Fabregas' twin strikes take Arsenal to second place

Stuttering Chelsea had dropped precious points on Saturday when they failed to score for the first time in 34 games and were held to a 0-0 draw at Birmingham City at the start of a hectic holiday programme.

With champions Manchester United at Hull City later on Sunday, Arsenal moved at least temporarily up to second place with 38 points. United have 37 while Chelsea are on 42.

With the third and fourth placed sides deadlocked at half-time, Fabregas came on as a second half substitute and fired up the Londoners title challenge with two goals in 16 minutes. The Spaniard won a free kick on the edge of the area in the 65th after being downed by Richard Dunne. The perfectly-flighted free kick from 25 metres out cut through the wall and curled into the top corner past Brad Freidel's outstretched hand. Fabregas then bagged his ninth league goal of the season in the 81st after beign fed through by Theo Walcott. Abou Diaby made it 3-0 for rampant Arsenal in the 90th when he muscled through the midfield and fired a low shot past Friedel.

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