Arsenal beats Fulham 3-1 in EPL
Germany striker Lukas Podolski scored a brace and Olivier Giroud
grabbed his third goal in as many games as Arsenal recovered from
its poor start to the Premier League season to earn its first
points with a 3-1 win at London rivals Fulham on Saturday.
Arsene Wenger’s team bounced back from a home defeat against
Aston Villa in a convincing manner, looking in total control most
of the time at a rain-soaked Craven Cottage.
Giroud scored the opener in the 14th minute with a left-footed
shot from close range and Podolski doubled the visitors’ lead four
minutes before halftime with an excellent finish. Podolski
completed the comfortable victory in the 68th after being set up by
England forward Darren Bent pulled one back for Fulham in the
It was Fulham’s first loss this season after it opened the
campaign with a win at Sunderland.
”It’s never easy to play away or win away and we did it in a
convincing way,” Wenger said. ”We had a disappointing result
against Villa and it was important to respond.”
The win is likely to appease Arsenal fans, who voiced their
discontent and concerns after the Villa loss, urging their club to
bring in new players.
Wenger, who is still hoping he can make a marquee signing before
the end of the transfer window, left England midfielder Jack
Wilshere on the bench to give Podolski a start while Fulham manager
Martin Jol handed a debut to England midfielder Scott Parker,
recruited from Tottenham earlier this week.
The match was played in difficult conditions, with heavy rain
falling on the pitch. Arsenal created its first chance after 12
minutes when Theo Walcott’s effort was parried away by Fulham
goalkeeper David Stockdale, who replaced the injured Maarten
Giroud opened the scoring two minutes later, tucking in the ball
past Stockdale for his third goal in three games in all
competitions this season after Aaron Ramsey’s attempt deflected
into the French striker’s path.
Giroud had also scored in Arsenal’s opening 3-1 home loss to
Aston Villa and during the 3-0 win at Fenerbahce in the first leg
of their UEFA Champions League play-off.
”We picked up where we left off at Fenerbahce and played very
well,” said Aaron Ramsey. ”Lukas has a lethal left foot and
proved that again.”
Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny kept the Gunners ahead soon
after with a double save, first blocking Adel Taarabt’s shot then
stopping Damien Duff’s right-footed shot in the 16th minute.
Fulham then created chances through Taarabt but lacked the
finishing touch. Parker went close after being assisted by Dimitar
Berbatov but his left-footed shot from outside the box went over
the bar in the 30th.
Arsenal doubled its lead ten minutes later as Podolski showed
his finishing qualities, scoring from the edge of the box after a
rebound off Walcott’s shot.
Fulham got off to a good second-half start and made Szczesny
work, with the Arsenal `keeper forced to deny another of Taarabt’s
efforts minutes before Bacary Sagna’s sliding tackle stopped
Parker’s burst into the area.
But Podolski sealed Arsenal’s win in the 68th minute with a shot
between the legs of a defender that ended in the far corner.
Bent, on a season-long loan deal from Aston Villa, gave the home
fans something to cheer, tapping in the ball from close range after
Szczesny failed to block a shot from Berbatov.