High five for Arsenal as Gunners thump Fulham to extend winning streak
Unai Emery’s men make light work of London derby despite Europa League exploits.
Aaron Ramsey’s sumptuous flick was the pick of five superb goals scored by Arsenal en route to thrashing Fulham at Craven Cottage – with Unai Emery’s side securing a ninth consecutive win in the process.
The Gunners have not enjoyed such a lengthy winning streak in 11 years but, despite being slow out of the traps, Alexandre Lacazette’s brace set them on course for a 5-1 Premier League win to move them above neighbours Tottenham and into third place.
Two unerring finishes from Lacazette either side of an Andre Schurrle equaliser had Arsenal ahead, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netting twice off the bench after Ramsey had scored mere seconds after his introduction.
The hosts were more than a match for Emery’s side in the first half, Arsenal kicking-off just 56 hours after landing back from their Europa League trip to Azerbaijan.
An error from Hector Bellerin saw his wayward ball collected by Luciano Vietto, whose deflected shot saw Bernd Leno called into action early on his full Premier League debut.
Vietto was looking lively in the opening exchanges and his low cross into the box found Aleksandar Mitrovic only for Shkodran Mustafi to make a fine block.
Arsenal, perhaps after blowing off some Europa League cobwebs, began to enjoy more of the ball and only a perfect sliding challenge from Maxime Le Marchand prevented Lacazette tapping in Danny Welbeck’s cross.
And, although it came against the run of play at the time, the visitors soon took the lead as Lacazette finished off a speedy attack, turning Tim Ream before firing home Nacho Monreal’s cross just before the half-hour mark.
Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli made sure Arsenal did not double their lead not long after as he kept out Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s close-range effort before preventing the lively Alex Iwobi from pouncing.
Schurrle failed to hit the target when the former Chelsea man should have done much better – but he did not have to wait long to make amends.
The Germany international split the two Arsenal centre-backs and his deft lob from Vietto’s slide-rule pass deservedly saw Fulham draw level just before the interval.
It was Arsenal who almost regained the lead less than three minutes into the second half but Bettinelli pulled off a great save to deny Bellerin from the edge of the box.
There was nothing the Fulham skipper could do, though, as the visitors edged back into the lead from the next attack, as a fine Lacazette finish from Welbeck’s flick beat him low down to his right.
Fulham had a marvellous chance to equalise for a second time but substitute Aboubakar Kamara got his timing all wrong as he looked to head home from in front of Leno’s goal.
Emery took off two of the men who started against Qarabag on Thursday as Welbeck and Iwobi made way for Aubameyang and Ramsey.
The Wales international looks set to leave the club at the end of the season after contract negotiations broke down but he capped some superb build-up play by steering in a wonderful flick for Arsenal’s third goal just 38 seconds after coming off the bench.
Aubameyang, too, would get in on the act as he collected a pass into the box from Bellerin before spinning and arrowing a left-footed strike past the helpless Bettinelli.
Ramsey then played in Aubameyang in stoppage time as he tucked away his second of the game to leave Fulham shellshocked and down in 17th spot with just a solitary league win.