Arsenal Vs Hull City, Sat 19 Dec 2009

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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has been given a lift with news of Cesc Fabregas' hamstring injury and Denilson being given the all-clear to deputise for his captain against Hull on Saturday.

Fabregas limped off before the break during the draw with Burnley in a match that left Wenger fuming at the fixture compilers and the Premier League defending their schedule - but the initial signs are good for the Spaniard.

The 22-year-old has been ruled out of the Barclays Premier League clash against the Tigers at the Emirates Stadium but the injury may not be as bad as first feared.

"Cesc had a scan (on Thursday)," said Wenger. "We have not had the result yet. The only thing that is sure is that he will not play on Saturday.

"Beyond that, it all depends on the scan. Is it a tightness that just presents a small risk on Saturday or is it a slight strain - grade one or two? We'll know that later.

"If it is a tear it is a small one and the maximum would be 10 days. So it is not long term."

Brazil midfielder Denilson could deputise for Fabregas against Hull after recovering from a back problem.

"Denilson is back and available for Saturday," Wenger told Arsenal TV Online.

"But (Nicklas) Bendtner, (Tomas) Rosicky, (Gael) Clichy and (Armand) Traore will all be too short. The first back should be Traore, maybe for Aston Villa (on December 27)."

Wenger was furious after being asked to play Liverpool on Sunday and Burnley on Wednesday before hosting Hull on Saturday, while Phil Brown's side have enjoyed a free week.

The Gunners boss has been slammed by the likes of Stoke's Tony Pulis who told him to "stop moaning like a drain", but Wenger said: "I gave my opinion and there is nothing personal in it and I completely understand other managers might have another opinion.

"The teams who fight with Wolves not to go down are happy that they have thrown away three points at Manchester United. Why should they complain?

"I am one of the few who really says what he thinks. I am not scared. I give my opinion without any aggression."

The Hull match has history in that it was the fixture which sparked a storm when the teams met at the Emirates stadium in an FA Cup quarter-final in March which Arsenal won 2-1.

Hull's assistant manager Brian Horton accused Fabregas of spitting at him after the match and manager Brown launched a verbal attack on the Arsenal captain, who had watched the game from the bench.

Fabregas and Horton also clashed as they made their way down the tunnel.

Wenger, however, insisted: "They are a team I respect because they try to play football and they have a positive attitude. That is more important for me for football than any personal relationship with a manager."

Hull have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the encounter, with midfield talisman Jimmy Bullard and long-term casualty Ian Ashbee, both with knee problems, the only absentees.

Manager Brown, meanwhile, has revealed the recent absence of striker Daniel Cousin - who was thought to be out of favour - has in part been due to a shoulder injury but he could now be in contention.

Brown is focusing only on his positive memories of Arsenal as he prepares for another testing trip to the Emirates Stadium.

Brown has mixed recollections of his side's two games at the home of the Gunners last season.

The Tigers enjoyed one of the greatest nights in their history when they came from behind to beat Arsene Wenger's men 2-1 in the Premier League in October last year.

But the emotions were different when they returned for the FA Cup encounter.

"It was a storm in a tea cup as far as I am concerned," said Brown, when asked about the cup tie.

"It is something that you get experience from and learn from. If you don't you go backwards.

"But the memories of the Arsenal win are all strong and positive.

"Arsenal were just beginning to get their rhythm and Geovanni upset that with a tremendous goal.

"That was the bit of luck from 30-35 yards we needed. We might need that again but we have enough belief, enough togetherness and enough quality.

"If we perform to the levels of last season we might just ride our luck and get something from it."

In a remarkable coincidence, Fabregas could again be in the stands watching after suffering a hamstring injury.

On the Spaniard's absence, Brown added: "It would be a bonus for us if he is not playing but they have a plethora of talented players who can come in and fill his boots."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Premier League
Francesc Fabregas
Hull City

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