Fulham 0-3 Arsenal: The Gunners take a five-point lead with a dominant first-half display
Fulham 0-3 Arsenal: Rampant Gunners blew away the hosts with three first-half goals while Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Mikel Arteta sent title-chasers five ahead of Man City at the top of the Premier League
- Gabriel Magalhaes scored a header home after the visitors ruled out a goal from VAR early on
- Gabriel Martinelli nodded shortly after good work by Leandro Trossard on the left
- Martin Odegaard made the three just before the break as Arsenal left the home side in shock
The tennis courts at Bishop’s Park were busy on Sunday afternoon. Families sat in front of The Tea House’s pretty bay window, ate the all-day brunch and watched the world go by. Cloncurry Street and Woodlawn Road have rarely looked more elegant and exclusive. All in all it was a pleasant afternoon for a stroll along the Thames.
Arsenal got into the spirit of it. If some of their encounters this season had plenty of fire, brimstone, and brinksmanship, this was a gentle outing on the cusp of spring. They strolled past a disappointingly tame Fulham side without breaking a sweat. They made it so comfortable that if one of them went away to watch the rowers on the river, no one would have noticed.
Their 3-0 win, thanks to first-half goals from Gabriel, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard, put them five points clear of Manchester City, who put them back at the top of the Premier League with eleven games to go. Fulham have had a good season and a win here would have put them fifth above Liverpool, but they never looked to trouble the league leaders. Not from afar.
Arsenal restored their five-point lead at the top of the Premier League table with a dominant win over Fulham
Mikel Arteta’s side put in a dominant performance in what promises to be a difficult game for their league-leading team
Martin Odegaard scored the third of three goals as Arsenal raged at Craven Cottage in the first half
Mick Jagger watched from the stands and at halftime the stadium announcer played the Rolling Stones’ Start Me Up. It sounded like a plaintive plea to Marco Silva’s side, but the home side never got the message. They failed to make it a competition. Arsenal, who have the best away record in the league with 11 wins from 15 games, are edging closer to an unlikely prize.
Both sides had had early escapes. Mitrovic could have possibly punished Arsenal as the flight of the ball deceived White and the Serbian forward chested it into the box. Mitrovic tried to throw the ball over Ramsdale but misjudged and lifted it high over the bar.
A minute later, Martinelli escaped down the left after a one-two with Granit Xhaka, opening his body and drilling a shot past Bernd Leno into the far corner. Leno threw himself to the left to push him out, but he bounced off Antonee Robinson’s legs and rolled into the net. Arsenal celebrated but VAR checked for offside. “This is ****,” shouted a Fulham fan. He may have changed his mind a few seconds later when the goal was disallowed.
Midway through the half, however, Fulham ran out of luck. Trossard curled in from Fulham’s right in a corner and Gabriel rose highest in a crowded six-yard box to nod the ball down and past Leno into the net. If that seemed too easy, Arsenal’s second five minutes later owed much to a poorer defence. Trossard’s cross hit the back post, Robinson caught Martinelli on the wrong side and couldn’t even muster a leap as the Brazilian striker headed past Leno.
With ten minutes remaining, Arsenal almost added a third in what would have been a nice team goal. Adarabioyo gifted the ball cheaply to Thomas Partey, Partey passed it to Martin Odegaard, Odegaard shoved it to Xhaka, who let it run and then moved on to a back pass from Trossard. With only Leno to beat, Xhaka took a heavy touch and the ball rolled harmlessly into the Fulham keeper’s grateful arms.
Arsenal missed another chance to extend their lead at the break when White threw a cross at the back post and Martinelli sneaked in behind the Fulham defence. Martinelli volleyed him and knocked him down, but as Leno fell backwards into his goal, he left-handed him to safety.
However, Fulham could not survive to half-time without conceding again. Arsenal, meanwhile, seemed able to break through their defenses at will and when Saka worked the ball down the left to Trossard, Fulham’s centre-back let his cross to Odegaard drift overhead. Odegaard picked it up, dribbled past a defender and then, undeterred by any semblance of challenge, deflected his shot past Leno. Arsenal made it look embarrassingly easy.
Their level of play faltered a little after the break and they seemed content to maintain their lead, but midway through the second half a brilliant flick from Xhaka Martinelli freed and only a superb block from Kenny Tete prevented a fourth goal. Fulham even showed signs of life: Ramsdale made a good save from Bobby De Cordova-Reid and a Mitrovic header smashed the bar.
Gabriel Jesus made his first appearance for Brazil at the World Cup since his injury with fifteen minutes remaining. He looked impressively sharp and hungry. It was the perfect end to an easy afternoon for Arsenal.
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