Hello and welcome to the post-game write up for Save By The Bellerin on the Sports Talk Line network. Let's dive straight into it.
Fulham 0 – Arsenal 3
Arsenal off to the dream start and 3 very important points on a sunny Saturday afternoon at craven cottage. The first 10 minutes of the game as to be expected was a very cagey affair, both teams trying to feel each other out, a lot of passing around the back lines from both teams within the first 5 minutes there was a miscommunication between Gabriel Magalhaes and Leno, follow a back pass from Ainsley Maitland Niles. Lucky for the gunners the German number one was able to get a solid glove on the ball as Kamara was looking to round the keeper, following that Gabriel Magalhaes cleared the ball, that seemingly shifted the early game nerves from the towering Brazilian.
On the 8th minute mark, Granit Xhaka has a shot towards the goal where the ball ricochets off Ream, towards Willian who poked it towards to goal and came off the keep to Lacazette so he's able to sweep the ball in. 1 nil to The Arsenal. Following the goal both teams were trying to get the opposition out of shape by passing from side to side with some diagonal passing, Fulham went down their right-hand side Odoi whipped in the ball before getting an absolute clattering from Ainsley Maitland Niles, maybe lucky not to see yellow as it was slightly late the subsequence freekick didn’t come to much.
Moving onto the 21st minute now Lacazette committed a foul on Tom Cairney who stuck an elbow into the throat of Lacazette, referee seemed to think that nothing was in it from what we could see on the TV no VAR referral. Cairney lucky to come away without a booking. 25th minute we saw Hector Bellerin drive in from the right flank from deep, charging towards the Fulham backline when closed down Hector laid the ball off to Lacazette who was fouled by Michael Hector, yellow card for Michael. The following freekick by Willian was a beautifully whipped freekick that struck the bottom of the post on the goal keeper’s side. So unlucky. Fulham had quite a bit of possession but not really doing much with it they were probing down both sides, but Arsenal had a very good structure which really limited Fulham’s ability to mount any kind of attack. This time on the 29th minute they managed to get down the Arsenal left Odoi flashed a cross across but there was a push on Gabriel Magalhaes, Freekick Arsenal.
Arsenal on the 32nd minute were moving Fulham across the pitch waiting to strike AMN with the ball passed a brilliant ball down the channel for Lacazette, unfortunately, Lacazette ran out of pitch goal kick to Fulham.
Arsenal won the ball back from the goal kick which saw a great pass to Aubameyang who found Lacazette who crossed the ball into the middle unfortunately the linesman flag was up offside.
With Fulham in possession pushing down the left-hand side, we saw the defensive ability of Willian who came back battled well, and won the ball, from there the ball finds itself at the feet of Xhaka who lifted his head played a long ball to Aubameyang one touch, shoots low, saved by the keeper. Great play by Arsenal.
Aubameyang working hard for the team on the 38th minute closing down the fullback makes the foul, yellow card for our captain. The freekick Fulham decided to go backwards to the center-backs, who tried to play the ball out the wing misplaced the pass throw in Arsenal. AMN on the 40th minute whips a ball into the box just over Ream with Lacazette behind him, Fulham goal kick. Moving onto the close of the half Fulham are trying to push the ball into the Kamara the ball rolls through to Leno, the ball rolled out to the center backs, Rob Holding and Gabriel Magalhaes playing passes to each other, Gabriel Magalhaes plays the ball long to Aubameyang mid-way in the Fulham half challenged and out for a throw-in. 45th minute Fulham freekick again whipped in Gabriel Magalhaes away, into injury time Fulham have a corner holding away. That sound is the referees whistle half time. Fulham 0 Arsenal 1.
And were back Arsenal Kick off, balls played back to Xhaka who goes long looking for Willian ball goes out of play for a Fulham throw. 46th minute we see Aubameyang leaving the Fulham fullback for dust, Auba heading toward the Fulham box Tim Ream comes across as Auba was looking to find Lacazette in the middle Ream blocks Arsenal throw.
Balls up in the air on the 47th minute, Rob holding is being ushered under the ball shows his strength to then win the ball and drives towards the Fulham penalty area with an unconventional method doing keeps uppys through the Fulham midfield he finds Lacazette with a through ball Laca with a low cross blocked Arsenal Corner. Arsenal have plenty of bodies around the goalkeeper. Corner gets whipped in by Willian, his fellow Brazilian the towering Gabriel Magalhaes has scored on his debut with a firm header that nutmegs the goalkeeper whilst going into the back of the net. A great goal for him on his debut. 0 – 2 Arsenal.
Moving into the 52nd minute Fulham are playing around the back of the defence looking for an opportunity to get up the pitch. They think the have an option down the wing AMN comes I and steals the ball to set Arsenal off on another attack. We lost the ball in the corner but in comes Elneny Fulham are unable to get past Elneny who sets Willian off who is then intern brought down, freekick to Arsenal.
54th Minute, Karama tries to run the Gabriel Magalhaes down the line, Gabriel holds him up he, in turn, passes the ball into Ivan Cavalerio path, Hector Bellerin brings him down with what can only be described as a rugby tackle. Freekick Fulham. The Ball is played into the Arsenal box Lacazette heads the ball away but only the Kamara who shoots low, Flashes past the Arsenal post.
56th Minute arsenal are breaking away Lacazette is brought down, Willian picks up the ball and the referee waves play on, Willian delivers a delicious inch-perfect Crossfield ball to Auba, chest control, one-touch shifts the ball out onto his right foot, unleashes the ball towards the far corner. It’s in Fulham 0 – Arsenal 3. Willian has 3 assists for the afternoon cracking the start to his Arsenal career.
Willian on the 60th-minute mark is driving in the centre of the pitch towards the Fulham goal brought down by Tom Cairney, Tom Cairney looks up to a yellow card and his name in the book. Xhaka takes the free-kick and fires the ball straight into the wall. The ball goes off and here comes the 4th official Fulham are making a double substitution to try and get themselves back into the game, Coming on is Mitrovic off goes Kamara and Kebano goes off for Zambo Anguissa.
64th minute Fulham are still trying to probe this Arsenal team without much luck Arsenal are just restricting the passing lanes and really nullifying Fulham. Fulham try to put the ball into the box but just too long. The ball returns to Mitrovic who shoots straight at Leno. A few minutes later Arsenal are allowing Fulham to have the ball sitting back in the solid defensive shape, getting a bit of a breather, 67th minute Lacazette wins the ball, and then is fouled by Onomah.
Arsenal playing in and around the Fulham area on the 68th minute looking for the most opportune time to strike. Aubameyang fouled in the build-up. Arsenal freekick, Willian standing over it. Willian plays it into Xhaka headed away back to Xhaka he puts the ball back into the box Rob Holding standing in an offside position.
Arsenal with a delicious passage of play on the 70th minute, Tierney finds Aubameyang down the left-hand side with what you can only describe as an amazing ball, Auba plays it into Lacazette, Shoots at the keeper, greatly save it comes back to Bellerin who can't sort his feet out, he does shoot blocked. Play is brought back due to Aubameyang being offside in the build-up.
Coming into the final third of the game Arsenal are working both sides trying to move Fulham out of Shape, the ball gets played into Xhaka he receives a heavy challenge from Michael Hector, who hasn’t got the ball bearing in mind he’s on a yellow card. Granit stays down and the ball goes out of play so Granit can get some treatment. Xhaka is up on his feet 15 minutes left to play Arsenal’s turn now for a substitution. Willian off for Pepe and Fulham make a change of their own. Onomah off and Reid on.
Mitrovic has the ball in a wide area whips the ball in and it flashes across the from on the goal. You would really want him at the end of those. On the 77th minute now Hector Bellerin has found Aubameyang with a lovely ball, Aubameyang round the keeper shoots, and headered off the line. Another change for Arsenal Granit Xhaka’s number is up and up flashes the number 8 Dani Ceballos is on. Fulham freekick Rob holding is tussling with Mitrovic and has given away the foul, Fulham play the ball into Arsenal’s box, Kieran Tierney heads the ball to safety. Reid Crosses the ball Holding away this time. 81st Minute Arsenal in the possession and comfortably in control until Michael Hector in with another foul.
Arsenal on the attack down the right Bellerin finds Pepe down the line who’s now in the box. Pepe Jinx past the defender plays it across to Aubameyang flicks it towards a goal, off the line again.
85th minute Fulham has a corner, Bryan plays it in and headered away from the goal by none other than Gabriel Magalhaes he’s been an absolute rock at the back. 86th Eddie Nketiah enters the pitch replacing Lacazette. Since coming on Dani Ceballos has dictated play and has been at the centre of all the moves, it would not be long until he’s back in the starting line up. 89th minute Bobby Reid spots Leno off his line tries the long-range shot which was well dreadful. No concern on the German's face. 91st minute Fulham from deep cross the ball into Mitrovic who has a little push on Gabriel Magalhaes foul and a free-kick for Arsenal. Just like most of the match Fulham have the ball and struggling for ideas on how to break Arsenal down. Then there is the final whistle.
Fulham 0 – Arsenal 3
SBTB MOTM: Willian And Gabriel Magalhaes
Great 3 points for Arsenal. Always great to get the season off to a good start with a win.
For more regarding the match keep an eye out on the Sportstalkline network for the SBTB Podcast on Tuesday 15th September for Game breakdown and analysts and transfers.