Arsenal begin 2019 with a win against Fulham (4-1)
1 January, 2019
Arsenal were back at Emirates Stadium for the New Year’s Day fixture against Claudio Ranieri’s Fulham in the Premier League.
Unai Emery’s team went into this festive London derby wanting to provide a quick response after losing their previous game against Liverpool, and they started the game at a high tempo. Granit Xhaka and Matteo Guendouzi showed plenty of energy in the midfield, and the movement ahead of them from Alex Iwobi, Alex Lacazette, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was creating plenty of space. However, Fulham had two early chances to open the scoring through Sessengnon, but the youngster fired wide in a one on one with Bernd Leno, and then missed a chance at the back post. Arsenal weathered the storm, and Xhaka managed to ghost into the box unmarked to get on the end of an Iwobi cross to put the Gunners ahead on the 25th minute. That goal settled any nerves and Arsenal gained control of the rest of the first half, although they were unable to convert several chances to increase the lead.
The second half began with Emery’s team stepping on the gas and looking to find the all-important second goal, and it didn’t take too long to come. Slick build-up play between Iwobi, Aubameyang and Sead Kolasinac set Lacazette up, and the French striker lashed his effort past goalkeeper Sergio Rico. Fulham substitute, Kamara, scored in the 70th minute to get his team back in the match, but Aaron Ramsey restored the two-goal lead just 9 minutes later, pouncing on an Aubameyang effort that had come back off the post. And the Gabon international striker got a well-deserved goal with a classy top corner drive to round off a 4-1 win for an Arsenal team who start 2019 just as they wanted to.
The squad now turn their focus to this weekend’s FA Cup 3 round tie against Blackpool.