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Arsenal beat Fulham thanks to Trossard’s assist treble

LONDON — Arsenal restored a five-point lead at the top of the Premier League with a comfortable 3-0 win against Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday.

Manchester City had reduced the deficit earlier in the weekend with a 1-0 win at Crystal Palace, but the Gunners showed no sign of feeling the pressure as they took a 3-0 half-time lead on goals from Gabriel, gabriel martinelli and Martin Odegaard.

Fulham improved a bit after the break with Bobby De Cordova-Reid forcing Aaron Ramsdale in a smart saving of 69 minutes before Alejandro Mitrovic he hit the crossbar from the resulting corner kick.

gabriel jesus he returned from knee surgery to make his first appearance for Arsenal since 6 November, missing a late chance after being tacked on by a fellow substitute. fabio scallop. But by then, the visitors had already secured Mikel Arteta’s 100th win (including penalty shoot-out wins) in his 168th game as Arsenal manager, bringing them one step closer to their first league title in 19 years.

quick reaction

1. Arsenal give a perfect answer as City remain in contention for the title

The Gunners arrived in west London facing a quick turnaround from Thursday’s 2-2 draw at Sporting CP. In the end, the preparation was probably the most difficult part of this match. The Gunners have changed their travel plans, originally intending to train in Lisbon on Friday before a mistake affected several players and Arsenal opting to fly back from Portugal on Thursday night.

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However, there were no signs of any adverse effects, as Arsenal effectively ended this as a contest within the first 45 minutes. Fulham beat Chelsea, drew with Liverpool and only lost to Manchester United in stoppage time this season. On paper, then, this represented another difficult test of Arsenal’s title credentials, one made more difficult by City’s two-point proximity in the table. However, they handled it with ease, managing the second part to the extent that they were able to give minutes to various players on the squad and afford Bukayo Saka an 18 minute break.

Of course, it’s too early to tell if this will make a difference, but Arsenal have once again reduced the goal difference of City, who now sit just five behind the champions on plus-37.

2. Trossard and Martinelli ease the pressure on the return of Jesus

Pre-match excitement among Arsenal fans centered on the return of Gabriel Jesus, named to the bench for the first time since the World Cup after undergoing knee surgery. The Brazilian has recently returned to training, and Arteta has stressed the importance of preventing Jesus from running back from injury. Leandro Trossard and Martinelli thus filling the void will make it much easier to resist that temptation.

Trossard, who recovered from a groin injury much sooner than expected, started up the middle here, and Fulham simply couldn’t cope when he drifted to the left to overload the defender. Kenny Tete on that flank. Trossard wasn’t Arsenal’s first choice when they looked to strengthen their attacking options in January, but after losing to Chelsea in the transfer race Mykhailo Mudrykthe Gunners moved quickly to acquire an alternative.

These are still formative days in Trossard’s Arsenal career, but Brighton & Hove Albion’s £27m signing is looking increasingly inspired. He now has one goal and five assists in nine Premier League appearances, three of which came against Fulham. Meanwhile, Martinelli appears to have put a midseason slump behind him with another action-packed display.

Jesus got 13 minutes left when this game ended as a contest; a gentle reintroduction with more challenges to come.

3. Too early for Fulham to be on the beach

Despite being mid-March, this match had a distinct “end of season, waiting for a summer break” feel from the home side. Fulham were curiously flat from the kick-off, and while Arsenal were devastating in transition and clinical in attack, they were allowed to find their place early on due to the hosts’ passivity.

There were mitigating factors here, not least the absence of the key midfielder. Joao Palhinha through suspension. He was missing his midfield bite in Monday’s 3-2 loss at Brentford and arguably even more so here given Arsenal’s fluidity of possession. Former Arsenal winger Willian He has enjoyed a good season in London but was ruled out late on with a back problem with De Cordova-Reid a disappointing substitute.

Fulham have exceeded all expectations this campaign, defying predictions that they would be embroiled in a relegation fight to challenge for European qualification. But this was the second defeat in a row and a particularly poor demonstration that Marco Silva must quickly go down in history if Fulham are not stagnant in their remaining games. At least the next game, an FA Cup quarter-final trip to Manchester United (Stream LIVE March 19 on ESPN+ in the US.) — must sharpen minds.

Best and worst performers


Leandro Trossard, Arsenal: First player in Premier League history to record three assists in the first half of an away game.

Gabriel Martinelli, Arsenal: His mix of pace and purpose caused regular alarm in the Fulham back line.

Martin Odegaard, Arsenal: Another influential display in midfield culminated in a goal that takes him to double figures in league goals for the first time in his career.


Kenny Tete, Fulham: Overwhelmed by Arsenal overload as the Gunners went on a rampage in the first half and the non-existent threat going forward.

Bobby De Cordova-Reid, Fulham: He struggled to make the same impact as Willian and was on the periphery throughout, plus a second-half goal that Ramsdale saved well.

Aleksandar Mitrovic, Fulham: To be fair, he didn’t have much of a serve to feed off of, but he lost over half of his duels.

Highlights and Highlights

Things are looking pretty good for Arsenal fans at the moment, but the sight of Gabriel Jesus arriving at Craven Cottage as part of a squad for the first time since the World Cup will have given them a pre-match boost.

Those good vibes continued on the pitch thanks to Trossard’s assist hat-trick in the first half, with the third to set up Odegaard as the choice of goals.

After the game: what the players/coaches had to say

Mikel Arteta on the return of Gabriel Jesús: “(It’s a) big boost (to have him back). The first step today. We didn’t know if it was the right game today. He told me a few days ago ‘I’m still missing something.’ Yesterday I looked him in the eye and he said ‘I’m ready. ‘. I said ‘OK!’

“Then we had a chance to pitch him. It’s the first step in giving him a big push. He seems free, he seems ready and he immediately generated those two big chances. It’s great to have him back. (But) he has to earn his place like any other equipment.

Arteta on his attack options: “We have alternatives that can play different positions and we also have different goals to meet in terms of player chemistry and what we’re asking them to do. It’s a big deal, believe me.”

“We try to adapt to the quality of players we have, to put them in their strengths and in the position we want as far as possible. Leo has very different qualities from Gabi, Martin (Odegaard) complements him very well in terms of space and understanding with him. It’s great to have that versatility.”

Key statistics (provided by ESPN Stats & Information research)

Gabriel scored his third goal of the season, his first in the reverse game against Fulham in August. Odegaard also scored in that 2-1 win.

Gabriel Martinelli’s 23 Premier League goals for Arsenal equal Nicolas Anelka’s total league goals scored for the club (1997-99) when he was 21 or younger. Only his teammate Bukayo Saka (27) has scored more in that age category for the Gunners.

Leandro Trossard is the first player in Premier League history to record a hat trick of assists in the first half of an away game.

Trossard’s three-assist first half isn’t his first in the Premier League this season; that was in august when Roberto Firmino he did so in Liverpool’s 9-0 win over Bournemouth.

Arsenal have not failed to win a Premier League game in which they have led by multiple goals since 2-2 with Crystal Palace in October 2019.

Until next time

Fulham: The Cottagers are one game away from Wembley, if they can get a famous win at Manchester United in next Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final (broadcast LIVE at 12:30 pm ET on ESPN+ in the US.) will then reach their first semifinal in the competition since 2002.

Arsenal: The Gunners host Sporting CP in the second leg of the Europa League round of 16 on Thursday, after drawing 2-2 in the first leg in Portugal, before hosting Crystal Palace, led by former club captain Arsenal’s Patrick Vieira, for the Emirates in the Premier League on Sunday.