Cesc Fabregas, the Arsenal captain, will be out for at least two weeks while Chung-yong Lee, the Bolton winger, has committed his long-term future to the club.
Premier League notebook: Arsenal to Fulham
Cesc Fabregas, the Arsenal captain, will be out for at least two weeks with the hamstring injury suffered in Arsenal's Champions League defeat at Braga. "Fabregas will be assessed today with a scan," Arsene Wenger, the manager, told Arsenal TV Online yesterday. "After that, we can tell you how long he will be out, but I count two weeks." Emmanuel Eboue is also out for four weeks with a knee ligament strain. Midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who suffered a horrific leg break in February, has joined Championship club Nottingham Forest on loan until January, to continue his recovery.
Gabby Agbonlahor, the Aston Villa striker, has spoken of the privilege of training alongside the club's new signing, World Cup-winner Robert Pires. The former Arsenal player, who has won two Premier League titles, signed for Villa last week on a six-month deal. "Everyone is still shocked that Robert has joined Villa. He is a player of immense quality," Agbonlahor told the club's website. "Just look at what he's done in the game. It will be a pleasure to train with him, never mind play with him. I don't think I can think of many bigger names joining the club."
Craig Gardner is close to returning to training - after manager Alex McLeish initially feared he could be sidelined for up to three months. Gardner, the midfielder, missed City's surprising 1-0 home success over Chelsea last weekend with an ankle problem. But it was the recurrence of a previous injury rather than a new setback and McLeish expects him to be available sooner rather than later. "The good news is that it wasn't a fresh injury. It was an old injury which has changed the medical people's minds about the extent of the injury," McLeish said.
Ryan Nelsen, the Blackburn Rovers captain, is confident that the takeover by Indian owners will help the club hang on to some of their best players. In recent seasons players like David Bentley, Roque Santa Cruz and Stephen Warnock have been sold, with the transfer fees used mostly to service the club's debt. Rovers are now waiting for their new owners, the Rao family, to outline their plans. "It's horrible when you see really good players leave the club," Nelsen told the Lancashire Evening Telegraph."It's horrible when they leave and then they come back and play you. Hopefully, we can start doing that to other clubs now."
Ian Holloway, the Blackpool manager, is blaming himself for the hamstring injury that will keep his veteran striker Marlon Harewood out for up to six weeks. Harewood, 31, suffered the setback ahead of the Premier League match against Bolton Wanderers tomorrow after a Blackpool training session lasted a bit too long. "I wanted it to be competitive at the end of training and it went on too long. It was my fault," said Holloway, whose side are 12th in the table after a promising start to their first season in the Premier League. "I'm in the doghouse from the physio. How long is Marlon likely to be out for? Five or six weeks."
Chung-yong Lee, the Bolton winger, has committed his long-term future to the club. The South Korea international has signed a contract extension until 2013, manager Owen Coyle said yesterday. Lee, 24, has been in sparkling form for Bolton, who are lying fifth in the table going into the Premier League match against Blackpool tomorrow. "We have signed Lee on a contract extension. It is great news for the club that such a talented player will be here for a long time," said Coyle. Lee follows in the footsteps of teammates Fabrice Muamba, Stuart Holden and Danny Ward in signing a contract extension at the Reebok Stadium.
Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic thinks the Serbian contingent in the Premier League owe it to their country to put in good performances. "Now there is also Aleksandar Kolarov at Manchester City and Milan Jovanovic at Liverpool," the Chelsea defender told his club's website. "For them it is a time for adaptation, to prepare for English football. Nemanja Vidic also needed time, but now he is here for five years and playing very well as Manchester United captain. We have to show our quality like a team, every single player, for Serbian football. I think it is great to have six or seven players in the Premier League, the best league in the world."
Robert Elstone, the Everton chief executive, believes a record-breaking shirt sponsorship deal is an indication of the progress the club is making. Chang, the Thai drinks company, have extended their long-standing association with the club for another three years in a deal that could see Everton net more than £12 million (Dh69.6m) by 2014. "It is a great deal for us, financially," said Elstone. "And in a climate where people are really questioning where they spend their money, investments and trying to save money, the fact that Chang have come back to us and are prepared to spend more shows that we are delivering for them."
Chris Baird, the Fulham defender, said the club are in a false position in the table and will soon bounce back from the 4-1 home defeat to Manchester City on Sunday. "We didn't do the things we were supposed to do against City," Baird told the club's website. "They took full advantage of that. We were sloppy and it wasn't like us at all. We have to move on and hopefully we can turn it around this weekend against Birmingham City. It's not nice looking at the league table and seeing us in 17th place, but it's still early days. I think we're in a false position - we're a much better team than we showed last weekend."