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MATCH REPORT ~ Fulham draw at Arsenal ~ Prem MD33 20/21

last updated Sunday 18th April 2021, 4:23 PM

Match Report

Arsenal (0) 1-1 (0) Fulham

Premier League Match Day 33 at Emirates Stadium

Sunday 18th April 2021     KO: 13:30

Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire)

Live on Sky Sports

Fulham striker Josh Maja
Fulham striker
Josh Maja
Josh Maja
His Wiki page
Eddie Nketiah scored a dramatic late equaliser as Arsenal rescued a 1-1 draw to dent Fulham's Premier League survival hopes.

Scott Parker's side came into the game seven points adrift of safety having played a game more than Burnley in 17th, and they thought their task was about to become even harder when Dani Ceballos converted Hector Bellerin's cross just before half-time.

However, VAR came to their rescue and the goal was ruled out because of an incredibly tight offside decision against Bukayo Saka.

Fulham defended resolutely against the Gunners and were hoping for one chance to fall their way, and it did midway through the second half when Gabriel Magalhaes brought down Mario Lemina inside the penalty area.

The incident survived a VAR review for offside and Josh Maja stepped up to emphatically convert the penalty as Parker's men looked on course for what would be a crucial three points.

However, after repelling nearly everything the Gunners threw at them with a superb defensive performance, Fulham buckled in the final stages of seven minutes of injury-time, Nketiah poking home from close range to rescue a 1-1 draw.

Match Stats Arsenal Fulham
Goals (0) 1 1 (0)
Scorers Nketiah 90+7 Maja pen 59
Goal attempts 18 3
On target 5 1
Shooting Accuracy 28% 33%
Possession 69% 31%
Passes Success 88% 74%
Corners 11 1
Tackles Success 44% 67%
Saves 0 4
Fouls 9 11
Offsides 5 0
Yellows 0 3
Reds 0 0
source: SkySports
The result means Fulham are now six points behind Burnley, who have the chance to stretch that gap when they take on Manchester United.

Meanwhile, despite the point, it was a disappointing afternoon for Mikel Arteta's Arsenal side after they booked their place in the Europa League semi-final in midweek with a thumping win at Slavia Prague. The Gunners stay ninth with their chances of European qualification through the league now looking extremely difficult.

Arsenal started well and could have been ahead inside two minutes when Alexandre Lacazette's flick released Gabriel Martinelli, but the Brazilian could only lift the bouncing ball over Alphonse Areola and wide of the far post.

The hosts cut the Fulham defence wide open again moments later when Emile Smith Rowe's cut back picked out Martinelli, but, again, he wasted the chance as his low effort was saved by Areola.

Arteta's side failed to make their early dominance count and Fulham began to get a grip of proceedings.

They were inches away from taking the lead in the 21st minute when Maja's deflected shot left Mat Ryan stranded, but the ball trickled inches wide of the upright.

The Gunners were starting to toil against a stubborn Fulham defence, but they thought they had finally broken the deadlock when Ceballos headed home Bellerin's cross at the far post, but a VAR review saw the goal chalked off for a marginal offside against Saka in the build-up.

The assistant referee's flag would soon deny Arsenal another goal, this time with a more obvious decision against Smith Rowe, who mistimed his run as he latched onto a Lacazette pass in the build up to Ceballos' cross being turned into the Fulham net.

At the start of the second half, Arsenal pushed forward again but Lacazette pulled a shot wide before the Gunners would again struggle to create any clear-cut chances.

Their wastefulness in front of goal would come back to haunt them as Fulham were awarded a penalty, with referee Craig Pawson pointing to the spot after guidance from his assistant following Gabriel's late challenge on Lemina.

Two VAR checks later - one on the challenge and one for offside - and Maja broke the deadlock, sending Ryan the wrong way and thumping the ball into the roof of the net from the penalty spot.

Arteta turned to Nicolas Pepe and Thomas Partey, the former coming close to levelling with his first meaningful touch as his header across goal was cleared off the line by Tosin Adarabioyo.

Lacazette was then replaced by Nketiah, the France striker heading straight down the tunnel with his shirt over his head after appearing to pick up an injury, and it would be the substitute who eventually rescued the Gunners.

Arsenal threw everything they could at Fulham, who looked like they were going to get over the line, but the pressure finally told in the closing stages of seven minutes of stoppage time.

Ryan was thrown into the Fulham box for back-to-back late corners and the goalkeeper got an important touch to the second as the ball broke to Ceballos, whose shot was pushed away by Areola but only into the path of the waiting Nketiah, who made no mistake from close range.

Centre-back Joachim Andersen
Joachim Andersen
Joachim Andersen
His Wiki page
Man of the match - Joachim Andersen
Andersen was a rock at the heart of the Fulham defence and helped repel anything Arsenal threw at them, right until the final seconds of the game.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Andersen said his side were left disappointed after getting so close to what could have been a crucial three points.

"We're disappointed. It is a little bit similar to the Liverpool game, concede a silly goal like that at the end, small things that change the game," he said.

"We showed many times that we can play against the best and it is small things that mean we don't win the game, it is just hard now.

"Arsenal were good today and it was a difficult game, you have to understand you have to defend sometimes when you come here, we didn't create enough but if you can win 1-0 away then what more do you want."

Fulham's next game is not until Saturday May 1 when they travel to west London rivals Chelsea; kick off 3pm.

Arsenal: Ryan, Bellerin (Pepe 68), Gabriel, Holding, Xhaka, Elneny (Partey 68), Ceballos, Saka, Smith Rowe, Martinelli, Lacazette (Nketiah 70)

Unused substitutes: Leno, Willian, Cedric, Chambers, Mari, Nelson,

Nketiah 90+7(Heartbreak for Fulham - and is that the goal which seals their Premier League fate? Fulham fail to clear a corner, the ball is sent back across goal by Ceballos. Areola makes the save, it ricochets around and falls for Nketiah, who bundles the rebound in.)

Fulham: Areola, De Cordova-Reid, Aina, Andersen, Tosin, Robinson, Anguissa, Lemina, Lookman (Reed 70), Maja (Loftus-Cheek 77), Cavaleiro (Bryan 84)

Unused substitutes: Fabri, Hector, Odoi, Mitrovic, Ream, Onomah.

Maja pen 59 (Arsenal defender Gabriel makes the initial challenge but the ball falls to Lemina and the Brazilian defender makes a mess of his second challenge. He lunges in and the ball is gone, and he catches Lemina. “It’s a fantastic penalty. It does take come courage to lift it up into the roof of the net. That could be a big, big goal for Fulham. Maja didn’t cut the most confident figure but boy did he do the business!”)

Booked: Andersen (50,f), De Cordova-Reid (61,f), Areola (89,tw),

Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire)

Attendance: 0

Source SkySports
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