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Match Report: Fulham beat Arsenal ~ Prem MD 20 ~ 23/24

last updated Monday 01st January 2024, 11:29 AM

Match Report

Fulham (1) 2-1 (1) Arsenal

Premier League Match Day 20 23/24 at Craven Cottage

Sunday 31st December 2023    KO: 14:00

Referee: Michael Salisbury (Lancashire)

Live on SkySports

Fulham Striker Raul Jimenez
Fulham Striker
Raul Jimenez
Raul Jimenez
His Wiki page
Fulham came from behind to beat Arsenal 2-1, returning to winning ways after three straight defeats, and denying Mikel Arteta’s side top spot in the Premier League.

The visitors made the perfect start in response to their midweek defeat to West Ham as Bernd Leno could only parry Gabriel Martinelli's shot into the path of Bukayo Saka, who tapped home from close range to give the Gunners the lead in the fifth minute.

However, Fulham took the game to Arsenal and responded, ending a run of three Premier League games without a goal as Raul Jimenez converted Tom Cairney's cross to bring the hosts level.

It was another extremely difficult afternoon for Arsenal, who failed to muster a shot on target in the second half. It was described as their "worst of the season" by Arteta and they could do nothing to halt Fulham's momentum as Bobby De Cordova-Reid fired home the winner in the 59th minute to make it a happy end of year for Marco Silva's side.

The win sees Fulham, who end a run of three straight defeats without scoring a goal, move up to 13th in the table.

Meanwhile, Arteta's men, who were top of the table on Christmas Day, have just one win in their last five games in the league. The defeat caps a miserable few days as they finish the year fourth and miss out on a second chance to go top of the Premier League

Striker Bobby De Cordova-Reid
Fulham Striker
Bobby De Cordova-Reid
Bobby De Cordova-Reid
His Wiki page
Arsenal made the perfect response to the midweek humbling at the hands of West Ham as Saka stayed onside before poking home the rebound after Leno had parried Martinelli's shot in the fifth minute.

Craven Cottage was quiet but it soon came alive again after a swift Fulham move saw Antonee Robinson pick out Jimenez, but the striker's side-footed shot from inside the penalty area was too close to David Raya.

The momentum was with the hosts now as Willian's whipped shot flashed wide of the far post before appeals were waved away for a penalty after a coming together between De Cordova-Reid and William Saliba inside the penalty area.

Fulham's dominance eventually told, however, as the home side capitalised on an excellent tackle from Calvin Bassey to dispossess Saka and launch a devastating break. Willian fed Tom Cairney, whose cross into the area was an inviting one, and Jiminez made no mistake on this occasion to bring the home side level with his fifth goal in seven Premier League appearances.

Match Stats Fulham Arsenal
Goals (1) 2 1 (1)
Scorers Jimenez 29 Saka 5
De Cordova-Reid 59 -
Goal attempts 15 13
On target 4 3
Shooting Accuracy 27% 23%
Possession 40% 60%
Passes 412 637
Passes Success 83% 88%
Crosses 19 20
Crosses Success 32% 10%
Corners 5 4
Tackles 15 13
Tackles Success 40% 69%
Saves 2 2
Fouls 11 10
Offsides 4 0
Yellows 4 1
Reds 0 0
source: SkySports
Arsenal looked shocked and void of any ideas in attack as Fulham looked comfortable. That was until just before the break when Declan Rice fired the ball into Martin Odegaard inside the Fulham box. The Arsenal skipper laid it off to Martinelli, who could only steer the ball wide of the upright.

There was almost a fortunate moment for Arsenal and an unfortunate incident for referee Josh Smith, who accidentally blocked off Alex Iwobi. It meant Declan Rice could pick out Martinelli with ease but the Brazilian failed to make the advantage count as his shot flew wide of the far post.

Fulham's turnaround was complete just before the hour mark. Arsenal failed to clear their lines from a corner after Joao Palhinha made first contact ahead of Rice. A scramble in the area ensued and De Cordova-Reid latched onto the loose ball, rifling it into the net from close range to leave Raya with no chance.

Just like against West Ham, an Arsenal response never came as their frustrations in front of goal continued. Saka skied a decent chance at the back post following a mix up between Bassey and Robinson, but after that the Gunners rarely threatened.

Palhinha was forced into a last-ditch block to deny Saka but it was Fulham looked more likely to add a third as Andreas Perreira's free-kick crashed against the crossbar, but In the end, they didn't need it as Silva's side got over the line to seal a stunning win to finish 2023 on a high note.

Fulham manager Marco Silva:
"Really the best way to finish 2023, definitely. Our ambition was to finish on a high and react from the last two games. I really believe we deserve it. Over the 95 minutes we deserved it more.

"It was very good reaction after the first goal. The way we beat their pressure and began to play our way. We even had more chances to score a third goal.

"We want to improve in this aspect [consistency] of our journey but it is the most difficult as well. The reaction was brilliant."

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta:
"Really tough day. A sad day. Three days ago [2-0 defeat by West Ham] we played a game we lost that we completely meant to win it, today was our worst game of the season. The pace, the purpose we have in attack, defensively we were second best, we could not dominate and had issues because of that.

"We didn't do enough with that [possession] - not enough purpose, speed or threat. We were sloppy with the ball. It wasn't good enough. We didn't deserve to win. When you have opportunities to go top of league on December 31 and now end up with a really bad feeling, that is football. The lines are really thin.

"If we play like we played in the other 19 games we will be up there [in the league at the end of the season]. If we play like today we will be nowhere near. Today was a really difficult day to swallow."

Opta stats:
Fulham won a Premier League game in which they had fallen behind at any stage for the first time since October 2022 against Leeds, ending their 26-game winless run when falling behind in the league (D4 L22).

The home side ended their 11-game winless run against Arsenal in the Premier League (D3 L8), with this their first league win over the Gunners since January 2012 (2-1).

This was the first time that Arsenal lost a Premier League game in which they scored the game's opening goal since New Year's Day 2022 against Manchester City (Saka put them 1-0 up both then and against Fulham). It ended the Gunners' run of 48 league games unbeaten when going 1-0 ahead (W42 D6).

Having only lost two of their opening 18 Premier League games this season (W12 D4), Arsenal have since lost both of their last two, just the second time since the start of last season that the Gunners have suffered back-to-back league defeats (also in May).

Fulham welcome Rotherham to Craven Cottage in the FA Cup third round on Friday January 6; kick-off 7.30pm.

Fulham : Leno, Castagne, Tosin, Bassey, Robinson, Palhinha, Cairney (Reed 93), De Cordova-Reid (Wilson 80), Iwobi (Pereira 72), Willian (Diop 80), Jimenez

Unused substitutes: Rodak, Tete, Ballo-Toure, Andreas Muniz, Lukic

Jimenez 29 (Jimenez brings Fulham level with brilliant finish. Fulham haven't scored a goal in their past three Premier League games but Jimenez is back from suspension and back on the scoresheet today. Bassey battles to win it off Saka and that sparks a Fulham break. Willian feeds Cairney and the cross is an inviting one. Jimenez doesn't need asking twice! Five goals in his last seven Premier League appearances. FPL assist: Tom Cairney)
De Cordova-Reid 59 (THE TURNAROUND IS COMPLETE! It's a Fulham corner which opens the door. Palhinha makes first contact ahead of Rice. It's then a scramble until it pops through to De Cordova-Reid who rifles the ball in from close range. Raya with no chance and Fulham in front! )

Booked: Cairney (65,f), Bassey (77,tw), Jimenez (92,ref says for kicking the ball away?), Leno (96,tw)

Arsenal : Raya, White (Jesus 67), Saliba, Magalhaes, Kiwior (Tomiyasu 45), Odegaard, Rice, Havertz (Nelson 77), Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli (Trossard 67)

Unused substitutes: Ramsdale, Smith Rowe, Cedric Soares, Jorginho, Elneny

Saka 5 (Raya claims Castagne's cross and Arsenal race up the pitch, with Martinelli driving into the box before cutting onto his right and forcing Leno to parry straight to Saka. Saka pokes it in and a VAR check confirms there was no offside. FPL assist: Gabriel Martinelli)

Booked: Saliba (86,f),

Referee: Michael Salisbury (Lancashire)

Attendance: 24,444

Source SkySports
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