After a disappointing 2-2 draw with Sporting Lisbon in midweek, Arsenal were keen to get back to winning ways in the Premier League. After a truly stupendous comeback against Bournemouth only a few days prior, Mikel Arteta’s team were ready to try and restore their five point lead at the summit of the Premier League table.
There was good news in the offing too. Not only had Leandro Trossard (who had been forced off in last week’s match with a suspected groin issue) returned to the side, there was also the welcome sight of Gabriel Jesus back among the team, having been missing since sustaining a knee injury with Brazil while at the World Cup.
Arsenal started fairly well. Fulham had did reasonably well to hold off Mikel Arteta’s side, but ultimately Arsenal were far too good for the hosts.
A line-breaking pass from Granit Xhaka released Gabriel Martinelli. The Brazilian’s shot was parried out by former-Gunner Bernd Leno, but the ball was unfortunately turned in by Antonee Robinson.
Fulham’s blushes were spared. VAR intervened and adjudged Martinelli to be offside, bringing the game back to 0-0.
Despite this, it didn’t take long for Arsenal to click into gear once more.
A wonderful corner from Leandro Trossard was expertly headed home by Gabriel Magalhães to open the scoring. Fulham were caught flat-footed, and Arsenal’s brilliance from set pieces was once again too much for the opposition to handle.
From there, it was one-way traffic.
Arsenal continued to build through Trossard and once again had their reward. A wonderful ball out from the back by William Saliba sprung an Arsenal counter-attack, with Granit Xhaka once again feeding Trossard. The Beglian clipped a wonderful ball to the back post and Martinelli was there to head the ball home to double the visitor’s advantage.
Arsenal were not done there though.
Trossard was once again the architect. His ball to the edge of the six-yard box found Martin Ødegaard, who took a touch inside before smashing an effort into the bottom left corner to round off the scoring.
Half-time felt like sweet blessed relief for Marco Silva’s side.
The second-half was not quite as easy for Arsenal.
Fulham became a bit more interested in attacking and Arsenal were not quite as adept at playing through their block. Fulham created one or two chances, but never really tested Aaron Ramsdale. The closest the hosts came was a header from a corner, which cannoned off the crossbar.
But the sight of the afternoon was in the 76th minute.
Gabriel Jesus, missing since November, returned to the Arsenal side for the first time.
Though Jesus was a little rusty, he was just as Arsenal fans remembered him. Wriggling free of tackles with ease, dropping the shoulder and buying himself some space, he even had a good chance to round off the scoring after being fed by Fábio Vieira, but his somewhat tame effort was easily gathered up by Leno.
The full-time whistle finally blew and Arsenal were home and dry.
It was inarguably one of the easiest games Arsenal have played in some time. Fulham never really looked at the races and Mikel Arteta’s men were exceptional from minute one. Things took a while to get going, but get going they did!
The standout performer on the day was Leandro Trossard. Since joining from Brighton & Hove Albion, the Belgian winger has looked fantastic in every game he has played.
With Gabriel Jesus back, he will likely find minutes a bit harder to come by through the middle. Despite this, Trossard has looked to be an able-bodied understudy and an excellent option on the wing. The revolving false-nine tactic that Arteta has employed with Trossard and Martinelli has been excellent and the former-Brighton winger has thrived.
Arsenal now have a visit of Sporting Lisbon to contend with. After that, their attentiont urns to Crystal Palace at home, a game that could see them increase their points advantage over Manchester City to eight, if results go their way.
17.) Bernd Leno
2.) Kenny Tete
4.) Tosin Adarabioyo
13.) Tim Ream ©
33.) Antonee Robinson
6.) Harrison Reed
28.) Saša Lukić
14.) Bobby De Cordova-Reid
18.) Andreas Pereira (Wilson 75’)
11.) Manor Solomon (James 75’)
9.) Aleksandar Mitrović
1.) Marek Rodák
40.) George Wickens
31.) Issa Diop
42.) Charlie Robinson
35.) Tyrese Francois
8.) Harry Wilson
38.) Luke Harris
21.) Daniel James
30.) Carlos Vinícius
1.) Aaron Ramsdale
4.) Benjamin White (Tomiyasu 79’)
12.) William Saliba
6.) Gabriel Magalhães
35.) Oleksandr Zinchenko (Tierney 71’)
5.) Thomas Partey
34.) Granit Xhaka
8.) Martin Ødegaard ©
7.) Bukayo Saka (Nelson 71’)
11.) Gabriel Martinelli (Fábio Vieira 76’)
19.) Leandro Trossard (Gabriel Jesus 76’)
30.) Matt Turner
16.) Rob Holding
18.) Takehiro Tomiyasu
3.) Kieran Tierney
21.) Fábio Vieira
10.) Emile Smith Rowe
24.) Reiss Nelson
9.) Gabriel Jesus
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