LONDON ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 23: Theo Walcott (R) of Arsenal pats teammate Cesc Fabregas as he is substituted during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Stoke City at the Emirates Stadium on February 23 2011 in London England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
According to Arsenal's official club website, the Gunners will face Birmingham City on Sunday in the Carling Cup final minus their captain and creative midfielder Cesc Fabregas. Fabregas suffered a hamstring strain, which appears to be short term, but will rule him out for the weekend.
Speaking to the press, manager Arsène Wenger said:
"It is a very small injury but certainly Cesc will be out for Sunday...For how long [beyond that] I don’t know but definitely for Sunday....He is disappointed. We all feel sorry and sad for him. The only way we help him now is to win the Carling Cup as he contributed a lot in this competition."
It is a big blow for the side and also for the Catalan, as Fabregas had vowed via his twitter account to "not sleep if necessary" in order to be fit for the final, but it appears to not be possible. It would have marked Fabregas' first opportunity to lead his side into a final as captain.
Winger Theo Walcott will also be unavailable for the final with sprained ankle, also sustained at Stoke.
On the other hand, van Persie, Koscielny, and Diaby will all be returning from injuries and will be available, according to the club. The boost that van Persie can provide in attack will be perhaps crucial, and he will no doubt be wearing the armband as the team emerges at Wembley.