Arsenal v Aston Villa EPL Highlights Video, Match Report

Barclays Premier League: Arsenal v Aston Villa Highlights Video, Match Report, Goal Videos

Played at Venue: Emirates Stadium Date: Saturday, 27 December 2009
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.

Arsenal v Aston Villa Match Report
A sensational cameo appearance from substitute Cesc Fabregas helped Arsenal sweep Aston Villa aside 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium.

The skipper was a named substitute as he was not considered fit enough to start but came on in the second half to score two goals before being forced off with a hamstring injury.

Abou Diaby added a third late on to move the Gunners within four points of Premier League leaders Chelsea with a game in hand.

Arsenal dominated the bulk of the first half with few rewards for their efforts.

Brad Friedel in the Aston Villa goal was seldom tested, although the early signs appeared to indicate that he would be in for a busy afternoon.

After just four minutes he was forced into action after Samir Nasri delivered a ball from 25 yards out to William Gallas on the far post. The centre back, despite being under pressure, managed to get a shot off that forced a fine save out of Friedel.

Within seconds, the American goalkeeper was called into action again, but the demands on him were fewer as Diaby found Eduardo in a good position just six yards from the goal, but the Croatia international's shot was a tame one that Friedel gathered with ease.

Nasri came close to giving the Gunners the advantage after 29 minutes after his attempt at a volley from the edge of the area was goal-bound but took a deflection for a corner.

Three minutes later, Bacary Sagna fired a venomous shot just over Friedel's bar after Denilson's free-kick from the edge of the area hit the wall and bounced back into the right-back's path.

The second half continued in the same way the first had finished with the Gunners pushing forward.

Arsene Wenger usually leaves it until the last 20 minutes to make a substitution but gambled on the fitness of Fabregas when he introduced the Spaniard to the game after 56 minutes.

The Villa defence cleared off the line again after 60 minutes after foiling Eduardo from six yards out after the striker had been slipped in by Fabregas.

A goal looked on its way and it came from Fabregas on 65 minutes when he curled a free-kick from a central position on the edge of the penalty area past the Villa keeper and into the top right corner.

The Gunners captain claimed his and Arsenal's second in sensational fashion on 81 minutes.

Armand Traore picked up a loose James Milner pass and he then found Theo Walcott, who slipped in Fabregas with a defence splitting ball that allowed the Spaniard to run between two defenders to shoot past Friedel.

That was his last contribution of the game as the goalscorer appeared to have suffered a recurrence of hamstring injury that sidelined him for the past 10 days.

The points were secure nine minutes later when Diaby waltzed through the Villa defence to curl a shot beyond Friedel to add a late gloss to the final scoreline.

Arsenal v Aston Villa Highlights Video

64:26 GOAL - Francesc Fabregas: Arsenal 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.

80:38 GOAL - Francesc Fabregas: Arsenal 2 - 0 Aston Villa

James Milner's sloppy pass is seized on by Arsenal who break quickly and Theo Walcott picks up the ball diown the right before playing in CESC FABREGAS who coolly fires past Brad Friedel.

90:00+0:51 GOAL - Vassiriki Diaby:Arsenal 3 - 0 Aston Villa

Vassiriki Diaby scores a goal from just outside the penalty area to the bottom right corner of the goal.

Fabregas gamble paid off - Wenger

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill:

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