Fabregas injury rocks Arsenal's bandwagon

Arsenal 3 Burnley 1

Despite an avalanche of chances, Arsenal couldn't manage the four-goal victory that would have sent them temporarily to the Premier League summit, but a fourth successive triumph added to their belief that they can come up on the rails and land the title.

A traumatic week following Aaron Ramsey's horrendous leg-break at Stoke ended on a high note, though there was fresh concern when the peerless Cesc Fabregas left the field after 39 minutes with a hamstring injury. The Spaniard had put his side ahead by that stage but Arsène Wenger was clearly concerned. "He has a hamstring problem in his right leg and how big the damage is we don't know," said the manager, whose side must overcome a 2-1 deficit against Porto in the Champions' League on Tuesday. "We'll have to make a late decision about him for Porto."

Theo Walcott and substitute Andrey Arshavin added second-half goals following David Nugent's equaliser, and had Nicklas Bendtner not reverted to type after a run of three goals in as many games for club and country, Arsenal would have won by a distance. "We had the chances but didn't take them today and that's why it was tight until the end," said Wenger.

T-shirts worn by Arsenal's players and banners in the crowd lent support to Ramsey, who vowed to "return fitter and stronger" when talking about the incident for the first time.

The Welshman's team-mates could thus be forgiven for brist-ling whenever Burnley put a foot in. Wenger was off his seat protesting when Brian Jensen bore down on the advancing Samir Nasri even though it was the keeper's ball to win.

Walcott was equally upset when Daniel Fox slid in and, quite fairly, won the ball. "It is obviously still fresh in their minds," conceded Burnley's manager, Brian Laws. Yet Burnley were ideal opponents, arriv-ing with a solitary point from 14 away games and offered at 20-1 to win by one bookmaker.

Arsenal should have capitalised after 10 minutes. Bendtner was sent through by an exquisite Fabregas pass, but Martin Paterson made a brilliant recovery tackle. Bendtner also was slow to read Emmanuel Eboué's low cross and Tomas Rosicky volleyed narrowly wide.

Home pressure bore fruit with the opening goal after 34 minutes. Fabregas fed the excellent Nasri on the edge of Burnley's area and delayed his run to collect Nasri's lofted return pass, which hoodwinked the returning skipper Graham Alexander and the sluggish Jensen. Fabregas slipped the ball past the keeper for his 14th League goal this season.

Had Bendtner not squandered a free header from Walcott's cross and fired over from a Walcott lay-off early in the second half, the game would have been put to bed. Yet Burnley scored an unlikely equaliser when Bendtner failed to challenge Clarke Carlisle after an Arsenal clearance. The defender's header bisected the centre-backs Mikaël Silvestre and Thomas Vermaelen, and Nugent lobbed Manuel Almunia.

Yet Arsenal, with Nasri and Denilson at the heart of their play, were soon probing again and Walcott grew in confidence. Jensen saved well from Nasri and Walcott but the England winger put his side back in front, cutting in from the flank and firing across Jensen and into the net with his left foot.

Burnley's substitute Steven Thompson should have brought the scores level but drove over the bar when well positioned and Arshavin, on for Rosicky, settled the nerves with a similar finish to Walcott's just before the end, with Jensen this time beaten inside his near post.

"There were many pleasing things but we sat too deep in the first half and allowed them too much possession," said Laws. "They are invariably going to hurt you if you do that." The pain could have been much worse.

Attendance: 60,043

Referee: Chris Foy

Man of the match: Nasri

Match rating: 7/10

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform