Arsenal hopeful of early return for stricken captain

Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas is hoping to be fit for Arsenal's match with Aston Villa on 27 December after a scan revealed his hamstring injury is not as bad as was first feared.

The Spaniard limped out of Arsenal's 1-1 draw with Burnley on Wednesday after opening the scoring, and while the club are still awaiting the full results of the scan, they are confident Fabregas will be missing for at most 10 days. He will not be risked, however, against Hull tomorrow evening.

"Cesc had a scan and we have not had the results yet," said the Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger. "The only thing that is sure is that he will not play on Saturday. Beyond that it all depends on the scan. Is it a tightness that just presents a small risk on Saturday, or is it a small strain grade one or grade two? We will know that later. If it is a tear it is a small one, and the maximum is 10 days, so it's not long-term."

Wenger initially feared his captain might have seriously torn his hamstring and could be facing a lengthy absence. Arsenal are already coping without striker Robin van Persie,out for five months after tearing ankle ligaments, along with Gaël Clichy, Tomas Rosicky, Kieran Gibbs, Nicklas Bendtner and Armand Traoré.

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