Arsenal: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Sagna, Mertesacker (c), Gibbs, Ramsey, Rosicky, Cazorla, Podolski, Walcott, Giroud
Subs: Fabianski, Monreal, Frimpong, Zelalem, Wilshere, Gnabry, Sanogo
Arsenal got their first Premier League points of the new season with a 3-1 win over Fulham this afternoon.
Arsene Wenger rested Jack Wilshere, not risking him to play 3 games in a week, with Lukas Podolski coming in and a place on the bench for 16 year old Gedion Zelalem.
The game got off to a cagey start in very wet conditions, and the home side had the first real attempt on goal with a John Arne Riise free kick, but the mallet headed Norwegian drilled it well wide.
At the other end Theo Walcott tested the keeper after some good play by Arsenal. It started with Jenkinson down the right hand side, he played it into Rosicky, who flicked it to Walcott and with the goal at his mercy the keeper saved his shot.
The Gunners then forced a series of corners. Giroud had a header which was cleared away by a stooping header before Cazorla saw a powerful shot deflect wide.
And in the 14th minute Arsenal were ahead. The ball came to Aaron Ramsey about 25 yards out, he took a shot which looked like it was going to drag wide. It hit Giroud, fell into his feet and he clipped it past the keeper to make it 1-0.
Fulham almost equalised a minute later when Wojciech Szczesny was forced into a smart double save. Taraabt took a shot which Szczesny parried out, it fell to Damien Duff who got his shot on target but the big Pole reacted quickly to save with his legs.
Good hold up play from Giroud creating a shooting opportunity for Cazorla, but it was drilled straight at the keeper. Szczesny was called into action again, claiming a deflected free kick as the home side sought to get equal, and had further efforts on goal by Taraabt and Parker, neither of which troubled the Arsenal keeper.
Fulham pressed and were through on goal with Riise but Mertesacker cleared and set up an Arsenal break from which they almost scored. Arsenal got free down the right with Walcott, he took the ball across goal, his pass to Gibbs, who was in loads of space, was a bit poor. The ball didn’t quite get out from under his feet and he dragged a shot wide.
But the goal they wanted came soon after. Arsenal moved it well in midfield, Cazorla fed Walcott whose shot was parried away by the keeper. Lukas Podolski was first to react and his powerful side-footed finish doubled the lead. 2-0.
It could have been 3-0 just before half-time. A quick Arsenal break saw Walcott feed Podolski, he was on his left foot, from a bit of an angle but instead of shooting he played it to the back post to give someone a tap in but there was nobody there.
The second half began with Szczesny making a good save from another Taraabt shot, this one creeping in at the near post. But it was Arsenal who bossed the game, playing beautiful, confident passing football.
Theo Walcott found himself on the end of a Gibbs cross but couldn’t get it on target, instead heading it backwards where it fell to Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman hammered a shot on goal which deflected just wide.
Fulham brought on Bent and Kacaniklic for Duff and Taraabt as the hosts look to get back into the game, and they did put the Gunners under some pressure and had a bit more of the ball.
However, it was the Gunners who went further ahead when they snuffed out a Fulham attack and played it upfield. Giroud’s touch was sublime, the ball came to Cazorla in the their box, he played it back to Podolski and the German arrowed a low shot into the bottom corner. 3-0.
Arsene Wenger then made changes, bringing on Wilshere and Monreal for Giroud and Rosicky, but the home side got one back after careless play in midfield from Gibbs gave the ball back to Fulham. Berbatov pulled the ball back, Szczesny got a touch and the ball squirmed to the back post, leaving Darren Bent with a tap-in. 3-1.
Podolski was then replaced by Yaya Sanogo who was making his full Arsenal debut. Theo Walcott could have scored a 4th in injury time after being set up, but Stockdale saved well.
The Gunners saw the game out to take the three points and set themselves up well for next weekend’s North London derby.11,330 views