Arsenal 1 // Stoke City 0
LONDON // Arsenal moved to within a point of Manchester United at the top of the Premier League with a header from Sebastien Squillaci after eight minutes proving enough for a 1-0 win over Stoke City.
The Gunners might have paid a heavy price for the victory though as they lost both Cesc Fabregas, their captain, and Theo Walcott to injuries.
Fabregas appeared to come off as a precautionary measure after just 15 minutes with a knee problem but Walcott was stretchered off and will miss Sunday's Carling Cup final against Birmingham City at Wembley.
Walcott was carried off the Emirates Stadium pitch following a challenge from Stoke's Dean Whitehead. As he fell his left ankle caught and twisted in the turf and he looked to be in some pain.
United, who drew 0-0 with Olympique Marseille in the Champions League on Wednesday, have 57 points from 26 matches, followed by Arsenal on 56 after playing one more match. Manchester City are third with 49 points from their 27 games.
Arsenal asserted their dominance early in the game when Walcott hit the post in the opening minutes before Squillaci, guilty of some erratic performances this season, grabbed what proved to be the only goal after a cross from Nicklas Bendtner.
While Stoke's defenders ball-watched, Squillaci ran in to head home from close range.