Arsenal’s new boys shine as Gunners outclass Fulham in season opener


Arsenal vs Fulham

The 2020/21 Premier League season kicked off a short time ago.

The opening fixture of the season pitted an in-form Arsenal side against newly-promoted Fulham at the Emirates.

The Gunners will have no doubt headed into this tie brimming with confidence.

The arrival of Mikel Arteta to the dugout has seen the north Londoners transformed in recent months, with two pieces of silverware already secured on the Spaniard’s watch.

Arsenal will still have likely been anticipating a tough tie on Saturday, with Fulham no doubt eager to kick-off their Premier League return with a bang.

But when all was said and done in the day’s early kick-off, it would be the Premier League veterans who came away with all three points.

Arsenal dominate

Fulham had the first half-chance of the day inside two minutes after some miss-communication between Gabriel and Bernd Leno, but the German was able to clear up the mistake.

Leno was called into action minutes later when Odoi burst forward and fired an effort straight at the Arsenal no.1.

Arsenal then had their first chance of the game moments later, though, when a loose ball in the box fell to Alexandre Lacazette who had no problems slotting into an empty net.

Fulham’s keeper also probably should have done better with the original effort from Willian:

Said goal seemed to take the sting out of Fulham somewhat, with the newly-promoted outfit dropping much deeper.

Mohamed Elneny then came close to doubling the Gunners’ lead just after the 20-minute mark owing to some lovely build-up play, but the African’s effort was blocked.

Willian, who was involved in the opener, then nearly etched his name onto the scoresheet with a close-range freekick, which clattered off the post.

This was followed by a decent save from Rodak to deny Arsenal’s top-scorer last term, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

As for Scott Parker’s side, Odoi was perhaps their biggest threat in the first 45. The right-back caused the north Londoners a few issues in the final third with his crosses and penetrating runs.

However, most of those crosses didn’t connect with anyone, an issue Fulham may not have had if Aleksandar Mitrovic was in the XI from the off.

The first-half would draw to a close with Arsenal boasting a deserved 1-0 lead.

Gabriel & Willian impress

The second 45 began with Arsenal once again dominating proceedings and the north Londoners would quickly be rewarded for their early pressure.

Willian floated a lovely cross into the Fulham box from a corner. Gabriel then rose highest to direct his header past Fulham’s keeper to double Arsenal’s lead.

Willian was once again the provider less than 10 minutes later – this time playing a sublime cross-field pass to Aubameyang who cut inside on his right and curled a sumptuous effort past Rodak.

Arsenal came close to a fourth of the day 71 minutes in but Lacazette put his effort straight at the keeper.

Hector’s goal-line clearance then denied Aubameyang his second with 13 minutes of normal time remaining.

Proceedings eventually drew to a close with Arsenal’s 3-0 lead intact.

The Gunners completely dominated the tie, with Fulham’s lack of attacking threat a real issue on the day and one they will need to address if they wish to survive in the top-flight.

As for Arsenal there were, of course, a number of positives for Arteta and co. to take away from Saturday’s drubbing of Fulham – including Arsenal’s ability to play out from the back.

Perhaps one of the biggest positives, though, was just how well Arsenal’s new signings did.

Gabriel, obviously, made his debut for Arsenal vs the Cottagers after his move from Lille last month.

And despite not being used to lining out in a back-three and having zero Premier League experience, the Brazilian had a superb debut.

The towering centre-half, of course, grabbed a goal during his first outing. But it was his passing, marking, tackling, vision and composure at Craven Cottage which suggests the 22-year-old will go on to have a superb stint at the Emirates.

Gabriel was not the only Arsenal debutant to impress on Saturday, however, with former Chelsea standout Willian stealing the show.

The winger caused Fulham countless problems throughout the 90 minutes, having a hand in all three goals on Saturday.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Arsenal FC 0 0 0
2 Aston Villa FC 0 0 0
3 Brighton & Hove Albion FC 0 0 0
4 Burnley FC 0 0 0
5 Chelsea FC 0 0 0
6 Crystal Palace FC 0 0 0
7 Everton FC 0 0 0
8 Fulham FC 0 0 0
9 Leeds United 0 0 0
10 Leicester City FC 0 0 0
11 Liverpool FC 0 0 0
12 Manchester City FC 0 0 0
13 Manchester United FC 0 0 0
14 Newcastle United FC 0 0 0
15 Sheffield United FC 0 0 0
16 Southampton FC 0 0 0
17 Tottenham Hotspur FC 0 0 0
18 West Bromwich Albion 0 0 0
19 West Ham United FC 0 0 0
20 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 0 0 0
Player Team Goals
Magalhaes, Gabriel Arsenal FC 1
Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick Arsenal FC 1
Lacazette, Alexandre Arsenal FC 1