Premier League Roundup, Dec. 27
Cesc Fabregas scored twice before being forced off with a
recurrence of a hamstring injury Sunday as Arsenal beat Aston Villa
3-0 to keep the pressure on Manchester United, which stayed second
in the Premier League with a 3-1 win at Hull.
Wayne Rooney put United ahead but Craig Fagan leveled from
the penalty spot for Hull, and it took Andy Dawson’s own-goal to
put the defending champions back in control. Dimitar Berbatov
wrapped up United’s win.
Chelsea, which hosts Fulham on Monday, is two points ahead of
United but a resurgent Arsenal is just two points further behind.
“We are in a strong position,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
said. “We can have belief, but it is a long way to go and we have
to keep our feet on the ground and continue to improve together.”
Wenger, though, could be without his captain for the next
three weeks. Fabregas came on as a substitute but lasted just 27
minutes on his return following two weeks out with a hamstring
Having replaced Denilson in the 57th, the Spain midfielder
broke the deadlock in the 65th by curling a free kick beyond
goalkeeper Brad Friedel’s reach and swept in his ninth league goal
of the season in the 81st.
Arsenal’s Armand Traore seized on Milner’s misplaced pass and
picked out Theo Walcott on the right flank with a long diagonal
pass. The England winger passed to Fabregas, who ran between two
defenders before slotting home.
However, Fabregas then clutched his left hamstring as his
“It’s a recurrence of his hamstring – we knew before the game
it was not perfect,” Wenger said. “I feel I did the right thing by
gambling. I was cautious as well but I would do it again because
sometimes you follow your instinct in a game.”
Fabregas will undergo a scan Monday to discover whether he
has pulled his hamstring again.
“If it’s scar tissue, he will be out for just a few days. But
if it’s a pulled hamstring, it’s three weeks,” Wenger said.
At Hull, Rooney scored one and played a part in the three
The England striker put United in front in first-half
stoppage time, turning in Darren Fletcher’s cross.
Hull was gifted a route back into the game after Rooney’s
weak back pass allowed Fagan to nip in to win the ball. Fagan
crossed to Jozy Altidore, and the U.S. striker was bundled over by
United defender Rafael da Silva. Fagan slotted in the penalty in
“It was my mistake for the goal and I don’t think the manager
would have been too happy if we hadn’t gone on to win,” Rooney
said. “It was a horrible feeling to let the lads down. I don’t
think it’s happened to me before.”
Rooney redeemed himself by whipping in the cross that Dawson
inadvertently turned into his own goal in the 73rd.
Rooney helped to kill of the match nine minutes later by
picking out Berbatov at the far post, and the Bulgaria striker
tapped the ball into the net.