their last six results have been far from ideal: they've lost to Stoke, Aston Villa and 3-0 to Man City most recently. They also squandered a 3-1 lead over local rivals, Spurs, to draw 4-4 and drew with Fenerbahce. The Gallas incident will have had an impact and Fabregas can't turn it round in a matter of days.
The draw is 10/3 but, at the biggest price readily available, Dynamo Kiev can be backed at 15/2 with William Hill to rock the new skipper's boat and extend the Gunners' poor run of form.
Gallas is an immense figure at the back for Arsenal; he is expected to return tonight after being dropped at the weekend, Wenger is saying all the right things about his long-term future at the club, but will his heart really be in it?