Arsenal 3 Aston Villa 0

Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas came off the bench to inspire his side to a victory over Aston Villa. Fabregas picked himself up after being fouled by Richard Dunne and curled in a 25-yard free-kick with aplomb. The goal came after Villa keeper Brad Friedel had denied William Gallas from point-blank range and kept out an Andrey Arshavin shot. A first-time finish from Fabregas after a Theo Walcott pass and an Abou Diaby strike wrapped up the win for Arsenal.

Fabregas had started as a substitute because of a hamstring problem and was brought on after 57 minutes to give his side extra impetus in beating a stubborn Villa side. The move paid off for manager Arsene Wenger but he will be concerned that his skipper aggravated his injury in sprinting on to Walcott’s ideally weighted pass and had to be replaced on 84 minutes. However, the victory moved the Gunners to within four points of Premier League leaders Chelsea with a game in hand over their London rivals.

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