Arsenal thrash Fulham as frontmen hit doubles
Travelling fans sing 'We've got our Arsenal back' as Unai Emery's side stretch their winning run to nine games
07 October, 2018 — By Steve Barnett
FULHAM 1 (Schurrle 44)
ARSENAL 5 (Lacazette 29, 49, Ramsey 67, Aubameyang 72, 90+1)
ARSENAL head coach Unai Emery says he “believes” in his players after watching them dismantle Fulham at Craven Cottage this afternoon (Sunday).
Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang helped themselves to two goals each, while Aaron Ramsey scored an early contender for goal-of-the-season as the Gunners ran out 5-1 victors.
The emphatic result stretches their winning run to nine games in all competitions, and sees them leap-frog rivals Tottenham to move into the Premier League top-four.
Far from being carried away, however, Emery spoke of “improvement” as his charges prepare for “the war” ahead.
“Our performance over the 90 minutes was very important; to be together and, with our performance, we found each moment and each player,” he said.
“The best performer for us is every player. I believe in us, we believe in our process but also we must keep taking confidence.
“I think we are in the first competition in the war. It is very difficult but we must prepare, continue improving and show big commitment.”
The Gunners took the lead on 29 minutes courtesy of a typical Lacazette goal. The French forward started and finished the move, spreading play out to Alex Iwobi on the left, who drove into the box and picked out Nacho Monreal. His low ball was instantly controlled by Lacazette, who then turned in a flash and finished inside the post.
With Emery no doubt preparing a positive half-time team talk, Fulham struck to perhaps change his tone.
Monreal misplaced his pass, allowing Luciano Vietto, who has already set up four goals this season, to do what he does best. He picked out Andre Schurrle, who made amends for a miss seconds earlier with a superb, dinked finish over the onrushing Bernd Leno.
Perhaps Emery stuck to his original team talk during the break, but whatever the Spaniard said did just the trick as the visitors came out firing on all cylinders.
Within minutes of the restart Iwobi’s low cross was deflected back out to Hector Bellerin, whose fierce drive looked destined for the top corner until Fulham keeper Marcus Bettinelli stuck out a hand to make the save of the afternoon.
Moments after the brilliant save, however, the England keeper was picking the ball out of the back of the net after being caught out by Lacazette, who showed great awareness and precision as he fired the ball into the bottom corner from all of 25 yards.
Ramsey then reminded the travelling fans what they will be missing if, as is being reported, he’s allowed to leave in the summer when his current contract expires.
Just 38 seconds after coming on as a substitute the Welshman added a third. A flowing move oozing with one-touch passing, neat headers, flicks and tricks ended at the feet of fellow substitute Aubameyang, who swept the ball across the face of the Fulham goal for Ramsey to flick past Bettinelli. Sublime.
Aubameyang got in on the act 11 minutes from time, swivelling on a low cross from Bellerin before side-footing the ball into the far corner. The striker then completed the rout in stoppage time to the delight of travelling Gooners, who could be heard chanting “we’ve got our Arsenal back”.
FULHAM: Bettinelli, Christie, Odoi, Ream (Kamara, 55), Le Marchand, Seri, Zambo (McDonald, 62), Vietto (Johansen, 83), Schurrle, Sessegnon, Mitrovic.
Subs not used: Ayite, Sergio Rico, Mawson, Steven Sessegnon.
ARSENAL: Leno, Bellerin, Holding, Mustafi, Monreal, Torreira, Xhaka, Mkhitaryan, Iwobi (Ramsey, 67), Welbeck (Aubameyang, 62), Lacazette (Guendouzi, 81).
Subs not used: Martinez, Sokratis, Lichtsteiner, Kolasinac.