Lukas Podolski grabbed a goal in each half as Arsenal secured a slick and clinical victory over Fulham in the teeming rain at Craven Cottage.

The Gunners, buoyed by a 3-0 midweek win over Fenerbahce in Champions League qualifying, were sharper early on and led through Olivier Giroud's strike.

Gunners hold sway

Fulham have won just three of their 25 Premier League matches against Arsenal, with all three of those victories coming at Craven Cottage.

Podolski made it 2-0 with a measured 18-yard shot and then smashed home the visitors' third after the break.

Substitute Darren Bent pulled one back from close range but Arsenal held on.

Bent's debut strike, after great work by Dimitar Berbatov, gave Fulham hope in the final 13 minutes but Arsenal were full value for a much-needed win which will go some way to erasing the painful memory of last week's home humbling against Aston Villa.

Optimism was in short supply following that demoralising setback, but the impressive triumph against Fenerbahce in Istanbul had raised hopes and the inability to bring in new faces despite numerous high-profile transfer attempts was quickly forgotten.

Confident Arsenal please Wenger

Eight summer signings for Fulham - including debutant Scott Parker - as well as a battling 1-0 win over Sunderland meant new owner Shahid Khan's pre-match on-pitch appearance was greeted with a real sense of positivity by fans.

A solid midfield base of Parker and Steve Sidwell and the creative talents of Berbatov and Adel Taarabt saw the hosts look to play more expansively but their tactics seemed to play completely into Arsenal's hands and enabled the Gunners to play on the break.

Theo Walcott forced a fine save from the on-rushing David Stockdale after a superb flick over the top from Tomas Rosicky while Giroud had a goalbound header cleared by John Arne Riise.

The pressure told when Giroud cleverly flicked the ball past Stockdale with the outside of his left foot for his third goal in three games, making the most of a very fortunate ricochet from Aaron Ramsey's mis-hit shot.

Analysis

It was a fine Arsenal performance. They played some lovely passing football, played at their own pace and although Fulham had their moments, Arsenal - with Aaron Ramsey outstanding - were good value for the win.

Berbatov and particularly Taarabt both looked dangerous for the home side as they started to get back into the match. The latter went close with a cross-shot that Wojciech Szczesny kept out and the keeper made a fine stop to deny Damien Duff on the follow-up.

But Arsenal - with Jack Wilshere only a substitute - were controlling much of the midfield battle through Ramsey, and still looked the more threatening.

And after an encouraging 10 minutes for the hosts, Arsenal made it two four minutes before the interval when Podolski brilliantly steered the ball home at pace from 18 yards after Stockdale had done well to keep out Walcott's initial effort.

Podolski should have added a third in the final seconds of the first period, but was caught in two minds and the ball rolled harmlessly across goal.

Bent troubles Gunners again

England international striker Darren Bent has now scored seven goals in his last nine Premier League games against Arsenal.

The Cottagers, who have now lost their last five Premier League home matches, almost pulled a goal back immediately after the restart but Szczesny did well to keep out Taarabt's low strike.

Fulham started to dominate possession but Arsenal always looked likely to exploit the gaps in defence as the home side attacked, and they added a third when a wonderful piece of control by Giroud in the centre of the pitch led to Podolski firing a low cross-shot into the far corner.

The hosts persisted though and at least had something to cheer when England international Bent turned the ball in from a couple of yards out after a superb piece of control and instant shot from Berbatov.

Fulham manager Martin Jol:

New players need time to gel - Jol

"They are a good footballing team and to get a goal like the first one was a bit lucky, but they will give you a few problems.

"We kept going in the second half and if we had scored early, we could have done something about it.

"We lacked a cutting edge up front. But they have the pace up front to punish you, which they did.

"But the mentality was good. Bent scored and did well, Parker did well and Taarabt did well. But maybe we need a few days to gel."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger:

"We were impressive and always in control. We deserved the win and it's a good win. We had a convincing win against Fenerbahce and that was a good response to the disappointing first result [against Aston Villa].

"We played the way we wanted to play, we were in control and the team enjoyed it. We created chances.

"The positive result [in Turkey] counter-balanced the fatigue. We were very dangerous every time we won the ball back. We had a good mixture of a patience game and a speed game - and that was positive."

Live text and stats

 

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Fulham 1-3 Arsenal FT
(HT 0-2)
  • Bent 77
  • Giroud 14
  • Podolski 41
  • Podolski 68

Fulham

Substitutes

Arsenal

Substitutes

Ref: H WebbAtt: 25,622
FULHAM
ARSENAL

Possession

  • Fulham 48%
  • Arsenal 52%

Attempts on target

  • Fulham 7
  • Arsenal 7

Attempts off target

  • Fulham 9
  • Arsenal 11

Corners

  • Fulham 1
  • Arsenal 8

Fouls

  • Fulham 10
  • Arsenal 8
  • Final Result
  • Full Time
  • 90:00+4:27 The referee blows for the end of the match.
  • 90:00+4:18 The ball is swung over by Sascha Riether.
  • 90:00+4:02 Clearance made by Yaya Sanogo.
  • 90:00+3:59 Clearance made by Aaron Hughes.
  • 90:00+3:24 Shot by Dimitar Berbatov went wide right of the post.
  • 90:00+3:22 Clearance made by Carl Jenkinson.
  • 90:00+2:43 The ball is delivered by Sascha Riether.
  • 90:00+2:22 Aaron Hughes manages to make a clearance.
  • 90:00+2:06 Alex Kacaniklic delivers the ball.
  • 90:00+1:37 Clearance by Brede Hangeland.
  • 90:00+1:19 A cross is delivered by Sascha Riether.
  • 90:00+0:51 Shot by Theo Walcott. David Stockdale parries the ball away.
  • 90:00+0:45 Sascha Riether makes a clearance.
  • 90:00+0:15 John Arne Riise makes a clearance.
  • Correction - 90:00+0:10 John Arne Riise manages to make a clearance.
  • 88:23 Pajtim Kasami manages to make a clearance.
  • 88:08 Aaron Ramsey restarts play with the free kick.
  • 87:56 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jack Wilshere by Pajtim Kasami.
  • 87:46 Clearance by Brede Hangeland.
  • 87:41 Free kick taken by Wojciech Szczesny.
  • 87:09 The assistant referee signals for offside against Pajtim Kasami.
  • 87:06 Clearance made by Nacho Monreal.
  • 87:01 Giorgos Karagounis crosses the ball in from the free kick.
  • 86:27 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Giorgos Karagounis by Nacho Monreal.
  • 86:13 Clearance by Per Mertesacker.
  • 86:11 Giorgos Karagounis crosses the ball.
  • 85:18 Scott Parker makes a clearance.
  • 84:16 Corner from the right by-line taken by Theo Walcott.
  • 83:51 Clearance by Aaron Hughes.
  • 83:18 Santi Cazorla takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Alex Kacaniklic gets a block in.
  • 82:46 Clearance made by John Arne Riise.
  • 82:44 Aaron Hughes makes a clearance.
  • 82:41 Carl Jenkinson produces a cross.
  • 82:31 The ball is sent over by Nacho Monreal.
  • 82:08 Per Mertesacker makes a clearance.
  • 82:07 The ball is sent over by Pajtim Kasami.
  • 81:54 Clearance by Aaron Hughes.
  • 81:25 Clearance by Brede Hangeland.
  • 81:19 Clearance by Aaron Hughes.
  • 81:15 Clearance by Aaron Hughes.
  • 81:09 Wojciech Szczesny takes the free kick.
  • 80:51 Substitution Yaya Sanogo comes on in place of Lukas Podolski.
  • Correction - 80:18 The referee blows for offside against Dimitar Berbatov.
  • 80:18 The ball is sent over by Sascha Riether.
  • 80:11 Clearance by Kieran Gibbs.
  • 80:08 Free kick crossed by Sascha Riether.
  • 79:44 Jack Wilshere is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour.
  • 79:44 Booking
  • 79:38 Foul by Jack Wilshere on Giorgos Karagounis, free kick awarded.
  • 79:02 Jack Wilshere takes a shot. Per Mertesacker takes a shot. Aaron Hughes gets a block in.
  • 78:57 Theo Walcott crosses the ball in from the free kick.
  • 78:12 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Nacho Monreal by Sascha Riether.
  • 77:54 Aaron Ramsey takes the free kick.
  • 77:33 Caution for Pajtim Kasami.
  • 77:33 Booking
  • 77:28 Pajtim Kasami challenges Per Mertesacker unfairly and gives away a free kick.
  • 76:28 GOAL - Darren BentFulham 1 - 3 Arsenal Darren Bent grabs a goal with a left foot finish. Fulham 1-3 Arsenal.
  • 76:26 Dimitar Berbatov takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Wojciech Szczesny parries the ball but the danger is not over.
  • 76:16 Giorgos Karagounis takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Per Mertesacker gets a block in.
  • 75:12 Shot by Giorgos Karagounis. Santi Cazorla gets a block in.
  • 74:51 Santi Cazorla manages to make a clearance.
  • 74:34 Substitution Giorgos Karagounis comes on in place of Steve Sidwell.
  • 73:18 Clearance made by Sascha Riether.
  • 73:15 Centre by Kieran Gibbs.
  • 73:02 John Arne Riise manages to make a clearance.
  • 72:31 Jack Wilshere takes the free kick.
  • 72:14 Booking
  • 72:14 The referee shows Scott Parker a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
  • 72:02 Unfair challenge on Santi Cazorla by Scott Parker results in a free kick.
  • 71:10 Substitution Olivier Giroud leaves the field to be replaced by Nacho Monreal.
  • 70:43 Lukas Podolski makes a clearance.
  • 70:14 Brede Hangeland manages to make a clearance.
  • 69:27 Santi Cazorla makes a clearance.
  • 69:26 The ball is crossed by Alex Kacaniklic.
  • 69:09 Substitution Jack Wilshere replaces Tomas Rosicky.
  • 67:06 The assist for the goal came from Santi Cazorla.
  • 67:06 GOAL - Lukas PodolskiFulham 0 - 3 Arsenal Lukas Podolski grabs a goal with a left foot finish. Fulham 0-3 Arsenal.
  • 66:36 Lukas Podolski manages to make a clearance.
  • 66:35 Per Mertesacker makes a clearance.
  • 66:34 The ball is delivered by Darren Bent.
  • 66:19 Clearance by Santi Cazorla.
  • 65:05 Pajtim Kasami takes the chance to get an effort at goal and missed to the right of the net.
  • 64:32 Free kick taken by John Arne Riise.
  • 64:13 The referee gives a free kick against Aaron Ramsey for handball.
  • 63:38 Aaron Ramsey takes the free kick.
  • 63:25 Unfair challenge on Aaron Ramsey by Pajtim Kasami results in a free kick.
  • 63:22 Clearance made by Aaron Hughes.
  • 62:18 Aaron Hughes makes a clearance.
  • 61:43 Centre by Sascha Riether.
  • 61:42 Bacary Sagna makes a clearance.
  • 61:22 Substitution Alex Kacaniklic replaces Adel Taarabt.
  • 61:02 Per Mertesacker makes a clearance.
  • 58:51 Clearance by Aaron Hughes.
  • 58:45 Wojciech Szczesny restarts play with the free kick.
  • 58:28 Substitution (Fulham) makes a substitution, with Darren Bent coming on for Damien Duff.
  • 57:58 Foul by Damien Duff on Kieran Gibbs, free kick awarded.
  • 57:11 The ball is swung over by Carl Jenkinson.
  • 56:53 Carl Jenkinson manages to make a clearance.
  • 56:42 John Arne Riise manages to make a clearance.
  • 56:40 Aaron Ramsey crosses the ball.
  • 56:35 Corner taken by Theo Walcott from the right by-line.
  • 56:07 Shot by Aaron Ramsey. John Arne Riise gets a block in.
  • 56:02 Kieran Gibbs delivers the ball.
  • 55:09 Carl Jenkinson manages to make a clearance.
  • 53:53 The ball is swung over by Lukas Podolski.
  • 53:49 Corner taken by Theo Walcott from the right by-line.
  • 52:06 Shot by Theo Walcott missed to the left of goal.
  • 51:24 Olivier Giroud makes a clearance.
  • 51:23 Clearance made by Aaron Hughes.
  • 50:17 Clearance by Bacary Sagna.
  • 48:45 Free kick crossed by Adel Taarabt.
  • 48:00 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Pajtim Kasami by Carl Jenkinson.
  • 47:45 Clearance by Aaron Hughes.
  • 47:09 Bacary Sagna makes a clearance.
  • 47:06 The ball is swung over by Damien Duff.
  • 46:52 The ball is sent over by Adel Taarabt.
  • 46:41 Clearance by Lukas Podolski.
  • 46:38 Corner taken by Damien Duff from the right by-line.
  • 46:12 Adel Taarabt takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Wojciech Szczesny parries the effort to safety.
  • 45:38 Aaron Hughes makes a clearance.
  • 45:01 The match restarts for the second half.
  • Half Time
  • 45:00+1:07 The first half comes to an end.
  • 44:13 Kieran Gibbs makes a clearance.
  • 40:30 GOAL - Lukas PodolskiFulham 0 - 2 Arsenal Lukas Podolski grabs a goal with a left foot finish. Fulham 0-2 Arsenal.
  • 40:28 Theo Walcott crosses the ball.
  • 39:50 Free kick taken by Carl Jenkinson.
  • 39:12 John Arne Riise concedes a free kick for a foul on Theo Walcott.
  • 38:51 Lukas Podolski manages to make a clearance.
  • 37:59 Kieran Gibbs takes the chance to get an effort at goal and missed to the right of the target.
  • 37:37 Per Mertesacker makes a clearance.
  • 37:32 Olivier Giroud makes a clearance.
  • 37:28 The ball is delivered by John Arne Riise.
  • 37:15 Carl Jenkinson manages to make a clearance.
  • 37:13 Bacary Sagna manages to make a clearance.
  • 37:11 Centre by John Arne Riise.
  • 36:02 Clearance by John Arne Riise.
  • 35:57 Free kick taken by Wojciech Szczesny.
  • 35:12 Dimitar Berbatov challenges Bacary Sagna unfairly and gives away a free kick.
  • 34:30 Steve Sidwell takes the free kick.
  • 34:15 Aaron Ramsey challenges Pajtim Kasami unfairly and gives away a free kick.
  • 33:27 Sascha Riether restarts play with the free kick.
  • 33:17 Foul by Santi Cazorla on Damien Duff, free kick awarded.
  • Correction - 31:20 Adel Taarabt takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Wojciech Szczesny makes a block.
  • 31:20 Adel Taarabt takes a shot. Wojciech Szczesny safely holds on.
  • 30:52 Clearance by Aaron Hughes.
  • 30:51 Clearance made by Lukas Podolski.
  • 30:50 Clearance made by Sascha Riether.
  • 30:50 Clearance by Sascha Riether.
  • 29:36 Scott Parker takes a shot and cleared the goal.
  • 28:26 Shot by Adel Taarabt went wide of the right-hand upright.
  • 26:41 Aaron Hughes manages to make a clearance.
  • 26:18 Direct effort from the free kick comes in from Pajtim Kasami. Wojciech Szczesny safely holds on.
  • 25:07 Santi Cazorla challenges Adel Taarabt unfairly and gives away a free kick.
  • 25:03 Clearance by Kieran Gibbs.
  • 21:32 Corner taken by Theo Walcott from the right by-line.
  • 21:16 Theo Walcott has an effort at goal. Blocked by John Arne Riise.
  • 20:11 Aaron Ramsey booked.
  • 20:11 Booking
  • 19:26 Santi Cazorla takes a shot. David Stockdale parries the ball away.
  • 18:57 Clearance made by Steve Sidwell.
  • 18:45 Clearance by Brede Hangeland.
  • 18:43 John Arne Riise manages to make a clearance.
  • 18:40 Carl Jenkinson delivers the ball.
  • 18:15 Santi Cazorla takes the free kick.
  • 18:03 Sascha Riether gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Lukas Podolski.
  • 17:54 Clearance by Lukas Podolski.
  • 17:20 Kieran Gibbs makes a clearance.
  • 15:58 Clearance by Aaron Ramsey.
  • 15:57 Steve Sidwell takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Blocked by Bacary Sagna.
  • Correction - 15:52 Damien Duff has an effort at goal. Adel Taarabt has an effort at goal. Wojciech Szczesny parries the effort to safety. A parry by Wojciech Szczesny prevents the goal.
  • 15:52 Damien Duff takes a shot. Adel Taarabt has an effort at goal. A parry by Wojciech Szczesny prevents the goal.
  • 15:41 Free kick taken by Aaron Hughes.
  • 15:24 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Damien Duff by Kieran Gibbs.
  • 14:40 Per Mertesacker makes a clearance.
  • 14:39 A cross is delivered by Sascha Riether.
  • 13:31 Aaron Ramsey provided the assist for the goal.
  • 13:31 GOAL - Olivier GiroudFulham 0 - 1 Arsenal Olivier Giroud scores with their left foot. Fulham 0-1 Arsenal.
  • 13:31 Shot by Aaron Ramsey.
  • 13:10 John Arne Riise makes a clearance.
  • 13:08 Kieran Gibbs delivers the ball.
  • 12:22 Lukas Podolski makes a clearance.
  • 11:46 Pajtim Kasami takes a shot and went wide right of the net.
  • 11:44 Clearance by Per Mertesacker.
  • 11:11 Header at goal by Bacary Sagna goes right of the post.
  • 11:07 Corner taken by Theo Walcott from the left by-line.
  • 10:47 Santi Cazorla takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Aaron Hughes gets a block in.
  • 10:29 Chance falls to Olivier Giroud who heads at goal. John Arne Riise gets a block in.
  • 10:26 Corner taken by Theo Walcott.
  • 10:07 John Arne Riise makes a clearance.
  • 10:03 Corner from the right by-line taken by Theo Walcott.
  • 9:36 Theo Walcott takes the chance to get an effort at goal. David Stockdale parries the ball away.
  • 9:17 Per Mertesacker restarts play with the free kick.
  • 8:58 The assistant referee signals for offside against Damien Duff.
  • 7:56 Lukas Podolski manages to make a clearance.
  • 6:24 John Arne Riise shoots direct from the free kick and goes right of the target.
  • 5:28 Free kick awarded for a foul by Carl Jenkinson on Adel Taarabt.
  • 5:07 Scott Parker manages to make a clearance.
  • 5:06 Corner from the right by-line taken by Theo Walcott.
  • 4:44 Lukas Podolski takes a shot. Blocked by Aaron Hughes.
  • 4:09 Aaron Ramsey manages to make a clearance.
  • 3:07 Bacary Sagna restarts play with the free kick.
  • 2:44 Dimitar Berbatov gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Carl Jenkinson.
  • 0:00 The referee starts the match.

Live text and data provided by The Press Association.