Arsenal has been handed a major blow in the form of skipper Cesc Fabregas' injury for the Carling Cup final and possibly for the second leg against Barcelona. The 23-year-old will miss the chance to captain Arsenal in the final after the recurrence of a hamstring injury that has blighted him in the recent past.  

The Spaniard had to be substituted early in the first half against Stoke City on Wednesday after experiencing discomfort in his hamstring, and further tests have shown its severity.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger confirmed the news saying, It is a very small injury but certainly Cesc will be out for Sunday. For how long I don't know but definitely for Sunday. He is disappointed. We all feel sorry and sad for him. The only way we can help him now is to win the Carling Cup as he contributed a lot in this competition.

Though the absence in the cup final is a major blow, a possible absence against Barcelona on 8 March remains more serious. Currently, Arsenal lead the tie with a score of 2-1, but his absence could prove costly for the Gunners at the Nou Camp.

However, Fabregas' personal trainer, Juan Ferrando, suggested the midfielder could return in time for Barcelona.

He said, In principle, he has a micro fracture and may play in the Nou Camp on 8 March without problems. Without doubt.

Wenger was more cautious though and admitted he could not put a timescale on his recovery. It is very difficult to give a deadline. It is impossible.

On Thursday, Wenger confirmed that his winger Theo Walcott will miss the Carling Cup final with an ankle injury, and it has now emerged that he is a doubt for the trip to Spain as well.

Wenger said.I saw him this morning. He has a classic ankle sprain. We don't think there is any more damage to it. But it is still a sprain. We are sad for him too. He is out for Sunday and maybe one or two more weeks more.

Arsenal did have a boost in the form of recoveries of Robin van Persie, Laurent Koscielny and Abou Diaby all of whom are fit to play in Sunday's final.