Fabregas says rivals should be 'scared'

February 26, 2007

Cesc Fabregas believes the quality of Arsenal's young Gunners will 'scare' other teams and believes they will become a major force over the next three seasons.

A late brawl which saw three players sent off and Fabregas and Frank Lampard booked, marred what had been another impressive display from Arsene Wenger's delicate blend of youthful talent and experience in the Carling Cup final.

Brazil Under-19 captain Denilson did not look out of place alongside Fabregas at the heart of the side in what was his first appearance on the big stage in England.

Eventually, the wiser heads of Chelsea - most notably Didier Drogba - ensured there would be no fairytale ending at the Millennium Stadium.

However, the manner in which the Gunners had set about the Barclays Premiership champions from kick-off - Theo Walcott opening the scoring with his first for the club - was certainly impressive.

It is sometimes easy to forget that Fabregas is himself only 19, the stand-out youngster from a side which had an average age of just 21.

'If I was in another team, I would be scared if you could see all the young players who are coming from this Arsenal team,' Fabregas said.

'You can see that if we keep playing for three more years together, then we could do something really big for the club. We have shown great talent here. I am also young and just try to do my best for the team.

'We have to all be proud of the performance in the final.'

While the mass brawl grabbed the headlines and may yet see both clubs face sanctions from the Football Association, the course of the match could so easily have been a much smoother ride for the Gunners.

Goalkeeper Petr Cech was forced into making several superb saves - from Julio Baptista's angled drive in particular - as the Chelsea defence was opened up at will.

Fabregas added: 'In the first half we should have been 3-0 up. Manuel Almunia was doing nothing in the goal.

'In the second half, Chelsea tried to push a little bit more, and credit to them because they are a good team.

'However, their first goal was clearly offside. But this is football. Sometimes the referee makes mistakes, and we accept that.'

There is little time for yesterday's result to be digested before Arsenal return to action, travelling to Blackburn for an FA Cup fifth-round replay on Wednesday night.

The Gunners are now facing something of a fixture backlog and are already two games behind rivals Liverpool in the race for third place in the Premiership.

With the second leg of a last-16 clash in the Champions League against PSV Eindhoven to come on March 7, there is little room for a breather.

Fabregas added: 'We still have a lot to say in the league. There is also the FA Cup on Wednesday and then we will see what happens in the Champions League.'

Kolo Toure, captain for the day, team-mate Emmanuel Adebayor and Blues' midfielder Mikel Jon Obi were all sent off following the melee in Cardiff.

Claims for wrongful dismissal or mistaken identity must be logged with the FA today under the new fast-track disciplinary system - otherwise all three men will be automatically banned for three matches.

Toure hopes Soho Square officials will show leniency once they have reviewed video evidence of the incident at the Millennium Stadium.

He maintained: 'I do not think I will get banned. When they look at the tape, they will see I have done nothing wrong. When you are a player like me, I have had a lot of games, but do not choose to do that type of thing.

'The people who run football know who is bad and they know that I am always trying to do my best for the club, the team and the fans as well.

'It can happen to anybody, though. You can make a mistake in any job, or do something bad. That is why you need to apologise, which I have done. You do not need to make it bigger.'