Manuel Almunia concedes losing Arsenal skipper Cesc Fabregas to a knee injury is a big blow.

"Fabregas is very big for us," said Almunia.

"The news has come at the worst possible moment for us but we have to recover and try and play in the same way. He was upset after the game but I know him very well and I know he is going to recover very quickly.

"The games at Christmas always turn out to be decisive in the race for the Championship and we must go for the victories in the next two games."