Fabregas double downs struggling Boro

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Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas fired his side to a 2-0 win over relegation-battlers Middlesbrough.

The Gunners went ahead on 26 minutes when the skipper started and finished a quick counter attack, before slotting home another midway through the second half.

Boro fought bravely, but only had a couple of shots on target to show for their efforts.

Arsenal went ahead on 26 minutes. Nicklas Bendtner flicked the ball to Fabregas in the centre-circle, and the Arsenal captain immediately released Andrey Arshavin down the left. The Russian raced into the area before laying the ball back across into the path of the on-rushing Fabregas, who drilled his shot past Brad Jones, low in the far corner.

Arsenal looked for a second, and Walcott screwed a shot across the face of goal when a square pass to Bendtner in the centre looked the better option.

Manuel Almunia, fit again following an ankle problem, was called into action on 43 minutes when he saved Stewart Downing's 20-yard snap-shot at full stretch.

Boro almost snatched an equaliser when Jeremie Aliadiere took a through ball on his chest and raced into the area, but Almunia was quick off his line to make a crucial block.

At the other end, Fabregas and Emmanuel Eboue combined to tee-up Walcott six yards out, with Jones producing a reaction save.

Almunia saved from Marlon King but on 67 minutes, the Gunners cut the visitors' defence open again. Arshavin stepped inside to find a square pass to Emmanuel Eboue, who slid the ball through into the path of Fabregas.

Jones rushed out to close down the Arsenal captain, but was promptly rounded before Fabregas rolled the ball into the net.

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Emmanuel Eboue
Andrey Arshavin
Stewart Downing
Premier League
Manuel Almunia
Jeremie Aliadiere
Marlon King
Brad Jones
Nicklas Bendtner

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