Report: Arsenal 2 – 1 Fulham fine brace from Samir Nasri settled what was a pulsating clash with Fulham at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners once again managed to turn a cruising start into a nervy finish as a familiar combination of profligate finishing in attack and a wobbly defense saw Kamara somehow cancel out Nasri’s early goal well against the run of play.

But Arsenal snatched the points at home this time as another remarkable goal from Nasri sent Wenger’s men to the top of the Premier League table.

United’s postponed match at Blackpool and Chelsea’s draw with Everton meant that Arsenal returned to the summit, however, the Gunners will know that they cannot keep doing things the hard way in the Premier League.

This was far from a champion performance, more from a side that had lost their last two home league games.

The Gunners announced before the match that their players and directors had agreed to donate their day’s wages to Centrepoint.

They had been less than charitable down the years to Fulham, who had never won at Arsenal in more than a century of trying.

That wait looked set to continue when Nasri’s spectacular opener put the home side ahead in the 14th minute.

Andrey Arshavin pounced on Aaron Hughes’ error before feeding the France star, who sold two sublime dummies before lashing the ball into the top corner.

Nasri was already guilty of a glaring miss following more superb work by the rampant Arshavin, who was running the show two days after helping his native Russia win the right to host the 2018 World Cup.

The first chance of the game had fallen to the striker, his close-range volley blocked by Mark Schwarzer, who had looked certain to join Arsenal in January before signing a new contract with Fulham on Thursday.

Arshavin and Nasri continued to pull the strings – the latter tormenting recalled Fulham youngster Matthew Briggs, who was withdrawn for Chris Baird.

But Marouane Chamakh and Alex Song were both guilty of more profligate play that would come back to haunt the Gunners, whose offside trap was looking particularly suspect.

On the half-hour mark, Sebastien Squillaci and Laurent Koscielny collided going for the same ball and Clint Dempsey took full advantage of the carnage to slide in Kamara, who side-footed home.

Koscielny, who played on for a short period before going down with his head injury to leave referee Chris Foy uncertain about stopping the match, was in a bad way and was carried off on a stretcher to be replaced by Johan Djourou.

Both sides should have scored on the stroke of half-time, Chamakh powering a header straight at Schwarzer from Bacary Sagna’s brilliant run and cross, and Kamara hitting the legs of Lukasz Fabianski after being played in behind by Dickson Etuhu.

Tomas Rosicky hooked a 52nd minute volley wide as Arsenal tried to build some momentum after the restart.

Arshavin’s dancing feet and near-post drive brought another good stop by Schwarzer but Fulham were refusing to be overawed and saw plenty of the ball themselves.

Etuhu sent a free header wide from Simon Davies’ corner before Arsenal withdrew Rosicky for Robin van Persie.

The home fans’ frustration grew when Song wasted all his good work outmuscling John Pantsil by blazing over the top.

Fulham were denied a shock lead in the 70th minute when a corner was deflected to Zoltan Gera, whose header was cleared off the line.

Gera then sent a spectacular overhead kick wide before Kamara was sacrificed for Andy Johnson and Wilshere was withdrawn for Theo Walcott.

Arsenal’s change paid off in spectacular fashion with 15 minutes remaining, a brilliant flowing move seeing Van Persie square for Nasri.

The Frenchman still had men to beat, but did so with some unbelievable footwork, rounding Schwarzer and pirouetting to net from a tight angle.

The visitors proved they were far from beaten when Etuhu dragged narrowly wide minutes later but Chamakh should have killed them off when he sent a shot over on the turn.

Nasri looked to be struggling, signalling he wanted to come off, but Arsenal had used all their substitutions and he played on.

Fulham poured forward and the home defence was definitely creaking, with Gera’s well-struck volley forcing a fine Fabianski save.

Eddie Johnson came on for Danny Murphy for the closing moments but Arsenal held on.

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10 thoughts on “Report: Arsenal 2 – 1 Fulham

  1. nasri is legend ……………arsenal is my life…………IN arsene we trust……….top of the table atlastttttttt……..phew

  2. Can anyone really believe we’re top after so many poor performances at home? I’m not complaining, though, because top is where we are! Nasri has proven that there will be life after Fabregas when the latter inevitably departs for Barcelona, and his two goals today were of the highest calibre – poise, control, technique and, most importantly, the finish. Here are my ratings if anyone’s interested…

    Fabianski (7) – two crucial saves from Kamara and Gera and made a couple of excellent punches. Still not convinced he is the answer to our goalkeeping problems but he’s hugely improved.

    Sagna (7) – typically solid performance and one lung-bursting run and cross in the first half.

    Squillaci (6) – clash of heads with Koscielny led to the Fulham goal, and a couple of weak defensive headers could have proven costly. OK otherwise. Vermaelen’s absence is still costing us, though.

    Koscielny (5) – unfortunate head injury ended his game prematurely; hope he’s OK. We don’t need any more injuries back there.

    Clichy (7) – Good game; no errors and was as determined as ever. Put in one very good cross in the first half.

    Nasri (9) – What more can you say about this young man? Two absolutely sublime strikes – that’s 11 goals in 13 starts now, which is amazing for a midfielder. I still think he can get a lot better as well, which is a frightening prospect!

    Song (6) – Should not have shot after the error from Paintsil and missed a great chance on the volley.

    Wilshere (6) – Quiet by his standards.

    Rosicky (6) – Like Wilshere and Song. Great cross that led to Song’s early chance.

    Arshavin (6) – Seems to be working harder. Always a danger. Some disappointingly sloppy passes, though. He can be frustrating, can’t he?

    Chamakh (6) – Some good hold-up play but never really got into the game.

    Djourou (7) – Some dominant headers; would like to see him start ahead of Koscielny.
    Walcott (6) – Didn’t do much of note.
    Van Persie (7) – Quiet but a lovely flick to put Nasri through. Here’s hoping he stays fit.

  3. At least we can now have a rest of mine,by there perfomancesi wish Arsenal the best of luck,up Gunners!!

  4. Good game. I’ve been sayin it and il say it again, we need to strenghten our defence. Wenger know it, he knows we have defensive problems.

  5. Why do I early have a heart attack every time they play? We did win and for a time are top. My heart will settled down – until next Sunday?? If we can win that one I think we will be on our way. If Vermallion(?) is out for much longer we do need a replacement soon Mr Wenger. After all the Fabregas fuss = we can win without him!!

  6. How sweet it is to be top of the table,despite the team not yet hitting top gear.Let’s hope we continue to improve and maintain some sort of consistency.It is obviuos that our defence is still “vulnerable”,to quote the professor,but hopefully this will be corrected when Vermaelen returns from injury,fully fit and ready to go.

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