Report: Fulham 0-3 Arsenal

Arsenal opened the new season in style with an emphatic victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage. 

New boy Willian caught the eye with a dynamic display that saw him involved in all three goals while fellow debutant Gabriel Magalhães got a goal and helped keep a clean sheet. 

Alexandre Lacazette opened the scoring from close range following a difficult start. After spurning further chances in the first half, Gabriel headed in a second before a flowing team move ended with Aubameyang curling home to seal a deserved three points. 

Arteta will have been pleased with Mohamed Elneny who put in a solid display next to Granit Xhaka while Bernd Leno showed no rustiness after his return from a knee injury. 

It didn’t take long for him to be forced into action as he had to take the ball from Aboubakar Kamara’s feet in the opening minutes after an error from Magalhães let the striker through on goal. The German had to be alert to keep out Denis Odoi shortly after as the Cottagers started strongly.

The Gunners soon found their edge in attack with Lacazette poking home from close range after Willian’s initial shot rebounded into his path and from then on Arsenal took control. 

Willian struck the post with a free kick before Aubameyang forced a good save out of Marek Rodák after latching onto a clever long ball from Xhaka.

Gabriel recovered from his earlier setback and grew into the game showing why he has such a reputation in aerial duels. He made it count in the opposition box too as he doubled the lead from a Willian corner – Arsenal’s first of the game. 

Much has been made of Arsenal’s lack of creativity but this is a new season and Arteta seemed to have found a solution for this game as the Gunners were rampant in attack with Willian picking out Aubameyang who fired in a third to finish off another sublime team move that started from defence. 

A fourth looked inevitable when Aubameyang burst down the left and found Lacazette but Rodák somehow denied the Frenchman and Héctor Bellerín’s follow-up was blocked on the line. The offside flag eventually came to kill the attack. 

A brilliant debut for Willian ended on 75 minutes when Nicolas Pépé replaced him before Xhaka was taken off for Dani Ceballos after picking up a knock. They both turned on the tricks as Arsenal searched for a fourth before Eddie Nketiah came on for a late cameo.

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