Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was hopeful captain Cesc Fabregas had not done too much damage in suffering a hamstring injury after scoring twice in the Gunners' 3-0 win over Aston Villa.
Sunday's success at their Emirates Stadium home saw Arsenal move to within four points of English Premier League leaders and London rivals Chelsea. But victory against a Villa side who stayed fourth in the table was anything but assured until the 57th-minute introduction of Spain midfielder Fabregas.
The skipper struck a superb curling shot from a 25-yard free-kick he himself had won to put Arsenal 1-0 in front in the 65th minute and then made sure his team collected all three points by finishing a sweeping move nine minutes from time. But in the process of scoring that second goal, Fabregas suffered a recurrence of his hamstring injury and soon afterwards his decisive 28-minute spell on the field was over, although Arsenal still managed a third goal in stoppage time through Abou Diaby.
"It's a recurrence of his hamstring," Wenger said. "We knew before the game it was not perfect. 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."
The Frenchman refused to say if Arsenal would have won had Fabregas stayed on the bench. "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)."
But Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen had no doubt about Fabregas's impact, saying: "He was great. He had an injury and he did everything to make this game. He's a fantastic player. We didn't create as many chances and when he came on he gave us more opportunities to score."
Meanwhile, Wenger added he was pondering signing a striker in the January transfer window because of Dutch international Robin van Persie's ankle injury. "We are in the market with our eyes open. We are a bit short as we planned to play with Robin the whole season."