Premier League
ArsenalArsenal2FulhamFulham0

Arsenal 2-0 Fulham

By Mandeep SangheraBBC Sport
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.

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.

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."

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Line-ups

Arsenal

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 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

Fulham

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 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

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Arsenal 2, Fulham 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Arsenal 2, Fulham 0.

  3. Post update

    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.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal).

  5. Post update

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

  6. Post update

    Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Mathieu Flamini.

  7. Post update

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

  8. Post update

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

  9. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  10. Post update

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

  11. Post update

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

  12. Post update

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

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, Fulham. Pajtim Kasami replaces Alexander Kacaniklic.

  14. Substitution

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

  15. Post update

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

  16. Post update

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

  17. Post update

    Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Nacho Monreal.

  18. Post update

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

  19. Post update

    Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Sascha Riether.

  20. Post update

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

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Arsenal22163343192451
2Man City22162463253850
3Chelsea21144340192146
4Liverpool22134553282543
5Everton21118234191541
6Tottenham2112452625140
7Man Utd21114635241137
8Newcastle2211383228436
9Southampton228772925431
10Aston Villa2266102229-724
11Hull2265112228-623
12Norwich2265111835-1723
13Stoke2257102236-1422
14Swansea2156102630-421
15West Brom214982328-521
16Crystal Palace2262141431-1720
17Fulham2261152248-2619
18West Ham2246122233-1118
19Sunderland2246122136-1518
20Cardiff2246121738-2118
View full Premier League table

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