Premier League
Arsenal2Fulham0

Arsenal 2-0 Fulham

Santi Cazorla (centre) scores the opener for Arsenal against Fulham

Santi Cazorla scored twice as Arsenal beat Fulham to secure a fifth successive top-flight win to remain top of the Premier League.

Fulham had frustrated the Gunners and went close when a Steve Sidwell half-volley was smartly saved.

But Cazorla slotted in after an intricate one-touch passing move to break the visiting side's resistance.

The Spaniard latched on to a clearance and drove in a low 20-yard strike to seal the victory.

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Cazorla goals were special - Wenger

The Gunners had initially been frustrated by Fulham but were rewarded for their patience and persistence as they continued their impressive home form.

Arsenal have dropped just four points and conceded only three goals in 10 home league games since an opening-day 3-1 defeat by Aston Villa.

The Cottagers are a point off the relegation zone and, after a 4-1 home loss against Sunderland last week, can take some encouragement from a performance which contained a greater degree of defensive resilience.

The omens had not been promising for Fulham heading into the match against the league leaders as they had the fewest clean sheets and had conceded the most goals in the top flight.

And it seemed the visitors might be in for a long afternoon when Mesut Ozil ran onto a Jack Wilshere pass early on and saw a shot beat keeper Maarten Stekelenburg before it was cleared by Fulham centre-back Brede Hangeland.

However, the visitors quickly tightened up and the discipline with which they defended in numbers frustrated Arsenal.

Fulham grew in confidence the longer the game remained goalless and Sidwell had a well-struck shot parried by Wojciech Szczesny.

The Polish goalkeeper also gathered at the feet of Alexander Kacaniklic when the Fulham midfielder's touch let him down as he raced through on goal following Dimitar Berbatov's pass.

At the other end, Arsenal were limited to a Bacary Sagna shot being saved by Stekelenburg, who also impressively kept out the follow-up from the offside Olivier Giroud, before the break.

Fulham had drawn at the Emirates on their last two visits and almost took the lead when Berbatov had a shot blocked by Mathieu Flamini, before a Dan Burn header from the follow-up was cleared by Olivier Giroud.

The chance spurred Arsenal into a greater urgency and Serge Gnabry jinked across the edge of the area and had a shot fended away by Stekelenburg.

Sagna then slid in to meet a Cazorla free-kick but had his effort cleared off the line by Burn before follow-up shots from Koscielny and Gnabry were blocked.

The pressure was building on the Fulham goal and the visitors eventually buckled when Cazorla instigated a slick move, which also involved Giroud and Wilshere, before side-footing in a pass from the latter after 57 minutes.

Five minutes later, a Nacho Monreal cross was only cleared to Cazorla and he drove in a low shot from 20 yards to give Arsenal the breathing space of a second goal and control of the game.

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Meulensteen takes 'heart' from defeat

The home side were denied a third when substitute Lukas Podolski had a thunderous shot touched on to the post by Stekelenburg, before the home side nearly conceded late on, but Darren Bent fired wide.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger:

"We were maybe not quick enough in the first half. In the second half our tempo was much better and we created chances.

"The players were conscious we had to step up a gear. It was just a question of time and Santi Cazorla delivered two special goals.

On the title race:

"The pressure is there but it is a positive one. I believe it is important to keep focused on the way we want to play and our solidarity in the side, which is exceptional and that will get us the points.

"There are five or six teams who will fight for the Championship. From our side we just need to be consistent."

Fulham manager Rene Meulensteen:

"I thought we did ever so well. We were up against a top side. We limited them after their strong start.

"If we produced a bit more quality we could have nicked a goal in first half, but we will take a lot of heart from this performance."

Check out photos from Saturday's Premier League matches at BBC Sport's Facebook page.

Line-ups

Arsenal

  • 1Szczesny
  • 3Sagna
  • 17Monreal
  • 20Flamini
  • 4Mertesacker
  • 6Koscielny
  • 44GnabrySubstituted forPodolskiat 71'minutes
  • 10Wilshere
  • 12Giroud
  • 11ÖzilSubstituted forOxlade-Chamberlainat 86'minutes
  • 19Cazorla

Substitutes

  • 7Rosicky
  • 9Podolski
  • 15Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • 21Fabianski
  • 25Jenkinson
  • 28Gibbs
  • 30Park Chu-young

Fulham

  • 1Stekelenburg
  • 27Riether
  • 15Richardson
  • 7Sidwell
  • 5Hangeland
  • 33Burn
  • 24DejagahSubstituted forBentat 68'minutes
  • 28Parker
  • 9Berbatov
  • 32Dempsey
  • 11KacaniklicSubstituted forKasamiat 86'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Riise
  • 8Kasami
  • 13Stockdale
  • 14Karagounis
  • 16Duff
  • 18Hughes
  • 39Bent
Referee:
Lee Probert
Attendance:
60,000

Match Stats

Home TeamArsenalAway TeamFulham
Possession
Home59%
Away41%
Shots
Home22
Away8
Shots on Target
Home8
Away2
Corners
Home4
Away4
Fouls
Home5
Away7

Live Text

Match ends, Arsenal 2, Fulham 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Arsenal 2, Fulham 0.

Attempt saved. Pajtim Kasami (Fulham) left footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the right is saved in the centre of the goal.

Foul by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal).

Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Mathieu Flamini.

Attempt blocked. Clint Dempsey (Fulham) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Dimitar Berbatov.

Attempt missed. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) header from very close range is just a bit too high. Assisted by Santiago Cazorla with a cross.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Darren Bent (Fulham) because of an injury.

Attempt missed. Darren Bent (Fulham) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

Attempt missed. Scott Parker (Fulham) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Substitution

Substitution, Fulham. Pajtim Kasami replaces Alexander Kacaniklic.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaces Mesut Özil.

Attempt missed. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Mesut Özil.

Attempt blocked. Steve Sidwell (Fulham) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Dimitar Berbatov.

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Nacho Monreal.

Attempt saved. Lukas Podolski (Arsenal) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Mesut Özil.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Sascha Riether.

Attempt blocked. Lukas Podolski (Arsenal) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jack Wilshere.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Lukas Podolski replaces Serge Gnabry.

Foul by Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal).

Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Substitution

Substitution, Fulham. Darren Bent replaces Ashkan Dejagah.

Delay in match Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) because of an injury.

Goal!

Goal! Arsenal 2, Fulham 0. Santiago Cazorla (Arsenal) left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner.

Goal!

Goal! Arsenal 1, Fulham 0. Santiago Cazorla (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Jack Wilshere.

Attempt blocked. Serge Gnabry (Arsenal) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Attempt missed. Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) left footed shot from very close range is close, but misses to the right.

Attempt blocked. Bacary Sagna (Arsenal) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Santiago Cazorla with a cross.

Jack Wilshere (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham).

Attempt blocked. Santiago Cazorla (Arsenal) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Mesut Özil.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Maarten Stekelenburg.

Attempt saved. Serge Gnabry (Arsenal) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Santiago Cazorla.

Attempt saved. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Santiago Cazorla.

Attempt blocked. Dan Burn (Fulham) header from the centre of the box is blocked.

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Nacho Monreal.

Attempt blocked. Mathieu Flamini (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Arsenal2216332451
2Man City2216243850
3Chelsea2114432146
4Liverpool2213452543
5Everton2111821541
6Tottenham211245140
7Man Utd2111461137
8Newcastle221138436
9Southampton22877431
10Aston Villa226610-724
11Hull226511-623
12Norwich226511-1723
13Stoke225710-1422
14Swansea215610-421
15West Brom21498-521
16Crystal Palace226214-1720
17Fulham226115-2619
18West Ham224612-1118
19Sunderland224612-1518
20Cardiff224612-2118
View full Premier League table

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