Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta this afternoon spoke out regarding a pair of his central defenders, on the back of the club’s comfortable victory over Fulham.
Laca & Auba on target
The Gunners and Cottagers got the new Premier League campaign underway at Craven Cottage a short time ago.
It was the visitors who inevitably entered proceedings as favourites to emerge with all 3 points, with Arsenal having headed into the clash on the back of securing a pair of trophies just last month.
And, when all was said and done in the English capital, the fine form of Arteta’s men continued.
A superb display eventually saw Arsenal cruise to a 3-0 win, to get their 2020/21 season off to the perfect start.
Alexandre Lacazette opened the scoring, slotting into an empty net following a scramble in the Fulham box.
Lacazette is the only player to score the first goal of the Premier League season twice ✨ pic.twitter.com/6jzTDX0Xcc
— B/R Football (@brfootball) September 12, 2020
Debutant Gabriel Magalhaes then went on to double the Gunners’ lead shortly after the interval, rising highest to nod home fellow summer arrival Willian’s corner.
And the latter of this pair played a key role in the day’s final goal, too, lofting a perfectly weighted cross-field ball to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, with the Gabonese hitman having made no mistake with a trademark side-footed finish.
Highlights: Fulham 0-3 Arsenal
‘Credit to him’
Evidently, based on the final score at Craven Cottage, there were a number of positives to take away from the 90 minutes from an Arsenal perspective.
Willian looked superb on his maiden outing for the club, Lacazette was back amongst the goals, and Mohamed Elneny appears set to add some much-needed depth to the north Londoners’ midfield over the course of the gruelling campaign ahead.
Perhaps most significant of all, though, was Arsenal’s defensive solidity.
A somewhat makeshift central-defensive trio of Rob Holding, Gabriel Magalhaes and Kieran Tierney were opted for by Mikel Arteta this afternoon, with all 3 having gone on to impress.
Granted, Fulham didn’t exactly put them under a great deal of pressure, but, unlike in seasons gone by, none of the Gunners’ backline looked as though they could be set for a costly mistake at any moment.
Debutant Gabriel proved particularly impressive, with the Brazilian, goal aside, having looked equally assured both in and out of possession.
As such, speaking during his post-match interview, Mikel Arteta was inevitably drawn on Gabriel’s display.
And the Arsenal boss was full of praise for the 22-year-old, highlighting the fact that his last competitive outing came a full 6 months ago:
‘It was a big challenge for him today to come in. He hadn’t played any football in the last six months and he had a terrific performance. Credit to him, he performed well, physically he felt really good and he was very happy to play.’
“Gabriel did really well, he hadn’t played for six months!”
“Mo Elneny was brilliant today again.”
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) September 12, 2020
Post-match, Arteta also took the time to speak out over another of his centre-halves, in the form of Rob Holding.
24-year-old Holding had been widely expected to join Newcastle on loan this summer, with the likes of Gabriel, William Saliba, David Luiz and Pablo Mari to compete with for a starting berth at the Emirates.
A series of untimely injuries, however, saw Holding handed the chance to impress this afternoon, with Arteta having since confirmed that he no longer has any intention of allowing the former Bolton man to depart:
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) September 12, 2020
This article was edited by Josh Barker.
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|2||Aston Villa FC||0||0||0|
|3||Brighton & Hove Albion FC||0||0||0|
|6||Crystal Palace FC||0||0||0|
|9||Leicester City FC||0||0||0|
|11||Manchester City FC||0||0||0|
|12||Manchester United FC||0||0||0|
|13||Newcastle United FC||0||0||0|
|14||Sheffield United FC||0||0||0|
|16||Tottenham Hotspur FC||0||0||0|
|17||West Bromwich Albion||0||0||0|
|18||West Ham United FC||0||0||0|
|19||Wolverhampton Wanderers FC||0||0||0|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||3|
|Hendrick, Jeff||Newcastle United FC||1|
|Wilson, Callum||Newcastle United FC||1|
|Zaha, Wilfried||Crystal Palace FC||1|
|Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick||Arsenal FC||1|
|Lacazette, Alexandre||Arsenal FC||1|
|Klich, Mateusz||Leeds United||1|
|van Dijk, Virgil||Liverpool FC||1|
|Magalhaes, Gabriel||Arsenal FC||1|
|Harrison, Jack||Leeds United||1|
|Bamford, Patrick||Leeds United||1|
|Player||Team||Red Cards||Yellow Cards|
|Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick||Arsenal FC||0||1|
|Walker-Peters, Kyle||Southampton FC||0||1|
|McCarthy, James||Crystal Palace FC||0||1|
|Yarmolenko, Andriy||West Ham United FC||0||1|
|Cairney, Tom||Fulham FC||0||1|
|Fredericks, Ryan||West Ham United FC||0||1|
|Firmino, Roberto||Liverpool FC||0||1|
|Hector, Michael||Fulham FC||0||1|
|Schlupp, Jeffrey||Crystal Palace FC||0||1|
|Bellerin, Hector||Arsenal FC||0||1|
|Hayden, Isaac||Newcastle United FC||0||1|
|Manquillo, Javi||Newcastle United FC||0||1|
|Hendrick, Jeff||Newcastle United FC||1|
|Townsend, Andros||Crystal Palace FC||1|
|Costa, Helder||Leeds United||1|
|Phillips, Kalvin||Leeds United||1|
|Almiron, Miguel||Newcastle United FC||1|
|Robertson, Andrew||Liverpool FC||1|