EPL

Fulham 0-3 Arsenal: Willian and Gabriel hit the ground running in routine Gunners win

By Sports Desk September 12, 2020

Arsenal made a convincing start to the new Premier League season as debutants Willian and Gabriel impressed in a 3-0 win at Fulham.

Willian set up Gabriel and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score second-half goals after helping to force Alexandre Lacazette's unmissable opener.

Mikel Arteta's side lost their final two away league games of 2019-20 to Tottenham and Aston Villa, but victory at Craven Cottage was comfortably in their grasp as soon as Lacazette struck eight minutes in to become the first player to score the first goal of a Premier League season on two occasions.

Scott Parker's men enjoyed nearly half of the possession but offered scant threat to the Gunners' goal as the challenge facing last season's Championship play-off winners was laid bare.

Fulham started positively but fell behind in disappointing fashion, Lacazette tapping in after Marek Rodak had saved from Willian, all after Aubameyang had been allowed to chase and retrieve a loose ball in the hosts' box.

Willian almost scored his first Arsenal goal with his first shot, the Brazilian striking the base of the left-hand post from a free-kick on the edge of the box.

Gabriel, who been largely untroubled in defence in the first half, made a telling contribution at the other end four minutes into the second half, diverting Willian's corner past Rodak with his shoulder.

It was 3-0 before the hour mark, Willian switching play to Aubameyang after winning back the ball in the Fulham half and the Gunners striker curling a fine finish into the top-right corner.

Michael Hector cleared off the line to deny Aubameyang a second and prevent Fulham's first game back in the top flight from becoming worse.

What does it mean? Refreshed Gunners taking shape

Arteta will be delighted with the way Willian and Gabriel performed on debut, the former earning two assists - the first Arsenal player to do so on debut in the top flight since Ray Parlour in 1992 - and completing all but one of his 26 passes.

The game also means Arsenal have lost just once in seven competitive matches and ended a two-game losing run away from home in the top flight.

Fulham will need to improve sharply if their stay back in the Premier League is going to be a long one - they failed to muster a single shot on target until a tame effort from substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic 67 minutes in.

Gabriel keeps Gunners on solid ground

Although he was barely stretched by an insipid Fulham attack, this was an encouraging debut from new signing Gabriel.

He made two tackles, three clearances and a team-high 107 successful passes and deserved a bit of luck from Willian's corner as he became the 10th Arsenal player to score on his Premier League debut.

Hector helpless

Hector struggled all day to keep Aubameyang in check and he was a little fortunate not to receive a second booking for blocking the striker's promising run, although he did manage one key block.

What's next?

Arsenal host West Ham next Saturday, while Fulham are in EFL Cup action at Ipswich Town in four days' time.

Related items

  • Celta Vigo 0-3 Barcelona: Fati on target again as Messi dazzles for 10-man Blaugrana Celta Vigo 0-3 Barcelona: Fati on target again as Messi dazzles for 10-man Blaugrana

    Lionel Messi tormented Celta Vigo and Ansu Fati scored his third goal in two LaLiga games as 10-man Barcelona secured a 3-0 victory in horrendous conditions at Balaidos.

    Fati followed up his double in a 4-0 rout of Villarreal on Sunday by scoring the opening goal on Thursday before Barca defender Clement Lenglet was harshly sent off for a second bookable offence late in the first half.

    Celta were unable to capitalise on their numerical advantage and Lucas Olaza's own goal, created by the mercurial Messi, gave Ronald Koeman's side breathing space.

    Messi also had a goal disallowed for offside when he looked to be level, but the Blaugrana were not to be denied another three points in the wind and rain and Sergi Roberto added the final flourish in stoppage time.

    Barca knocked the ball around with a swagger following their demolition of Villarreal and were in front after 11 minutes when Fati took a first-time pass from Philippe Coutinho and poked home with the outside of his right foot.

    Lenglet was cautioned for upending Gabri Veiga, who had a shot palmed away by Neto, and Barca breathed a sigh of relief when Gerard Pique's red card for a professional foul on Denis Suarez was overturned with the midfielder offside.

    Pique's fellow defender Lenglet was given his marching orders three minutes before the break, though, when Carlos del Cerro Grande harshly adjudged him to have impeded former Barca man Suarez for a second yellow.

    Koeman reacted by replacing Antoine Griezmann with Ronald Araujo, but the Blaugrana doubled their lead five minutes after the break, thanks in no small part to Messi.

    The captain darted away from two challenges and Olaza could only turn the Argentina forward's right-footed cross into his own net as the rain continued to hammer down.

    Messi looked to have added a third but was given offside when he turned in the rebound after Coutinho struck the post and Pique was unable to convert a dangerous cross from his outstanding skipper.

    Miguel Baeza saw his deflected effort strike the crossbar on a frustrating night for Celta as Barca showed great spirit and quality to make it two wins out of two in LaLiga, with Roberto putting the icing on the cake by drilling in a third right at the end.

  • Tottenham 7-2 Maccabi Haifa: Kane treble helps Spurs advance in Europa League Tottenham 7-2 Maccabi Haifa: Kane treble helps Spurs advance in Europa League

    Tottenham booked their spot in the Europa League group stages after Harry Kane's hat-trick helped them to a thumping 7-2 win over Maccabi Haifa on Thursday.  

    Playing their third game in just five days, only Toby Alderweireld and Steven Bergwijn kept their places in the starting XI from the side that beat Chelsea in the EFL Cup on Tuesday. 

    Tjaronn Chery's wonderful long-range strike cancelled out Kane's second-minute opener but a Lucas Moura header and two goals from Giovani Lo Celso effectively put the game to bed by half-time.  

    Nikita Rukavytsya and Kane exchanged goals from the penalty spot shortly after the interval before the England captain's third, plus a late Dele Alli penalty, ensured Spurs booked their place in Friday's draw. 

    Jose Mourinho's men started in blistering fashion, taking the lead after just 92 seconds when an unmarked Kane turned home Ben Davies' cross from four yards.  

    The visitors responded superbly to that early setback and grabbed a deserved equaliser after 17 minutes, Chery thundering into Joe Hart's top corner.  

    Their joy was short-lived, however, as Lucas rose highest at the near post to flick Bergwijn's corner past Josh Cohen for his second goal of the season three minutes later.  

    Lo Celso then scored twice in the space of three minutes before the break, first whipping inside Cohen's right-hand post from 12 yards and then lifting over the beleaguered goalkeeper from close range after being found by Kane.  

    Rukavytsya pulled one back for the visitors in the 52nd minute after Matt Doherty was penalised for handling inside the area, although Kane restored Spurs' advantage four minutes later after Ernest Mabouka had been adjudged to have blocked Davies' cross with his arm. 

    Kane then completed his hat-trick in the 74th minute, clipping over Cohen after wonderful work down the left from the impressive Bergwijn, before substitute Alli slotted home a stoppage-time penalty after an audacious piece of skill drew a foul from Bogdan Planic.


     
  • Liverpool 0-0 Arsenal (4-5 pens): Leno the shoot-out hero as Arteta's side reach quarters Liverpool 0-0 Arsenal (4-5 pens): Leno the shoot-out hero as Arteta's side reach quarters

    Bernd Leno saved two penalties as Arsenal progressed to the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup with a 5-4 shoot-out victory over Liverpool after a goalless draw at Anfield.

    Both sides were much changed from Arsenal's 3-1 defeat at the same venue three days earlier and a different outcome followed in what was a far quieter contest on Thursday.

    Takumi Minamino wasted the best opportunity of the game in the first half and there was no change to the scoreline after the interval.

    Arsenal beat Liverpool on penalties in August's Community Shield and they held their nerve once again here, with Leno saving efforts from Divock Origi and Harry Wilson after Mohamed Elneny had been denied by Adrian for the visitors.

    Joe Willock squeezed the winning spot-kick under Adrian to make it three victories in four for Mikel Arteta over Jurgen Klopp since his appointment at Emirates Stadium late last year.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.