Arsenal responded to their defeat to Liverpool with a massive win over Fulham at the Emirates and moved within two points of Chelsea.
Unai Emery was desperate for his side to respond after the thrashing at the hands of Liverpool last weekend, and his players duly complied with an impressive display against Fulham. Arsenal, in the end, ran out comfortable 4-1 winners, although there were periods in the game when Emery’s side looked vulnerable.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had his fair share of early half-chances, although nothing came out of it. the breakthrough came from an unlikely source in Granit Xhaka who ghosted into the box and finished Iwobi’s cross to open the scoring. Arsenal soon had more chances but ended the first period with the 1-0 scoreline and in the lead only for the second time this season in the league.
Arsenal began the second period on the front foot and soon was rewarded for their efforts with a second goal. After some brilliant combination play from Aubameyang. Iwobi and Kolasinac on the left side, the Bosnian squared the ball to Lacazette, who finished it brilliantly to make it 2-0. Sometime later, Arsenal soon found themselves on the back foot as Kamara pulled one back as Arsenal, yet again showed defensive cracks.
From that moment, Fulham entered a bright period to threaten Arsenal for some time. However, substitute Aaron Ramsey calmed the nerves of the fans with a goal to make it 3-1. Then right before the regular time came to an end, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put the icing on the cake with a fourth and his 14th goal of the season that took him on top of the Premier League goalscoring charts.
Here’s how Arsenal players rated in their impressive win over Fulham.
Bernd Leno – 6.5
There was no real danger to Leno’s goal throughout the game barring that goal and one header from Mitrovic which he held well. He has a commanding presence in the box and barring his erratic long passes, he was just fine.
Sokratis – 6
Sokratis did enough in defence, but if the opposition attackers were more lethal, he could have been punished. First, his positioning is compromised when he runs behind attackers with the ball and secondly his one on one tackling needs to improve. Surprisingly against Fulham, his best moments came in the attack, one with a mazy run and the second his assist for Aubameyang for the fourth.
Shkodran Mustafi – 5
There are still significant doubts about his fitness, but the fact that he was selected for two games in a row means he does have the levels. Against Fulham, his distribution from the back was erratic, so was his passing, which invited unwanted pressure. Substituted at halftime, two games in a row.
Laurent Koscielny – 6.5
Arsenal’s best defender on the day. Koscielny is showing signs of getting back into shape and his older self. There was a good show from the captain with the ball at his feet, defensive awareness and his passing were all very good. Think he will get better with more games and performances like these will ensure his place in the side.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 6.5
Maitland-Niles did not have the vibrant display he had against Liverpool but was solid enough in attack as well as the defence to keep things under control. Got forward well and tried his best in creating something in attack. As far as defending is concerned, he was balanced enough to keep Fulham attackers at bay. Did get dragged on for the opposition goal but was overall okay.
Sead Kolasinac – 7
Kolasinac looked like he’s got to his offensive self again but showed similar problems in defence. In the end, it was his attacking talent that helped the side immensely. Got the assist for Lacazette’s goal and was heavily involved in many attacking move. Emery has done plenty to bring the best out of him in attack now he needs to focus on improving Kolasinac as a defender.
Granit Xhaka – 6
By the end of the first half, Xhaka was Arsenal’s best player on the pitch and probably a shadow of that player in the second period. He was slow, bad positioning and seemed like in a lot of pressure defensively in the absence of Torreira. However did not do anything to harm his side’s chances, in fact, he scored the opening goal and could have got another one moments later.
Matteo Guendouzi – 5
Arsenal needed consistency in midfield and Guendouzi failed to provide that by any means. Positionally he allowed Fulham far more room than required with his advanced placement. Improvement only came when Torreira was brought on in the middle of the second half. Needs to be more careful if he is to continue his run in the team.
Alex Iwobi – 7,5
Took on the creative mantle for his side rather nicely. Was the creator of the first goal and was as creative as he can be for the second. Overall played his part well in the team, especially in the first half and somewhat faded away in the second period. Man of the Match!
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 7
Aubameyang has games where he gets some unbelievable chances and yet ends up scoring only once. Against Fulham, he had so many opportunities to score, in both halves. However, he was patient throughout the game, and his link-up play was surprisingly good. In the end, he got a deserved goal and moved ahead of other rivals in the goalscoring charts.
Alexandre Lacazette – 6.5
Worked hard as usual, but was not at his efficient best when it came to creating chances. Scored Arsenal’s second quite nicely, and finally got the goal he’s been missing from so many games now.
Lucas Torreira – 6.5
Torreira was brought on to ensure midfield was tight and he kept things ticking. He did precisely that and was tidy in whatever he played.
Aaron Ramsey – 7
Ramsey was sent to bring some experience in the side and also provide with a different dimension to the midfield as well as attack. At first, there were doubts if Lacazette’s removal for Ramsey was the right call, but the Welshman scored the crucial third goal to close the game down effectively.
Bukayo Saka – N/A
A first Premier League outing for the 17-year-old and although he did not do anything during his 10 minutes or so, making it difficult to rate.