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- 2nd Half
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- 1st Half
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Fulham - Arsenal
Premier League - 7 October 2018
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Nine wins on the spin for Arsenal, six on the spin in the league, who produce five excellent goals to go fifth; Fulham, meanwhile, have conceded 21 times and need to find a way of defending properly. If they don't, they're going down.
Full-time: Fulham 1-5 Arsenal
There'll be three added minutes.
GOAL! Fulham 1-5 Arsenal (Aubameyang) Oh! Xhaka knocks into Ramsey on the half-turn; he strokes through for Aubameyang, whose first touch is excellent, taking him away from Le Marchand and setting up a low zetz across Bettinelli into the bottom corner. Arsenal have absolutely rousted Fulham in the second half.
Arsenal knock it about...
Next for Fulham it's Cardiff away; if they lose that, they've got serious problems and it's Bournemouth at home after that, the kind of game they'd have earmarked to win before the start of the season, problem being that Bournemouth are killing it at the moment.
Fulham have been absolutely spanked here, there's no getting away from it.
Fulham have gone. Guendouzi lifts a pass into the path of Bellerin, who lifts a cross into the box seeking Aubameyang, but Bettinelli is out to punch clear.
Arsenal's goals today have been very good indeed. I don't think they played especially well in the first half, but their burst after half-time was excellent and decided the game.
Johansen replaces Vietto.
It's funny really, looking at that Arsenal back-five; it's probably worse than Manchester United's yet has conceded five fewer goals. That's confidence and organisation, so credit to Unai Emery for that.
Guendouzi replaces Lacazette.
GOAL! Fulham 1-4 Arsenal (Aubameyang) Mkhitayran spreads wide for Bellerin, who controls is hectares, cuts back low, and at the near post, Aubameyang kills it beautifully just as Lacazette did for his first, then spins and bends a left-footer into the far corner. Very nice, and Arsenal are going third, above Spurs.
Yeah, that's exactly how it happened.
This game is dying a death.
I should note that after that brilliant Ramsey goal, the away end was singing "We've got our Arsenal back" which seems bit harsh. What is the "our Arsenal" they're referring to, if not Arsene Wenger's Arsenal? Anyway, eight wins in a row, six in the league, is pretty handy, even if their defence is still not all that.
Christie comes inside and shoots, heading the rebound into the box when it's blocked; Mitrovic is there too, in front of goal, but can only plop a header into Leno's arms.
Fulham have let in 19 goals this season. They don't have enough in attack to redeem that if it continues.
Torreira's been good today, and seeing Schurrle ahead of him, backs his pace so runs at him - he's right to too, because he beats his man easily, eliciting a foul and a yellow card.
Arsenal have a chance to go on and score a few more here, because Fulham are set up to attack but know the game is up.
GOAL! Fulham 1-3 Arsenal (Ramsey) Ramsey wins possession deep inside his own half and flicks it clear; it finds its way into centrefield and a backheel volley from Bellerin finds him again. he nods down quickly and Mkhitaryan then sweeps the ball wide, Monreal crosses .... AND THERE'S RAMSEY, BACKHEELING HOME A HALF-VOLLEY! WHAT A GOAL! RAMSEY HAD BEEN ON THE PITCH 38 SECONDS!
No, it's Iwobi, who's been decent today. Ramsey's wife is expecting twins and might not've played had the match been outside London, but here he is.
Ramsey is getting ready to come on, which will give arsenal decent running power on the break. Mkhitaryan will surely be hooked.
Fulham are now dominating possession; Arsenal are sitting back looking for a counter, which is one way of playing, but I'm not sure they've got the defence to back it up.
Change for Arsenal: Aubameyang replaces Welbeck.
Change for Fulham: McDonald replaces Anguissa.
Chance for Fulham! Schurrle switches play from one flank to the other and Christie crosses brilliantly ... Kamara is up, and it's a free header ... But he shoulders across the face!
Fulham again enjoy some possession, and Seri looks to slide a pass through to Schurrle who's found a pocket on the left of the box; Bellerin cuts it out.
In the meantime, Aubameyang is getting stripped; my guess is he'll replace Welbeck.
Mustafi leaps to head in front of Mitrovic and lands awkwardly. He's bashing the floor in pain, and that looked a right sair yin. He gets treatment, but it doesn't look a serious one.
But they lose possession and Lacazette leads a break; Vietto pulls him back and is booked.
Fulham have steadied slightly and are now enjoying a spot of possession.
Looks like Fulham are now deploying that back four. Kamara, an attacker, replaces Ream, a centre-back.
But here come Fulham, breaking up an Arsenal attack and finding Schurrle on the left. He squares for Vietto, who wants far too long and is robbed.
These first few minutes have been the best Arsenal have played today - even when they were in first-half ascendancy, their attacks were sporadic. I wonder if they'll get Aubameyang on to give Fulham another problem.
Fulham will have to go some to get back into this.
GOAL! Fulham 1-2 Arsenal (Lacazette) Arsenal have started the second half brilliantly! Lacazette takes the ball 25 yards out, left of centre, and before Bettinielli can set, he cleanses a low drive inside the near post! The keeper should've done better, but full marks to Lacazette for seeing the gap and attacking it so early.
Arsenal have started well and Iwobi keeps the ball in the screams past Anguissa to the line, crossing. The ball ends up being cleared into the path of Bellerin, who meets it well, spanking a low shot through Sessgnon that Betinelli dives to punch away. Good shot, good save.
Looks like Fulham are sticking with their back three, which I guess is fair enough; they've only played it for 45 minutes.But there's Iwobi down the left again, and he clips an aerial one this time ... but again Le Marchand is there to clear, ahead of Mkhitaryan.
Arsenal set us away again.
Arsenal were much the better side though far from devastating, and as soon as Fulham put a few moves together they equalised. The second half is set-up, see you for it presently.
Half-time: Fulham 1-1 Arsenal
There'll be one added minute.
GOAL! A LOVELY GOAL! Fulham 1-1 Arsenal (Schurrle) Anguissa intercepts a pass from Monreal and slides an immediate ball into the space he should be in, collected by Vietto, who's reverse-ball for Schurrle is beautifully clipped over Leno! The last few minutes had semi-flagged that, but even so, Arsenal will be steaming.
Better from Fulham, Sessegnon again the creator; he finds Schurrle on the left of the box, and with space reducing, he slashes across a shot that,s high and wide. But still, better.
There's Sessegon ... out in the left, and he drives a pass over the top for Mitrovic, who's escaped Mustafi. But Leno is out promptly to hump away.
This is a nice thing for Arsenal because these are competing for a place.
Fulham have been almost entirely unable to get Sessegnon on the ball; Vietto slides a five-yard ball to Christie, straight into touch.
Fulham have got nothing. They're making Arsenal look good.
You can almost accept Fulham struggling at the back, but their lack of coherence and zest going forward is harder to excuse. This Arsenal back five is neither familiar nor intimidating, but has been given an easy ride so far.
Mkhitaryan has space again, this time outside the box, and he smashes a drive that flies over the bar. Fulham need to do something here because if they don't, this match will be over before half-time.
More space for Iwobi, with Christie naewhere! He finds Welbeck, and another low cross looks certain to result in the second goal! But again, Le Marchand slides in just as Mkhitaryan is planning his celebration, Bettinelli blocks, and Fulham are tottering.
Iwobi is getting so much space here, and I guess a flaw of 3-5-2 is that it leaves space out wide. But you'd think Jokanovic would have anticipated that; it might be fairer to blame the absence of Fosu-Mensah, a one-man right flank, than the formation.
GOAL! Fulham 0-1 Arsenal (Lacazette) That left side again! Lacazette drops deep, controls, and sees Iwobi, who finds Monreal. By the time he crosses, Lacazette is in the box and his first touch to control, on the spin, is very good, allowing him to complete his turn and drive home a low finish. No side Premier League side has conceded more than Fulham this season, and they've yet to keep a clean sheet.
What both these sides are missing is a familiar pattern of play, which is one reason we're missing the kind of interplay that takes defences apart.
Schurrle's now on the left - it's nice to see him - and he moves in towards the top corner of the box and drives a low shot which Leno saves easily at his near post.
Almost every Arsenal attack has come down the Fulham right - in commentary, Robbie Savage suggests they revert to a back-four, but for now, Arsenal don't really look like scoring.
Christie slides a ball into Schurrle, close to the right by-line, and his cross to the near post is decent, but no one's gambled and the attack breaks down.
But this is better, Iwobi taking a pass from Welbeck and sliding a return - Welbeck has lanked ahead of him and into the box. His cut-back is a good one, too, but Le Marchand does brilliantly to slide in and clear.
Fulham need to get Seri on the ball higher up the pitch; Arsenal are missing Ozil, because Mkhitaryan is just running up and down.
Fulham look omre solid at the back with three, but they're struggling to get much going in attack. Schurrle has barely had a kick.
Fulham are enjoying most of the possession at the moment, even more so in the last five minute than previously. But they're struggling to make any chances - Holding and Mustafi are confident in the air, and crosses to Mitrovic are a big part of Fulham's plan.
Torreira looks like he might become a player. I'm not sure if his passing game is good enough at the moment, but he looks a right nasty little sort.
Christie finds himself with space to attack so he does, then swings in a cross, but Holding is there to nut clear. It's not so good, this.
Iwobi gets some space and sashays towards Odoi, jinking hither and yon, then Odoi tackles him easily and rides the matter-of-principle foul.
Anguissa dallies just outside the Fulham box and Monreal taxes him, then a heavy touch sends the ball over the goalline. a fine passage of best league in the world play.
Mitrovic introduces studs to achilles, Lacazette the recipient. "Not much in it," reckons Robert Savage.
The problem for Arsenal - not just for Arsenal, but for all the top Premier League sides apart from Manchester City - is that they lack a player able to dictate in midfield. Perhaps Spurs have that too, in Eriksen, but the others do not.
And now here come Fulham, Vietto crossing low for Mitrovic; he deftly turns the shot towards the near post, getting really good contact, but Mustafi slides in well to block.
But this is better from Arsenal, Xhaka dragging through midfield and finding Monreal, whose run takes the man away and allows the return pass to be sent to Iwobi, hitting the line. His low cross is decent too, but in the middle, Mkhitaryan is blocked off.
Fulham are the better side at the moment. Not by much, neither is doing a whole lot, but there's a bit more energy and purpose about their recovery of the ball.
The corner comes to nothing.
Bellerin looks up, turns inside, and slides a square pass to no one; Xhaka is paying equally little attention. So Vietto picks it up and without support, forces an angle to shoot ... the effort is deflected, eliciting a smart save out of Leno, who palms behind.
A scrappy start, but then Welbeck finds Mkhitaryan, 25 yards out, dead centre, and he slashes a shot wide and plenty.
Away we go!
Fulham's announcer is extremely excited.
So what does a good season for these look like? Fulham will fancy themselves too good for a relegation battle, but they're 17th now with just five points from seven games. They need to get a wriggle on.
Arsenal, meanwhile, are sixth, and a three-goal win will take them third above Spurs. They'll want top-four, but probably have a better chance of returning to Champions League by winning the Europa.
Anyway, here come the teams!
Remember when his mum gave him that key?
Michael Owen is wearing a three-piece suit with a waistcoat-cardigan hybrid, and trousers that don't match. It's a real treat.
Emery says he thinks Fulham will push a lot and it's a very big challenge for Arsenal to continue winning - it's eight in a row, incidentally - and gabbles some other platitudes.
The hashtag for this game is #FULARS. I'm saying nothing.
Apparently Fulham might be playing a back three today - we'll see. And it's also possible that Arsenal might try a 4-4-2 with Welbeck up front with Lacazette, rather than a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. Fascinating, Daniel.
Andre Schurrle says he likes the style of play at Fulham - passing with fast counters.
BT have got Martin Keown and Michael Owen in the studio. We're in for a treat!
I love the Cottage, and that's even before we've discussed the quality of hostelries in the vicinity.
I should also add that at the base of midfield, Arsenal have Xhaka and Torreira. My guess is that this will end up being Emery's first-choice combination.
I wonder, incidentally, if Arsenal might be a little leggy at the start and end of this one. Holding and Welbeck played 90 minutes at Qarabag, Iwobi 70, and most of the others schlepped there.
Arsenal, meanwhile, make various changes. Leno retains his place after midweek, as Cech is injured; Ozil is injured and not in the squad at all; Aubameyang is on the bench as is Ramsey; Mkhitaryan gets his first start in six weeks; Welbeck makes his first league start for Emery; and it's Holding and Mustafi at the back. Er, ok.
So Fulham make two changes following their 3-0 gubbing at Everton, both at full-back and both because of injury: Fosu-Mensah and Bryan drop out, with Christie and Le Marchand coming in. Arsenal will have noted that.
What sort of clown uses the verb "peruse"? Sake.
Let's peruse the teams...
Morning all, and welcome to yet another Sunday cruise through wall-to-wall, end-to-end, marriage-to-divorce, lovely football!
And we've got a decent one to start: Fulham have disappointed slightly on their return to the top division, but still have plenty of attacking enterprise and talent - while Arsenal, taking it slowly under Emery, also have plenty of attacking enterprise and talent. This will not be goalless.