The Gunners made a fast start with Gabriel Martinelli twice going close in the opening seven minutes. Fulham improved but were fortunate to go in level at the break when Dani Ceballos’ superb header was ruled out by VAR for a narrow offside in the build-up.
The away side continued to defend solidly and were handed a huge opportunity just shy of the hour when Gabriel was adjudged to have fouled Mario Lemina in the area. Maja stood forward and confidently crashed home the spot kick to claim his third goal for the club.
However, Nketiah's goal means Fulham are six points off Burnley having played two games more in the fight to beat the drop. Arsenal's hopes of finishing in the European places also took a hit as they stay ninth.
Next up, Arsenal host Everton on Friday. Fulham are not in action until May 1st when they visit Chelsea.
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Dramatic finale leaves Fulham staring down the barrel. It was more late goal heartache for Fulham and they may well look back on recent results and rue what might have been come the conclusion of the campaign. Nketiah’s strike came so, so late in the contest and leaves their hopes of avoiding the drop looking slim. They clearly need snookers given their rivals to beat the drop have games in hand and the Cottagers just have five to play. They aren’t easy ones either with Chelsea (a), Burnley (H), Southampton (a), Man United (a) and Newcastle (H) to come. It looks bleak but Scott Parker’s men will keep fighting and hope for a dramatic turnaround.
As for Arsenal, it was almost another shocker following European exertions. They may well point to a harsh VAR decision in the first period, but in truth they didn’t do enough for large spells when they were on top. The nature of the draw will leave a more positive vibe amongst the camp at the end of what is a week of success, but the truth is that their hopes of a top seven finish are not looking good and all of their eggs are very much in the Europa League basket now.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal). The forward received the SOS from his manager when the in-form Alexandre Lacazette was forced off injured in the second period. He responded with a real poacher’s goal to snatch a point from the jaws of defeat.
Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Fulham at Emirates Stadium
Image credit: Getty Images
ARSENAL: Ryan 7, Bellerin 7, Holding 7, Gabriel 6, Saka 7, Xhaka 7, Ceballos 7, Elneny 6, Smith Rowe 7, Lacazette 6, Martinelli 7. Subs: Pepe 6, Partey 6, Nketiah 7.
FULHAM: Areola 7, Aina 7, Andersen 7, Tosin 7, Robinson 7, Lemina 7, Anguissa 7, Decordova-Reid 7, Cavaleiro 6, Lookman 6, Maja 7. Subs: Reed 7, Loftus-Cheek 6, Bryan n/a.
2’ – ARSENAL CHANCE! Fulham fail to deal with diagonal ball to the left flank. It drops for Lacazette who shows how full of confidence he is with a deft through ball for Martinelli, who can only flick wide of the far post.
7’ – ARSENAL CHANCE! Areola springs to his left to keep out Martinelli's tame shot on the turn after a super run and cut back on the right by Smith-Rowe.
21’ – FULHAM CHANCE! A speculative shot deflects into the path of Maja but his snap effort clips a defender and bobbles inches past the post with Ryan seemingly beaten.
40’ – ARSENAL GOAL CHALKED OFF BY VAR! Ceballos rises at the far post to guide Bellerin's cute cross into the corner - but it won’t count. It’s ruled out by VAR for the tightest of offside calls against Saka in the build-up.
59’ - GOAL! – Arsenal 0-1 Fulham. The visitors snatch the lead. Maja rifles the spot kick into the roof of the net as Ryan dives the opposite way. The penalty was awarded after Gabriel caught Lemina in the area.
67’ – ARSENAL CHANCE! Bellerin nods a free header inches past the far post from a left-wing delivery.
72’ – ARSENAL CHANCE! Martinelli beats Areola to the ball and digs out a cross from the right byline. Pepe rises at the far post but sees his header brilliantly kept out by the keeper, who recovered well to get back on his line and deny the hosts.
90+7’ - GOAL! – Arsenal 1-1 Fulham. Nketiah stabs home at the far post after Fulham failed to deal with a left-wing corner that was flicked on by Gunners keeper Mat Ryan.
Josh Maja of Fulham celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Fulham at Emirates Stadium
Image credit: Getty Images
Mat Ryan is only the second goalkeeper to record a touch in the opposition box in a Premier League game this season, after Aaron Ramsdale, who has done so twice.
Fulham have now dropped more points from winning positions away from home than any other team in the Premier League this season.