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Silky Arsenal ease to victory at Fulham, keep title bid on track

LONDON — Arsenal eased past Fulham to regain their five-point lead atop the Premier League table as they ran riot in a 3-0 victory at Craven Cottage.

FULL MATCH REPLAY

“We’re going to win the league!” sang the Arsenal fans at various stages of the game and on this showing, they looked like a title-winning side.

Gabriel, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard all scored in the first half as Fulham couldn’t handle Arsenal’s slick movement and Mikel Arteta’s side should have won by many more.

Marco Silva’s side improved in the second half but Arsenal eased to a fifth-straight Premier League win as they now have 66 points and are five clear of Manchester City. Fulham have now lost two straight games and remain on 39 points.

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Martinelli, Trossard deliver timely extra layer at perfect time

It was a joy to watch Leandro Trossard and Gabriel Martinelli rip Fulham apart in the first half. The duo ghosted between the left flank and central areas seamlessly and Fulham just couldn’t track them. Arsenal pressed Fulham high but they were also so clever in the way they allowed Fulham to play one pass out of the back into midfield and then snapped into challenges. Martin Odegaard pushed further forward to play as a second striker and was always free to combine when they won it back. Without Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah (the former is back fit and came on late in the game), Arsenal have had to be creative with their attacking options and that has inadvertently given them an extra tactical layer at a pivotal point of the season. Jesus will of course start a large chunk of the final 11 games of the campaign but Arsenal now have a very different option to roll out whenever they want. That is going to be crucial in the final months of the season as they aim to win the title.


Mikel Arteta praises attacking unit as Gunners maintain lead


Stars of the show; Fulham vs Arsenal player ratings

Leandro Trossard: A hat trick of assists in the first half and oozed class whenever he got on the ball. What a January signing.

Martin Odegaard: Got his goal and popped up in dangerous areas all game long.

Gabriel Martinelli: Could have had a hat trick in the first half and his clever runs could not be tracked.

Graphic via FotMob.com

What’s next?

Fulham head to Manchester United on Sunday, March 19 for an FA Cup quarterfinal. Arsenal host Sporting Lisbon in their Europa League last 16 second leg on Thursday, then host Crystal Palace on Sunday, Mar. 19.


How to watch Fulham vs Arsenal live! – By Joe Prince-Wright at Craven Cottage 

Kick off: 10am ET Sunday
TV Channel/Online: Watch on Peacock Premium

FULL TIME: Fulham 0-3 Arsenal – Absolutely clinical from Arsenal. They were excellent. Fulham were blown away in the first half. Too easy for Arteta’s side.

CHANCE! Gabriel Jesus is played in but his low finish is saved by Leno. So close to a goal on his return and he should have scored.

Gabriel Jesus comes on and there is a huge roar from the Arsenal fans in the away end. What on ovation for Jesus on his return. His first appearance since before the World Cup.

CROSSBAR! Fulham hit the bar. A header from a corner is a good one but it bounces away. So unlucky for the hosts.

SAVE! Aaron Ramsdale saves down low to deny Decordova-Reid. Fulham have been much better in the second half. But that wasn’t exactly tough after their first half display…

Fulham are having more of the ball but Arsenal look so dangerous every time they break.

Second half us underway and Ramsdale has come flapping at a few crosses. Fulham putting Arsenal under serious pressure to get one goal back.

HALF TIME – Fulham 0-3 Arsenal: About as dominant a first half as Arsenal have had all season long. Totally in control, 3-0 up and cruising. It could have been five or six. Arsenal’s fans chant Mikel Arteta’s name from the away end. Fulham have missed Joao Palhinha badly in midfield and just don’t look at it.

GOALLL! Fulham 0-3 Arsenal – Right on half time Martin Odegaard fires home after another fine Arsenal counter. Brilliant play by Martinelli and Leandro Trossard again. Arsenal have been excellent on these transitions.

SAVE! Great stop from Leno to deny Martinelli. That looked certain to be a third for Arsenal.

Nervous moment for Aaron Ramsdale as he inexplicably passes the ball straight to Andreas Pereira but the Fulham midfielder lobs over the bar. Big chance for Fulham. The Arsenal fans sing Ramsdale’s name.

CHANCE! Great flowing football from Arsenal after Tosin gave it away but Xhaka decides to take an extra touch and he gets it all wrong as Leno gratefully collects. Brilliant chance for Arsenal to go 3-0 up.

Bit of possession for Fulham now as Manor Solomon bends one wide of the far post. Very similar to his recent effort from that position which usually fly in. The home fans are getting a bit anxious. Arsenal happy to sit deeper and protect their 2-0 lead. Nice position to be in for the Gunners.

“You know you’re going to believe us, we’re going to win the league!” sing the Arsenal fans in the away end here at Craven Cottage.

GOALLL! 2-0 to Arsenal. Leandro Trossard with a lovely clipped cross to the back post and Martinelli heads home. Trossard and Martinelli have been sensational early on. Fulham can’t handle their movement.

William Saliba strides forward and smashes a shot over the bar from 35 yards out. That sums up the confidence in this Arsenal side right now.

GOALLL! Gabriel heads home as he climbs above Tosin and heads home a corner. Poor defensively from Fulham. Arsenal deservedly lead. Fulham 0-1 Arsenal.

NO GOAL! Gabriel Martinelli has a shot from the left which Bernd Leno saves but it bounces off Antonee Robinson and goes in. Arsenal think they are 1-0 up but VAR is used and Martinelli was just offside. The home fans celebrate the VAR decision arriving on the screen like it is a goal for Fulham. Early drama here.

Just like at the World Cup, Bukayo Saka and Antonee Robinson look set for a really good battle down the wing nearest to me here in the press box. Robinson had Saka’s number in Qatar…

Slow start here as Arsenal have been a little bit sloppy. Perhaps you can excuse them after their trip back from Lisbon on Thursday? The home fans are very happy with the start from Fulham.

KICK OFF! We are underway here at the Cottage and it is the Arsenal fans making all of the noise early on.

Lovely buzz around Craven Cottage as the atmosphere builds. The home fans are full of optimism and the away fans are also expecting a big win too.

Give this a watch before the game. Can Arsenal handle the pressure of Man City breathing down their necks?

Team news is here! Ben White and Granit Xhaka in for Arsenal. Fulham have made two changes with Tosin coming in for Diop and Bobby Decordova-Reid in for Willian as the Brazilian winger misses out totally.

Some intriguing team news early on here. Gabriel Jesus is here at the Cottage and that is a huge boost for Arsenal.

Welcome to west London! Beautiful early spring day here as Fulham host Premier League leaders Arsenal. Can the Gunners make it five wins in a row in the Premier League? Can Fulham cause a big shock?


Key storylines & star players

Fulham’s still alive in the FA Cup and has that route into Europe as well. Israeli striker Manor Solomon has been a big part of the Cottagers’ recent scoring, as adapting to the Premier League has not proven a problem for a man with plenty of European experience through Shakhtar Donetsk. Palhinha misses out through suspension and Fulham will have its work cut out for itself in the heart of the pitch.

Arsenal is getting performances all over the pitch, but the consistent showman has been Bukayo Saka, as Mikel Arteta has not been afraid to start the young Englishman time and time again.


Fulham team news, injuries, lineup

OUT: Palhinha (suspension), Tom Cairney (ankle), Neeskens Kebano (achilles), Layvin Kurzawa (knee), Cedric Soares (loan – parent club), Willian (undisclosed)

Arsenal team news, injuries, lineup

OUT: Mohamed Elneny (knock), Eddie Nketiah (ankle)