Report: Fulham 0-3 Arsenal (inc. goals)

104

Result: Fulham 0-3 Arsenal
Competition: Premier League
Date: 12 September 2020
Venue: Craven Cottage

Starting lineup: Leno, Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Xhaka, Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang

Subs: Macey, Kolasinac, Ceballos, Willock, Saka, Pepe, Nketiah


Arsenal started the 2020/21 campaign with an impressive 3-0 win against newly-promoted Fulham at Craven Cottage. 

Alex Lacazette’s scrappy early opener set the tone for a dominant performance that included a debut goal for new defender Gabriel Magalhaes and trademark curler by captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Pre-game

Leno was given the nod in goal with Emi Martinez set to leave the club. In defence, we went with a three-man backline that included debutant Gabriel Magalhaes, Holding and Tierney. Bellerin and Maitland-Niles provided the width. Elneny’s inclusion, at the expense of Ceballos, was a bit of a surprise. He partnered Xhaka. Willian and Aubameyang sat either side of Lacazette in attack. With the game returning to three subs, there was no room on the bench for Saliba, Torreira, Ozil and Guendouzi. Pepe and young trio Willock, Saka and Nketiah did provide attacking options. 

First half

After a limited pre-season for both sides, it was hardly a surprise that the opening 45 minutes was played at a leisurely pace. The Gunners, playing in the new blue third strip, even looked a little nervy. 

A mix-up between Leno and Gabriel, who decided to leave a dribbling Maitland-Niles back pass when he probably should have tidied it up, allowed Fulham’s Kamara to pounce in the box. Our keeper had to get down low to clear the danger. An exchange of words was had, although in what language is anybody’s guess. 

The Brazilian went on to concede a cheap free-kick charging into the back of another Fulham player but he soon settled down and actually had a very solid half. 

Our first meaningful attack saw us bundle home a first goal of the new season. Elneny lofted a ball over the defence to Aubameyang who teed up Xhaka to shoot. The Swiss’ bouncing effort was blocked into the path of Willian, his follow-up was saved and Lacazette pounced at the back pos. (1-0)

There was an interesting fluidity to our formation. On paper, we set up with a three-man backline with Maitland-Niles providing width on the left. However, almost every time we moved the ball out of defence, the newly capped England international would dart into midfield. That pretty much left us playing a pair of centre-backs with Tierney covering the whole left flank. As soon as Fulham won the ball back, Tierney tucked inside and Maitland-Niles dropped into defence again. Bellerin was doing something similar on the right but it was less pronounced. 

Overloading midfield allowed us to dominate possession and we created a few more decent chances. An Elneny and Lacazette interchange freed the Egyptian to shoot but his effort was blocked. Willian hit the post with a free-kick after Lacazette was fouled on the edge of the box and Aubameyang tried his luck at the near post after pulling down a long-range Tierney pass with delightful control. 

Second half

The Gunners were quick out of the traps, Holding showing some remarkable skill to keepy-uppy his way through three Fulham defenders on the edge of their box. A lovely little pass freed Lacazette who subsequently won a corner that Willian took. New boy Gabriel found enough space in a crowded box to shoulder in from six-ards out. He was mobbed by his teammates. (2-0)

Kamara flashed a shot wide in a reminder not to led out guard down, before we produced a stunning goal working the ball from back to front. The final stages saw Willian ping a superb cross field pass to Aubameyang – a replica of the Saka assist in the Community Shield – and our captain did the rest. He took one, two, three touches and then curled into the top corner. (3-0)

Mitrovic, who has the look of a man who can’t wait to retire so he can spend his days eating cake and kebabs, came off the bench and tested Leno. 

We flirted with a fourth on a number of occasions. On 72 minutes, Tierney freed Auba who in turn crossed for Lacazette whose effort was brilliantly blocked by the keeper. Five minutes later, after another flowing move that started with Leno, Aubameyang had an effort cleared off the line after a through pass by Bellerin. Pepe, on as a sub, also had a dangerous cross cleared. 

All in all, a very promising way to start the new season. There are sterner tests ahead but off the back of limited preparation, the boys look focused. 

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C.B.

COYR! Good start but tougher challenges ahead. Clean sheet and top of the league!

Wubbalubbadubdub

You can virtually see the hunger that Arteta has infused in this team. Solid performance from everybody on the field.

themadparson

Yup. There was a moment in the first half after we had scored the first goal where we were battering them in their box and the camera cut to Arteta–and he was still demanding even more from the players. Love it.

SB Still

Top of the league!

Mcgunner

I wonder which spurs fan came in to down vote this comment. Go back to your hole trolls

C.B.

Maybe an Arsenal fan with Parkinson’s.

GunneRon

Promising start indeed. Points to note 1. Maitland Niles’ movement, just like against Liverpool last week, allowing Auba to execute a Piresque finish. 2. Set-piece specialist Andreas Georgson already working his magic with Gabriel’s goal. 3. Gabriel looks like a top, top talent. While Holding might still have a future with us. 4. Elneny as always solid and dependable, might be a surprise squad player this season. 5. Arteta has transformed this team into a well drilled, organised side. Early days I know, but we will be hard to beat this season. 6. Willian already looks like a good bargain.… Read more »

Reality check

Also good to see AMN has worked on his weaker foot. Controlled quite a few with his left today.

Paul Roberts

He smashed in a great left foot cross too.

Wubbalubbadubdub

We’ve got (back) that lovin’ feelin’. Whoa that lovin’ feelin’.

Anonymarse

Winning feeling?

goongot

And thats why many fans like me were happy that we bought willian inspite of his age. He is easily the top 30 player and brings in much needed drive into midfield from wide postion.

Wubbalubbadubdub

Pepe will need to work his arse off if he is going to fight Willian for a starting position. Nearly scored from that freekick and bagged an assist and that work rate is phenomenal.

Adrian

Actually two (if not three)

Wubbalubbadubdub

Oh damn, I forgot about the Auba goal and the scuffle leading to Laca’s goal. So that’s 2 assists and 2 near misses.

GUN

Corner taker in Gabriel’s goal. So it’s 3 assists.

Anonymarse

It looks like he will enjoy playing with our strikers

Steve Morrow’s fractured ulnar

Outstanding performances all over the pitch today. Love it.

Thought at times it was clear just how much we need some creativity in the middle to grease those lightening transitions.

Last piece of the puzzle for this year. C’mon Edu!

Joseph Oiseoghaede

Nice one lads

Karl

Gabriel is a monster signing. We haven’t see that kind of presence in the backline for years.

Cklcrio

Think he won almost every aerial duel, couldn’t believe my eyes that an Arsenal centreback was doing that. He looks set to be the mainstay to come

Scott P

Not to dispute excitement or compare the players at all, but whatever else about him Mustafi usually wins his aerial duels!! Gabriel definitely looks promising though.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Saliba slowly adding to that.
Sabriel will be shutting out defences for years to come

Just shut the fucking shop for a decade, bring or Sabriel

Darkloom

I think I prefer Gabraliba

Dan Nichols

im quite happy with Ho-briel til Saliba is ready.

Jack

If Ceballos is playing like that I can’t see him staying out of the starting 11 for too long. Him and Pepe when they came on both were playing like they had something to prove

Good Omens

I agree. I was really impressed by Ceballos when he came on. He looked every inch the player ready and able to deliver.

eternalflamini

Having three impact substitutes to bring on is a novel experience! Love it!!!

Steve Morrow’s fractured ulnar

Good shout. The bench would shit up most opposing teams.

I was ready to wave Elneny off but looks to be a good squad player on that performance.

In a season as hectic as this maybe he could do a really important job for us.

Maniac

Clean sheet and a win away from home. Gabriel goal and Willian two assists on their debuts. Perfect start to the season!

Wilshere's Middle Finger

Auba and Laca both off the mark too. The cherry on top.

shokim

So stoked Gabriel scored on his debut! Willian with his assists. Well played.

Naked Cygan

Great away win, cleansheet, great start for William and Gabriel. Some of the passing way rusty but it will get better soon.

David C

First place in the league baby!!!!

Willian and Gabriel looked great as well. Didn’t even need Pepe or Saka, wow we have great depth right now.

Artitty

This formation started off a bit off a hodgepodge, but as the game grew you can kinda see what Arteta’s going for. Impressive start, and I hope we kick on to greater things. COYG!

mrugunner

could we play fulham every week?

Anonymarse

I don’t think they’d be keen on that idea

mrugunner

finally a former chelsea player who has a great debut

Cliff Bastin

Haha

Biggles

Very true – put it in the diary.

Artitty

Bellerin was class.

David Hilliers Arm Cast

Was he? I thought he was our weakest player, which is hard to say because everyone played very well.

Artitty

Picked the right pass over and over, particularly to release the wingers and his ball to Auba should have been our 4th goal. Solid defensively too

Unnecessarilystupid

That would be holding today.

Unnecessarilystupid

Unpopular opinion! Would love to know who people thought our poorest performer was today in that case?

Artitty

Weren’t any poor performances IMO, Leno didn’t have much to do and AMN had a quiet game, but everyone put a good shift in I’d say

Unnecessarilystupid

That’s fair, poor was the wrong word.

A Different George

Yes, I remember thinking that Maitland-Niles wasn’t nearly as impressive as in the Cup final or the Community Shield. Then I realized, that’s because there was a lot less for him to do.

Scott P

Yeah, AMN had a rough start and misplaced some passes. But he grew into the game and improved along with the rest of the team.

Vino

I guess opposition crosses from amn’s side needed to be blocked. He kind of allows them to cross

David Hilliers Arm Cast

I thought he did very well. Everyone played well, love that it’s a struggle to come to the conclusion of who had the weakest game.

Public Elneny

Yeah absolutely, looked so much more comfortable on the ball than he has in a long time. 1st touch, passing, close control tight areas all great. Supported the attack well and delivered a couple of dangerous balls. Not really tested defensively, but that’s not his weak area these days If anything, I thought AMN was our weakest player. Some sloppy passing, and looked a bit casual like the old days. I’d rather see Saka or Tierney at LWB against bottom half teams. AMN generally competes well and bolsters midfield from LWB when they would otherwise be overrun i.e vs Man… Read more »

Biggles

A solid performance. Third goal was really good, first goal was good and the middle goal was – if we’re honest – a Fulham “freebie” (but still welcome, nevertheless). Given there were several absentees, Arteta is getting a lot more (early, early days of course) from the squad which is encouraging. The “old” Arsenal – albeit less than a year ago – would probably have conceded an equaliser in the second half and struggled to hold on to a point. This was different.

Comedian

That was easy and comfortable. Maybe for the first time in years never had this butterfly of worries in my stomach about the opening game, guess that is the confidence Arteta has injected in me with his management. Great start

Yellow Ribbon

Woohoo! What a start to the season. Both our signings looked fantastic. Gabriel looks like a beast and played like a beast. Somehow he kept reminding me of Kompany. Maybe that is because of his physical appearance.

And what a goal from Auba. Sign de ting please!

Spencer

Woohoo! We love you arsenal we do! Arsenal we love you!

Comedian

Also 10/10 for Rob Holdings unicycle juggling tricks.

I wish I could have seen that. The BT Sports Stream cut out during some key moments for me. Completely missed two goals

A Different George

Did you notice how his teammates (and Holding himself) reacted to that? I’m sure there were lots of “Hey, Lionel Holding” type comments.

Gunner J

Can we just have the laegue canceled and declare the team top of the league as champions.

Biggles

They think it’s all over – and it is (we just haven’t told the other PL clubs!).

Sank

We are going to win the league

Auba – where smile is equal to laugh.
Pls sign fast

Trigg27

Great time to play a newly promoted side. I feel the lack of am enthusiastic crowd hurt Fulham. They’ll get stronger as the season progresses andcause a lot of teams problems.

Hard to pick a man of the match for Arsenal today, it was a real team effort.Gabriel just about gets the nod, for an assured defensive performance and a very welcome debut goal

Biggles

Gabriel did have the odd shaky moment, but played well. That said, he won’t score an easier goal if he plays every game over the season. Don’t get me wrong, any/all goals are gratefully received – perhaps his next will come off the keeper’s backside for variety.

Paul Roberts

Having put Willian in my FPL side and my mates didn’t I make him my motm 🙂

Dave cee

Horrible looking Fulham team but IDGAF! Great way to get started.
Good to see Mo play another good game. Shame Emi is apparently on his way. Surprising no Saliba or Soares in the squad, and Pepe on the bench. And no Reiss. I liked that 9 on the bench rule
Good win. More of the same pls 🙂

loose_cannon

Great performance, hope Willian silenced some of the haters as well!

Biggles

He certainly played very well. I don’t really agree with your reference to “haters” though. Many fans were/are still concerned that we are paying a player over 30 years old up to £10 million a season, particularly when money is so tight. That’s not “hating”, that’s just natural financial caution. Now, if he carries on for the rest of the season at around the level of performance shown today then it’s money (very) well spent indeed. However, after one whole game nobody knows what will happen. I really hope he’ll be a success, and I think he will be, but… Read more »

Niran

I hope Arteta keeps Willian on that right side for our next matches and let him show Pepe and Nelson how it’s done…sometimes all you need is look up, find someone in a better position, and switch the play…Pepe rarely does that, most times he is trying to beat his man…What a performance from Willian…Fantastic!

BillyKrystal

It is nice to have different styles of players for the right side. And that floated diagonal ball for Auba’s goal was sublime, but Pepe look extremely dangerous too after coming on. If he’d had another half hour I bet he would’ve gotten an assist or goal.

Matthinc

They’re different players. Pepe made some great runs and got found by Bellerin a couple of times allowing him in behind. Willian was brilliant though, and rightfully started. Hopefully Pepe will really have to be at his best and learning in order to challenge him.

Futsboller

I’d have to disagree with the initial categorization of us playing with a back three — we played a classic back four for most of the game (until 2-nil, when we switched to a back three), and as a result, AMN was a bit lost in the first half on the left side of a midfield three. There were plenty of moments when Auba was back to defend and AMN wasn’t even in the picture (not knocking AMN, just pointing out that he was given a more advanced role with less defensive duty today). This looked to me like Arteta’s… Read more »

BillyKrystal

Not sure what you’re talking about. It was indeed a back 3. Of course in possession it’ll always morph in a 4-3-3 somewhat, but most of the game Tierney was sitting very deep on the left, he was the left sided CB in the back 3.

Futsboller

Of course, Arteta’s formation is constantly changing on the pitch as we want to play an adaptive, free-flowing football, but unlike previous matches this looked like a back four to me (until Gabriel scored), with Tierney and Bellerin occupying parallel full-back positions. Yes, Tierney was often very deep because he’s an excellent defender and covers a lot of ground, but in previous matches when AMN is a wingback (parallel to Bellerin) he is tasked with tracking back quickly and occupying a position in what is ultimately a back five — but not today. We looked different today.

Matthinc

Didn’t it depend on the whether we were in possession or not?

Mayor of Woolwich

We are the Arsenal!
We are top of the league!

Come on You Rip-roaring Gunners!!!

Snagger

Passion ,aggression no backing down and that was just the subs warming up. The mindset was there to see. I hope this result doesn’t put Scot Parker in a bad mood at the wedding he must be going to later.

Matthinc

I thought Ceballos looked like he was being a dick/reacted strongly, but maybe this sort of thing is par for the course. Eddie looked pretty pissed off in the stands. Hope it doesn’t impact him and it was just a one-off little incident not symptomatic of anything.

Fatgooner

Good solid start to the season. Yeah,we won 3-0 but the best thing about this game for me was the way we defended. We’ve carried on that defensive cup form from last season and looked very strong at the back. OK, Fulham were pretty toothless, but we never gave them anything. In the Wemery days we would have conceded a stupid goal at 1-0 up and then struggled to get the win. After our second goal today it was all over. You get results by defending well. Gabriel looked great back there. Great goal by Auba, and a good debut… Read more »

YaGunnersYa

And it’s always a pleasure to have you smiling again, Fats 🙂

Adrian

Great game all around but William was really good. I don’t know why many fans were against his signing. I know it was just one game but this guy is PL proven and it is not like Chelsea did not want to keep him. We should support our players no matter what. If Arteta trust him then do I

Fawol

The issue about Willian is that I don’t like Chelsea and never will but when we eventually got him had no choice other than like him.
Now with this performance I love him.
COYG!

Bobbyp

“Mitrovic, who has the look of a man who can’t wait to retire, so he can spend his days eating cake and kebabs” That really tickled me.

Excellent result. Willian did well a did the other new boy Gabriel.

Jeremy

Do you think he’s friends with Grant Holt?

RuminatingGoons

Nah. They always fight over that piece of cake every tim e.

NYGUNNER

GabiGol!

Sayan Santra

Started the season with a Bang ??

Guns Up

That felt like watching the Arsenal of old – dominant. Scored on a corner, hit a post from a free kick, and Fulham posed zero threat from set pieces. Has the new set piece coach already earned his salary for the season, ha ha??

K9ine

No Elneny appreciation post. Glad to see u getting the recognition your game deserves. Not flamboyant but quietly effective

Jordan Tan

The biggest difference between this this season and lasts is… now we actually know what we are doing. Good riddance, Emery. Welcome, Arteta! In some weird way, it feels like he’s Arsene Wenger 2.0, a younger, more contemporary version with the same beautifully pragmatic philosophy. ?

Gunnerlocutor

So we are on pace for 114 points this season, and Willian to get 114 assists. Just sayin’. COYG!

ThreadRipper

For years, when the season starts I have the same dream – finishing with 114 points and an unprecedented quadruple. This time I checked with my 4 year old just to be sure. He agrees with it too.. says we win everything.! You have nothing to worry.

Gunnerlocutor

Good for your little one. I was saying that tongue in cheek (which I hoped would be obvious). We are also “on pace” for 114 goals… 🙂

GloucesterGooner

Get in, Elneny looked great, Ceballos slots straight back in. Great 3 points

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

This is a completely different team from 10 months ago. Arteta is doing an amazing job. Everybody is talking about Arsenal going for top 5-6 but I honestly believe Mikel will have them good enough for top 4 or better.

Richard

Wenger’s teams consistently beat the smaller teams and in his later years lost points/games against the bigger teams equally as consistently. Arteta has been doing well against the bigger teams, so if we can get our shit together against the league’s lower sides, we could easily be challenging for the title. If we can strengthen the team further, it should be inevitable within the next two years, but I have high hopes for our manager.

Matthinc

Gabriel was really good on the ball and you’d never know he was on debut, Auba is the best striker in the prem, somehow I forgot how good Willian is but it was a pleasure to see him racking up the assists. And Laca is off the mark so hopefully his confidence will grow putting last season’s barren patch behind him! The future is Red! I am excited.

Quentin Quarantino

Looks like the angel Gabriel has landed at the Emirates…. this boy looks like a real baller !!

Vivooty

I think Willian was the best performer today though everyone played well.Kept posession, created chanced and helped out in defence as well.Laca also had a brilliant game…

John

Rob Holding: the Staleybridge Pele.

Tanned arse

Football made to look easy!

Paul Roberts

Recent history of beating the tops teams, now we beat the bottom teams as well. Job done Mikel! COYG!! 🙂

shmokin'em

Blogs are you drunk? No proof reading?