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WhoScored: Zabaleta-Sterling a key battle

Tactics And Analysis 5 hours ago
Read
 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov 25, 2008

Skipper Fabregas delighted with Gunners endeavour

Cesc Fabregas' Arsenal captaincy began with a 1-0 win at home to Dynamo Kiev which took the Gunners through to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Fabregas was indebted to a Nicklas Bendtner goal three minutes from time for settling a tight match in the hosts' favour.

"It is important to win the first game,'' said the Spaniard, who replaced William Gallas as captain following the latter's remarks in the press about some of his colleagues.

"We did very well, and the attitude was spot on from the first minute to the last.

"It is a great result. We know for sure we are through to the next round so that is fantastic.''

Fabregas' long ball for Bendtner's goal came in confused circumstances over a drop ball awarded deep in the Arsenal half.

"The referee said 'leave the ball to me' - so I took it and played. We have to accept that,'' Fabregas added on ITV4.

"We can go to Porto [in the remaining Champions League Group G game next month] with different thoughts now. But definitely we have to think about Sunday [at Chelsea in the Barclays Premier League], because that is a very big game for us.''

After losing ground in the Barclays Premier League title race with back-to-back defeats, Arsene Wenger said: "This is the first step for us.

"It was what the team needs, reassurance, and this will give us that. We left it late. It was more a steady than spectacular performance, but it was important to win the game.''

Wenger added: "It was a great goal. It is not handball. Watch it on the replay. He did not take it with his arm like they complained. A fantastic ball first from Fabregas, good control and a fine finish.

"I'm very happy for him. He (Bendtner) was a bit disturbed recently with a lack of confidence, but that will help give him confidence.''

Gallas received a neutral reception from Arsenal fans when he first touched the ball.

"I believe his focus was great,'' Wenger said. "He wanted to do well and you could see he was completely committed in the game.

"Overall, I feel he did well. The crowd responded well. Somewhere, they acknowledge that he was a committed captain and I was very happy that the crowd reacted in this way to him.''

Wenger was also happy with his new skipper.

"He was very good for me,'' the Frenchman said. "Focused for 90 minutes in the game, worked hard defensively and offensively. It was not easy in midfield because they closed us down very well. I expected them to go up a little bit in the second half, but they didn't.''

Fabregas added: "We showed we are united and the performance was superb. It's fantastic to learn from them (previous Arsenal captains) and maybe do things they used to do. William as well.''

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