Arsene Wenger is optimistic that the hamstring injury suffered by match-winner Cesc Fabregas is not serious despite the Arsenal captain's afternoon being cut short in Sunday's 3-0 win over Aston Villa.
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Fabregas started the game at Emirates Stadium on the bench having failed to fully recover from the hamstring injury that forced his withdrawal in a 1-1 draw with Burnley on December 16. However, with Arsenal drawing against the team one place below them in the table, Fabregas was introduced as a 57th-minute substitute and promptly scored twice to inspire a 3-0 win for the Gunners. In the act of scoring his second goal - when producing a neat finish after latching onto a Theo Walcott through-ball - Fabregas aggravated the problem and was removed having spent 27 decisive minutes on the field. With a league game against Portsmouth on Wednesday and the FA Cup third-round tie against West Ham on January 3 on the horizon, Wenger is praying that his captain will not be sidelined for a prolonged period of time. "It's a recurrence of his hamstring. We knew before the game it was not perfect," Wenger told Sky Sports . "We will see if we have long regrets or short regrets. I don't believe it's too bad, he doesn't think it's too bad. If it's a pull again it's three weeks (out) so we hope it is only a scar.'' Fabregas made a substantial impact for his team in the 27 minutes that he was on the field but Wenger believes Arsenal could have beaten Aston Villa without relying on their captain. "That's very difficult to predict. I believe we were dominant. I believe in the last 20 minutes we could have made the difference (to win the game)," Wenger said. Wenger also stated once more that he will consider signing a striker in January to help cushion the blow of Robin van Persie's long-term injury. The Dutch striker could be sidelined until May with torn ankle ligaments. Wenger said: "We are in the market with our eyes open. We are a bit short as we planned to play with Robin the whole season."