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

Santi Cazorla.

England forward Darren Bent pulled one back for Fulham in the

77th.

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

Stekelenburg.

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.