By Dan Ferguson
Xhaka captain today. Wow!
OK, let’s see how this goes.
Playing out from Leno with more confidence. But three poor passes from Bellerin puts us under needless pressure and enlivens Fulham.
Arsenal carve Fulham to pieces but cannot finish.
But then Fulham break immediately and it takes a smart block from Mustafi on Mitrovic to stop a goal scoring chance. Good defending at the last, but too open in the transition.
It’s nice to see the midfielders blocking the out ball to Mitrovic and Vietto, yet they are still making power runs into space. Wear yourselves out boys! Works in our favour.
On 9 Mitrovic treads on Lacazette‘s ankle. That was nasty. Both teams are pressing pretty high and playing dynamic, aggressive one and two touch play. Someone will score soon.
Iwobi is lively but keeps getting caught showing the ball on his right foot coming off the left. He needs some left foot out ball or to spin his body fast to protect and play back down the line to Monreal.
Mitrovic is the proverbial ‘unit’. With his arms coloured in, he looks like a 90s action movie bad boy.
Arsenal appears to have an extra man in the centre of midfield. They have to make it count. They are really pressuring Sessegnon into doing all his work in his defensive third. He doesn’t look happy in the first 20. Not able to show his worth yet.
Welbeck and Iwobi starting to click on 23.
Arsenal pushing and pulling Fulham around now. There is space to dictate now.
Fulham getting the rub of the green on 25 and Sessegnon starting to play further forward.
Lacazette is a really good hustler who makes the opposition uncomfortable on the ball.
On 28 his goal comes. Really well worked between the players on the left and Fulham couldn’t keep up. Arsenal have given them enough indication that this is their chosen avenue. Well done Iwobi and Monreal for pushing so hard and Lacazette is a man in form.
1-0. Now let’s hold and build.
Iwobi nutmeg on Christie on 30. Taxi!
Arsenal are slaughtering Fulham down the left. They have identified Christie as the weak link and are giving him nightmares.
On 33, I get the feeling Arsenal are having their best ten minutes under Emery. They are clicking in all areas.
As soon as I type that Torreira goes down injured and Arsenal lose all momentum.
All Fulham now, but Arsenal containing them well.
On 42 Arsenal makes their second big error and should have been an equaliser. Shame that they try to play out from the back on every occasion. Sometimes they have to lump it.
Fulham cut Arsenal to ribbons on 44 and Schurrle scores well.
Monreal sloppy and the Arsenal centre backs are statues. Schurrle chips Leno and Fulham are right back in this, against the run of play. Bad play by Monreal and these are the kind of games we need to see out. But I feel less concerned because of how Arsenal are playing up front.
Half time :1-1.
Arsenal starts the second half very fast and Bellerin could have scored in 48 but for a great save.
And immediately at the turnover from the Bellerin chance, Lacazette scores an even better goal than his first. He is a finisher and a half. He really is. More Wright than Wreh. Quite simple almost route one build up and a spank on the edge of the area. Lovely.
Mitrovic looks a little cumbersome at times. Almost unfit or overweight. He’s got some talent though.
A brief word on Xhaka. He’s definitely playing better as the season progresses and it is no coincidence that Torreira is giving him the motivation to think before acting.
For an 18-year-old Sessegnon has an amazing touch and feel for the game.
Lacazette is running Fulham ragged. He is getting them in all kinds of knots. Fulham press because they have to but they look scared by what they leave open for the counter.
On 62 Fulham still showing signs they could open Arsenal up still. Should have scored.
Torreira’s interceptions today have been immense. He’s some player.
Iwobi and Welbeck off around 65. As soon as they dipped Emery hauls then off. Very interesting. Ramsey and Aubameyang on.
On 67 Ramsey scores one of the best team goals.
Fans singing “We’ve got our Arsenal back!” Ramsey’s goal will be replayed a hell of a lot. It was such a well-worked team goal and a finish reminiscent of Henry and Pires.
On 73 Fulham is still creating chances. They may yet still be in this game. Unlikely though.
On 79 Arsenal click and fire again this time Bellerin and Aubameyang combine and a superb finish like Lacazette’s first. Arsenal as good as anything I’ve seen from them for ages. Fabulous (and I don’t use that word lightly). You can only beat what’s in front of you.
Playing with swagger. Seeing the game out nicely. Still testing Fulham’s defence enough to keep them pinned back, but playing so well.
Torreira is MOTM I think.
Arsenal playing in third gear and Fulham in first. Fulham’s defence is woeful. Toying with Fulham, Sessegnon looks shell-shocked.
5-1 with Aubameyang scoring again after some sublime team play.
Arsenal are on fire! Just incredible.