Arsenal Cruise past Fulham in the Premier League opener
Debutants Gabriel and Willian impressed as Arsenal cruised past promoted Fulham in the opening game of the Premier League season hit by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Former Chelsea winger Willian had a hand in all three goals and his compatriot Gabriel – a £23m signing from Lille – headed home in his first game in English football in an entertaining match at Craven Cottage, London.
Willian's Arsenal debut by numbers:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 12, 2020
96% pass accuracy
7 final ⅓ entries
5 penalty area entries
5 ball recoveries
3 chances created
2 fouls won
The perfect start. pic.twitter.com/39g08emHbf
Arsenal who started the game as favourites were impressive in all the departments while Fulham who qualified for the top flight after finishing the championship as runners up had too many problems at the back to ruin their first home game of the new campaign.
French striker Alexandre Lacazette scored the opener from close range after Willian’s effort was saved in goalmouth scramble.
Centre-back Gabriel then scored from Willian’s corner with his shoulder to increase the Gunners lead. Willian, who also hit a post from a free-kick earlier, picked out Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng with a perfect cross-field ball and the captain curled home Arsenal’s third in a sublime Arsenal team move.
Gabriel in the first half of this game:— ArsenalReport (@ArsenalReport_) September 12, 2020
Most touches (71)
Most passes (66)
Most forward passes (14)
Most duels won (4)
Most clearances (2)#ARSFUL #PremierLeague pic.twitter.com/gkVeAdWsWN
Fulham created few chances, with last season’s top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic coming on with only 27 minutes to go and forcing Bernd Leno into a save.
The match was a perfect start for the FA cup winners who are hoping for a revival under the their captain turned manager Mikel Arterta who took over the affairs after Unai Emery was sacked after 18 months of charge. Arteta led the North London side to win the FA Cup and Community Shield – against Chelsea and Liverpool respectively – at either end of August. Still a work in progress Arsenal are in good shape to challenge for a top four finish this season.