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Page last updated at 15:27 GMT, Sunday, 27 December 2009

Arsenal   3 - 0   Aston Villa

Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas
Fabregas was injured scoring his second goal against Villa

By Mandeep Sanghera

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.

Fabregas gamble paid off - Wenger

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.

Villa had already beaten Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United so far this season to show encouraging signs that they are mentally tougher and have a stronger squad to avoid the same collapse as last season in the chase for a top four place.

Their credentials for another top four assault were under the microscope at the Emirates and they were found wanting ahead of another stern test of their resolve and depth when they play Liverpool on Tuesday.

Prior to the introduction of Fabregas, the game had proved an intriguing and tight contest after Arsenal missed the chance to take an early lead with Villa caught cold.

606: DEBATE

Diaby forced his way past Stephen Warnock and laid the ball to Eduardo, who turned Dunne for a clear sight of goal only to strike a tame effort straight at keeper Friedel.

Denilson powered a 25-yard shot over the Villa goal but the visitors had heeded the warning signs and quickly raised their game.

Villa adopted the same strategy which helped them impressively beat the Gunners at the Emirates last season as they soaked up pressure and played on the counter-attack.

The pace of Ashley Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor, the midfield energy of James Milner and aerial strength of Emile Heskey was key to Villa's tactics.

But a wary Arsenal were wise to the Villa ploy and a Young strike looping over the bar after a deflection off Alexandre Song was a rare threat on their goal.

Villa's defence was aiming for a fifth clean sheet and looked sturdy enough before they had some scares as Arsenal upped their intensity and urgency as they started to dominate.

Villa will bounce back - O'Neill

Gallas came close for the home side when he tried to turn in an Eduardo knock-down but Friedel blocked and Carlos Cuellar cleared and Friedel again foiled Arsenal by saving an Arshavin shot.

Villa finally buckled when Dunne fouled Fabregas, who rewarded Arsenal's pressure when he sent a free-kick over the Villa wall and into the top corner.

Armand Tarore's sweeping pass found Walcott on the right flank and he set up Fabregas for the second as Villa found Arsenal too hot to handle.

And Diaby added the gloss to the win when he ran at a retreating Villa defence and found the bottom corner with a precise strike past the despairing dive of Friedel.


Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill:
"You can draw all sorts of conclusions from just one game and we have to look at the bigger picture.

"If there is anything to learn from the game we will try to do it and have just to keep going ourselves.

"We are up there in the league because we deserve to be. Now it is down to us to see if we can maintain the form which put us there in the first place."

Live text and stats

 

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Barclays Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Arsenal 3-0 Aston Villa FT
(HT 0-0)
  • Fabregas 65
  • Fabregas 81
  • Diaby 90+1

    Arsenal

    Substitutes

    Aston Villa

    Substitutes

    Ref: DowdAtt: 60,056
    ARSENAL
    ASTON VILLA

    Possession

    • Arsenal 62%
    • Aston Villa 38%

    Attempts on target

    • Arsenal 12
    • Aston Villa 3

    Attempts off target

    • Arsenal 7
    • Aston Villa 4

    Corners

    • Arsenal 10
    • Aston Villa 4

    Fouls

    • Arsenal 14
    • Aston Villa 18
    • Final Result
    • Full Time
    • 90:00+4:10 The referee ends the match.
    • 90:00+3:07 Free kick taken by Andrey Arshavin.
    • 90:00+3:07 Booking Fabian Delph is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour.
    • 90:00+3:02 Aaron Ramsey fouled by Fabian Delph, the ref awards a free kick.
    • 90:00+2:09 Short corner taken by Samir Nasri.
    • Correction - 90:00+0:51 The assist for the goal came from Aaron Ramsey.
    • 90:00+0:51 Assist on the goal came from Samir Nasri.
    • 90:00+0:51 GOAL - Vassiriki DiabyArsenal 3 - 0 Aston Villa Vassiriki Diaby scores a goal from just outside the penalty area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Arsenal 3-0 Aston Villa.
    • 88:19 Alexandre Song Billong challenges Stewart Downing unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Stephen Warnock.
    • 88:07 Free kick awarded for a foul by Vassiriki Diaby on Ashley Young. Direct free kick taken by Ashley Young.
    • 85:34 Gabriel Agbonlahor takes a shot. Brilliant save by Manuel Almunia. Inswinging corner taken by Ashley Young from the left by-line.
    • 84:49 Ashley Young takes a shot from 18 yards.
    • 83:35 Vassiriki Diaby restarts play with the free kick.
    • 83:35 Substitution (Arsenal) makes a substitution, with Aaron Ramsey coming on for Francesc Fabregas.
    • 83:35 Unfair challenge on Alexandre Song Billong by Stiliyan Petrov results in a free kick.
    • 83:18 Centre by James Milner.
    • 83:00 The ball is swung over by Ashley Young, William Gallas makes a clearance.
    • 80:38 Assist on the goal came from Theo Walcott.
    • 80:38 GOAL - Francesc FabregasArsenal 2 - 0 Aston Villa Francesc Fabregas finds the back of the net with a goal from inside the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Arsenal 2-0 Aston Villa.
    • 79:57 Fabian Delph fouled by Alexandre Song Billong, the ref awards a free kick. Fabian Delph takes the free kick.
    • 78:44 Foul by Armand Traore on Gabriel Agbonlahor, free kick awarded. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Stewart Downing, Manuel Almunia makes a save.
    • 78:01 Corner taken by Stewart Downing from the right by-line, Manuel Almunia makes a comfortable save.
    • 76:42 Centre by Theo Walcott.
    • 75:04 Free kick crossed by Francesc Fabregas, clearance made by Richard Dunne.
    • 75:04 Substitution Luke Young leaves the field to be replaced by Fabian Delph.
    • 75:04 Booking Carlos Cuellar is shown a yellow card.
    • 74:55 Free kick awarded for a foul by Carlos Cuellar on Francesc Fabregas.
    • 73:33 Richard Dunne gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Theo Walcott. Free kick crossed right-footed by Francesc Fabregas, clearance by Stiliyan Petrov.
    • 69:54 Alexandre Song Billong produces a left-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the bar.
    • Correction - 69:09 The offside flag is raised against William Gallas. Brad Friedel takes the free kick.
    • 69:09 The assistant referee signals for offside against William Gallas. Brad Friedel restarts play with the free kick.
    • 68:30 Unfair challenge on Thomas Vermaelen by John Carew results in a free kick. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Francesc Fabregas.
    • 67:14 Gabriel Agbonlahor is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Indirect free kick taken by Manuel Almunia.
    • 66:10 Booking Alexandre Song Billong booked for unsporting behaviour.
    • 64:26 GOAL - Francesc FabregasArsenal 1 - 0 Aston Villa Francesc Fabregas finds the net with a goal direct from the free kick from just outside the area to the top left corner of the goal. Arsenal 1-0 Aston Villa.
    • Correction - 63:41 Richard Dunne challenges Francesc Fabregas unfairly and gives away a free kick.
    • 63:41 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Francesc Fabregas by Richard Dunne.
    • 61:52 Manuel Almunia takes the free kick.
    • 61:52 Substitution Da Silva Eduardo leaves the field to be replaced by Theo Walcott.
    • 61:52 Free kick crossed by Ashley Young, clearance by Armand Traore. The referee blows for offside against Gabriel Agbonlahor.
    • 61:52 Substitution John Carew joins the action as a substitute, replacing Emile Heskey.
    • 61:52 Francesc Fabregas challenges Gabriel Agbonlahor unfairly and gives away a free kick.
    • 61:04 Stewart Downing fouled by Andrey Arshavin, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Stephen Warnock.
    • Correction - 60:24 Andrey Arshavin takes a shot. Brad Friedel makes a brilliant save. Francesc Fabregas takes a outswinging corner.
    • 60:24 Andrey Arshavin takes a shot. Save by Brad Friedel. Francesc Fabregas takes a outswinging corner.
    • 59:22 Da Silva Eduardo takes a shot. Blocked by Carlos Cuellar.
    • 57:36 Da Silva Eduardo fouled by Stiliyan Petrov, the ref awards a free kick. Direct effort from the free kick comes in from Francesc Fabregas.
    • 56:40 Substitution Neves Denilson goes off and Francesc Fabregas comes on.
    • 55:53 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Andrey Arshavin, William Gallas takes a shot. Brad Friedel makes a save.
    • Correction - 54:39 Direct strike on goal from the free kick comes in from Da Silva Eduardo, fantastic save by Brad Friedel.
    • 54:39 Direct effort from the free kick comes in from Da Silva Eduardo, Brad Friedel makes a fantastic save.
    • 54:39 Booking Booking for Ashley Young for dissent.
    • Correction - 54:17 Stephen Warnock challenges Vassiriki Diaby unfairly and gives away a free kick.
    • 54:17 Foul by Stephen Warnock on Vassiriki Diaby, free kick awarded.
    • 53:19 Ashley Young takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, save made by Manuel Almunia.
    • 52:03 Unfair challenge on Thomas Vermaelen by Gabriel Agbonlahor results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Manuel Almunia.
    • 51:22 Free kick awarded for a foul by Emile Heskey on Vassiriki Diaby. Bacary Sagna takes the free kick.
    • 48:23 Neves Denilson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Stiliyan Petrov. Richard Dunne takes the direct free kick.
    • 47:42 The assistant referee flags for offside against Emile Heskey. Indirect free kick taken by Manuel Almunia.
    • 47:24 Emile Heskey sends in a cross.
    • Correction - 46:50 Alexandre Song Billong challenges James Milner unfairly and gives away a free kick. Luke Young takes the free kick.
    • 46:50 James Milner fouled by Alexandre Song Billong, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Luke Young.
    • 45:01 The referee starts the second half.
    • Half Time
    • 45:00+1:45 It is the end of the first-half.
    • 45:00+1:05 Unfair challenge on Alexandre Song Billong by Ashley Young results in a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Da Silva Eduardo, brilliant save by Brad Friedel.
    • 45:00+0:15 Shot from 30 yards by Neves Denilson. Blocked by Stiliyan Petrov.
    • 44:29 Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Da Silva Eduardo, clearance made by Carlos Cuellar. Inswinging corner taken by Da Silva Eduardo from the right by-line played to the near post, Stiliyan Petrov makes a clearance.
    • 43:14 Foul by James Milner on Neves Denilson, free kick awarded. Free kick crossed right-footed by Neves Denilson from right channel, clearance made by Richard Dunne.
    • 42:40 Alexandre Song Billong fouled by Stewart Downing, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by William Gallas.
    • 42:03 Centre by Andrey Arshavin, blocked by Carlos Cuellar. Corner taken by Samir Nasri, clearance made by Richard Dunne.
    • 41:13 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Luke Young by Da Silva Eduardo. Carlos Cuellar restarts play with the free kick.
    • 37:59 Gabriel Agbonlahor is ruled offside. Free kick taken by William Gallas.
    • 37:04 Bacary Sagna produces a cross.
    • 34:59 Emile Heskey is caught offside. Direct free kick taken by Manuel Almunia.
    • 34:21 Samir Nasri concedes a free kick for a foul on Stiliyan Petrov. Richard Dunne restarts play with the free kick.
    • 30:44 Richard Dunne concedes a free kick for a foul on Neves Denilson. Shot comes in from Neves Denilson from the free kick. Shot by Bacary Sagna from just outside the area goes over the net.
    • 29:08 Shot from 18 yards by Samir Nasri. Blocked by Richard Dunne. Corner taken right-footed by Samir Nasri, Alexandre Song Billong has a headed effort from close range and clears the crossbar.
    • 27:34 Foul by Gabriel Agbonlahor on Alexandre Song Billong, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Bacary Sagna.
    • 26:17 Alexandre Song Billong gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on James Milner. Stiliyan Petrov takes the free kick.
    • 24:02 Da Silva Eduardo takes the inswinging corner, clearance made by Stiliyan Petrov.
    • 22:39 Gabriel Agbonlahor takes a shot. Save made by Manuel Almunia.
    • 21:31 Stephen Warnock concedes a free kick for a foul on Samir Nasri. The ball is crossed by Samir Nasri, Vassiriki Diaby produces a header from inside the area that goes over the crossbar.
    • 20:19 Richard Dunne is caught offside. Manuel Almunia takes the free kick.
    • 19:02 Unfair challenge on Emile Heskey by Alexandre Song Billong results in a free kick. James Milner restarts play with the free kick.
    • 18:14 Stewart Downing has an effort at goal from close range which goes wide right of the target.
    • 15:59 Unfair challenge on Stiliyan Petrov by Neves Denilson results in a free kick. Richard Dunne takes the free kick.
    • 15:21 Bacary Sagna crosses the ball.
    • 13:37 Effort from the edge of the penalty area by Carlos Cuellar goes wide of the left-hand post.
    • 12:45 Ashley Young takes a shot. Blocked by Alexandre Song Billong. Inswinging corner taken by Stewart Downing, clearance by Neves Denilson.
    • 11:21 Andrey Arshavin takes a shot. Comfortable save by Brad Friedel.
    • 9:03 Emile Heskey produces a left-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that misses to the left of the target.
    • 6:18 Neves Denilson produces a right-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the bar.
    • 6:04 Da Silva Eduardo decides to take the corner short.
    • 5:51 Corner taken left-footed by Da Silva Eduardo to the near post, Emile Heskey manages to make a clearance.
    • 4:45 Unfair challenge on Neves Denilson by Emile Heskey results in a free kick. Neves Denilson takes the direct free kick.
    • 3:20 Shot from 12 yards by Da Silva Eduardo. Save made by Brad Friedel.
    • 1:55 Richard Dunne challenges Vassiriki Diaby unfairly and gives away a free kick. Samir Nasri takes the direct free kick, Thomas Vermaelen takes a shot. Save by Brad Friedel.
    • 1:31 Unfair challenge on Carlos Cuellar by Andrey Arshavin results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Carlos Cuellar.
    • 0:00 The game gets underway.

    Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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    Premier League results

    27 Dec 2009 23:59 UK


    Premier League table

    Sunday, 27 December 2009 18:26 UK

    Position Team P GD PTS
    Full Premier League table
    1 Chelsea 19 28 42
    2 Man Utd 19 22 40
    3 Arsenal 18 27 38
    4 Aston Villa 19 12 35
    5 Tottenham 19 18 34
    6 Man City 18 8 32
    7 Liverpool 19 11 30
    8 Birmingham 19 1 29
    9 Fulham 18 6 27
    10 Sunderland 19 -3 22
    11 Stoke 18 -7 21
    12 Blackburn 19 -15 20
    13 Burnley 19 -16 20
    14 Everton 18 -8 19
    15 Wolves 19 -16 19
    16 Wigan 18 -18 19
    17 West Ham 19 -7 18
    18 Bolton 17 -10 17
    19 Hull 19 -22 17
    20 Portsmouth 19 -11 14

    see also
    Fabregas to return in two weeks
    30 Dec 09 |  Arsenal
    Premier League photos
    26 Dec 09 |  Football


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