Arsenal vs Fulham: Gabriel winner makes amends, keeps Gunners perfect
Gabriel Magalhaes made amends for a terrible gaffe, scoring late to lead Arsenal to a 2-1 comeback win over Fulham in an interesting London derby at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
Mikel Arteta was left smiling despite Gabriel’s error helping Aleksandar Mitrovic to an early second-half goal and putting Fulham in charge.
Not for long, however, as Martin Odegaard solved Bukayo Saka eight minutes later and Gabriel bundled home a winner with five minutes left. Aaron Ramsdale then made a big late stop to secure the three points for still-perfect Arsenal.
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The Gunners will finish the weekend with a league-best 12 points, two more than Man City and Brighton. North London rival Tottenham can also get to 10 points if it beats Nottingham Forest on Sunday.
What we learned from Arsenal vs Fulham
Gabriel (the defender) makes amends: Gabriel Magalhaes is undoubtedly, unquestionably the reason Arsenal trailed, giving away a ball inside the box with not one, not two, but three goofy touches that helped Aleksandar Mitrovic to a wide-open chance in his office. And while Bernd Leno, previously one of Fulham’s stars, bungled a late corner kick, it was Gabriel who cleaned up the mess and put Arsenal ahead 2-1 to preserve the Gunners’ perfect start to the Premier League season.
Odegaard so special: Arsenal’s captain is a calm, creative, and classy midfielder who splashes at least 2-3 true highlights around the pitch per game. His goal, of course, will get a lot of plaudits but he’s even more important than Bukayo Saka and perhaps Gabriel Jesus as the Gunners seek to become a title-contending force.
Fulham’s pretty solid, you guys: There’s not a lot of flash to Marco Silva’s system which asks that the wingers run their shorts off and the playmakers try to find Aleksandar Mitrovic, but the Cottagers are sturdy and solid. There’s a promising midfield there that’s going to have off days against sides that are stronger and faster, and they are much steadier at the back than their last leaky campaign in the Premier League. If Bernd Leno can be a difference maker in the tight games, especially when under siege, this could be a perfectly-boring safety season. And Leno can be that guy,
Missing players, not missing points: Arsenal needs to win home games against newly-promoted teams -- yes, we know we’re supposed to mention something about derbies being difficult -- if it’s going to take the next step. GIven the absences of Thomas Partey and Oleksandr Zinchenko, the moral victory of coming back is a nice note and a point would’ve been okay. It also would’ve been more acceptable for a “just get into fourth and back to the Champions League” campaign than it is a true “Arsenal is back” campaign. Those margins matter, and so the scrappy winner provided two big points.
Leno stars, makes error. Ramsdale quiet, then secures point: For 85 minutes, this game looked like a Bernd Leno revenge game. And Aaron Ramsdale only needed to make a single save on the route from 0-0 to 0-1 to 2-1. He needed to stand much taller after that last goal, which was aided by Leno’s only rear error against his former team, and he did within two minutes of restart when he made a huge save.
There was joy to be found for Fulham in attack, especially of the counter variety, but the Cottagers were all about being solid in the middle and allowing as few chances as possible. When they did allow them, until late, this was a big game for former teammate Bernd Leno. But Arsenal worked over Andreas Pereira, Harrison Reed, and to a lesser extent Joao Palhinha in having their way in the center of the park. Ultimately that was Fulham’s undoing, as its back four was quite strong and kept Gabriel Jesus from the score sheet.
Stars of the show
How to watch Arsenal vs Fulham live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 12:30pm ET, SaturdayTV Channel: NBCOnline: Stream via NBCSports.com
Arsenal team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Reiss Nelson (thigh), Oleksandr Zinchenko (knee), Thomas Partey (thigh)
Fulham team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Harry Wilson (knee), Neeskens Kebano (groin), Manor Solomon (knee)