Post-Match Report

Premier League - Fulham 1-3 Arsenal

13/14: Fulham 1-3 Arsenal - Lukas Podolski
Lukas Podolski celebrates

Fulham -

Craven Cottage
Barclays Premier League
Barclays Premier League
              Darren Bent (77)
Darren Bent (77)
1 3
                  Olivier Giroud (14)
                   Lukas Podolski (41
Olivier Giroud (14)
Lukas Podolski (41

Lukas Podolski bagged a brace as Arsenal stormed to a 3-1 win at Fulham on Saturday.

Olivier Giroud poked the visitors in front after 14 minutes, making it three goals in three games for him this season.

Podolski, in contrast, had not started in the current campaign. But he would make up for that by burying a pair of shots from the edge of the area.

The first came five minutes before the break to quell a Fulham revival. The second, midway through the second half, all but secured the points.

Substitute Darren Bent slid in a goal 13 minutes from time to create some sort of finale. But Arsenal did more than enough to see out the game.

It was the Club’s 300th Premier League win in the capital and their 100th in London derbies.

There were further milestones: Jack Wilshere made his 100th appearance for the Club, Yaya Sonogo made his first and the win represented Arsenal's sixth straight success away from home in the Premier League - a stat that includes last season of course.

More importantly, it got the current domestic campaign properly up and running.

The season was only eight days old but, for Wenger, games were already stacking up. As a result, he rested Jack Wilshere in favour of Podolski. The German started on the left and, as a result, Santi Cazorla came in the centre, a move that pushed Tomas Rosicky into a more defensive role.

The other change was enforced. Laurent Koscielny was injured and suspended so Bacary Sagna started at centre back and Carl Jenkinson came in on the right.

Arsenal had the best record in the Premier League in London derbies last season but the capital would not be kind to them today. Rain had lashed down all morning and it would be incessant throughout the first half.

However the conditions did not affect Arsenal. They had been precise and incisive in the heat of Turkey in midweek and they were the same in the wet today.

In the 10th minute, Rosicky flicked a ball over the Fulham defence into the right-hand channel. The home defence looked for offside but replays proved Sascha Riether was the last man. Theo Walcott collected and got his shot away however David Stockdale blocked with his legs.

The chance pushed Arsenal into the ascendency. They spent the next few minutes probing the Fulham defence from all angles.

And then they scored.

There was a dash of good fortune about the 14th-minute strike – but Arsenal’s overall play deserved it. Ramsey had a dip from distance and, en route, the ball got stuck under the feet of Giroud. It fell nicely for the Frenchman to prod past the goalkeeper from close range.

The goal had been coming but Fulham responded quickly.

Two minutes later, Adel Taraabt’s probing, low shot was wonderfully pushed aside by Wojciech Szczesny but it fell to the onrushing Damien Duff. The Irishman fired in the rebound first time but the keeper recovered quickly to block the drive.

As the game went on, Fulham wrestled the initiative and began searching for an equaliser.

Scott Parker lifted an effort over the bar and, at times, Taarabt ran merry down the left-hand side. The Moroccan international had a few speculative shots himself and, on the half-hour, fed John Arne Riise, whose inquisitive cross was cleared expertly by Per Mertesacker. The German would have a great game.

Fulham were now feeling confident enough to commit themselves forward.

It would be their undoing.

In the 38th minute, Theo Walcott led a breakaway and Kieran Gibbs drove wide.

Three minutes later the pace of the Englishman outstripped the Fulham defence and, although Stockdale saved at the near post, Podolski belted home the rebound from the edge of the area.

At the break, Fulham could argue the margin of the deficit was harsh but the visitors had been the more penetrative side.

Taarabt draw a decent low save from Szczesny in the early seconds of the second half and only Sagna’s slide prevented Parker going clear on goal.

The game was now vibrant and pacy with opportunities at both ends.

Walcott was denied by a superbly-timed challenge from Riise. Then, after the Englishman’s header was saved, Ramsey’s swiveling shot was deflected wide.

Arsenal had sufficient control and were seemingly asking Fulham to change the circumstances of the game – as they were quite happy with their situation.

And they would get happier.

After 68 minutes, Cazorla reached the byline and tapped the ball back for Podolski to thump home his second of the game.

That seemed to be that.

However, 17 minutes from time, Dimitar Berbatov’s shot was tipped to the far post by Szczesny and Bent slotted home.

But Arsenal tried to retrieve their three-goal lead. Mertesacker and then Wilshere were denied after Nacho Monreal won a free-kick on the left.

Fulham tried to take the game to the visitors but it only made them more vulnerable.

Walcott nearly set up substitute Yaya Sanogo for a tap-in and then the Englishman was denied by Stockdale.

But Arsenal had done enough.

Referee: Howard Webb
Attendance: 25622

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