Fabregas: Time to step up

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Injured Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas has challenged his team-mates to seize the opportunity to keep their Barclays Premier League title challenge alive with victory at relegation-battling Hull on Saturday night.

The Gunners head to the KC Stadium without their influential midfielder, who has been hampered by a hamstring problem and did not feature in the 5-0 midweek Champions League victory over Porto.

Arsene Wenger's men have put together a run of four straight league victories to haul themselves right back into the title race, but Fabregas said: "We have never talked (about the title), we just kept going and going - but now even more it is the time to be doing our talking on the pitch because we have a great opportunity."

Fabregas insists there is no chance of him asking manager Wenger for a rest in order to protect against further injury.

The Spain midfielder was ruled out for several weeks earlier in the season because of a similar problem.

Fabregas, however, is convinced the injury is something that occurs after a concerted run of games rather than because of any particular tweaks or strains - but does not want Wenger to cut back his playing time as the Gunners fight for glory at home and in Europe.

"I never (ask to be rested). I love playing football, I was feeling good (when the injury happened against Burnley) and you never know when that is going to happen. As long as you are feeling good you just want to play," Fabregas said.

"All the time it is the same hamstring and last season I missed the Manchester United game because of the same thing.

"It's four or five times now in the same area. I don't know what's going on, but that's why it's better that I take my time and come back when I'm ready.

"It's not that I have strained it, it is just a little bit of fluid that is there and it keeps me out for between five and six days."

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Premier League
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Hull City

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