Arsenal keep PL title hopes alive with a win over Fulham
After an easy 3-0 victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday, Arsenal restored a five-point advantage over the competition. For the best sports betting casinos of March 2023, make sure you visit CasinoDaddy's pages!
Arsenal quickly jumped out to a 3-0 halftime lead thanks to goals from Gabriel, Gabriel Martinelli, and Martin Odegaard, closing the gap after Manchester City had earlier in the weekend defeated Crystal Palace 1-0.
Following the break, Fulham made some progress. Bobby De Cordova-Reid forced Aaron Ramsdale into a deft save in the 69th minute, and Aleksandar Mitrovic hit the crossbar from the ensuing corner.
After undergoing knee surgery, Gabriel Jesus made his first Arsenal appearance since November 6 and wasted a last-second opportunity after being set up by fellow substitute Fabio Vieira. However, by that point, the guests had already achieved Mikel Arteta's 100th victory (including victories in penalty shootouts) in his 168th game in charge of Arsenal, moving them one step closer to a first league championship in 19 years.
As City continues its championship defense, Arsenal responds perfectly.
After Thursday's 2-2 draw against Sporting CP, the Gunners had a short turnaround as they landed in west London. The hardest part of this match, in the end, was certainly the preparation. As many players were affected by an illness, the Gunners decided to fly back from Portugal on Thursday night instead of going to Lisbon on Friday as initially scheduled.
Yet, as Arsenal effectively ended the game as a contest in the first 45 minutes, there was little indication of any negative impacts. This season, Fulham has defeated Chelsea, tied with Liverpool, and only lost to Manchester United late. On paper, this was another difficult test of Arsenal's title credentials, one that was made more difficult by City's two-point closeness at the top of the standings. But, they handled it with ease, controlling the second half to the point where they could use several squad members and give Bukayo Saka an 18-minute break.
Of course, it is still too early to tell if this will matter, but Arsenal continued to reduce City's goal differential, and they are currently only five goals behind the champions on plus-37.
Arsenal supporters were particularly excited before the game about Gabriel Jesus's comeback after being selected on the bench for the first time since the World Cup following knee surgery. Although the Brazilian has only recently started working out again, Arteta has emphasized the significance of delaying Jesus' recovery from an injury. The gap is filled in this way by Leandro Trossard and Martinelli will make it much simpler to resist that urge.
Trossard started in the midfield here after recovering from a groin ailment far more quickly than anticipated, and Fulham could do little when he wandered out to the left to overload defender Kenny Tete on that flank. While looking to improve their attacking options in January, Arsenal didn't initially consider Trossard, but after losing out to Chelsea in the battle to recruit Mykhailo Mudryk, the Gunners moved fast to find an alternative.
Although if Trossard's Arsenal career is still in its early stages, the £27 million transfer from Brighton & Hove Albion is starting to seem like a brilliant move. He has now played in nine Premier League games, three of which were against Fulham, and has one goal and five assists. Martinelli, on the other hand, seems to have recovered from a midseason slump after another all-action performance.
When the game was done as a competition, Jesus was given 13 minutes as a soft reintroduction with more difficulties to follow.
Even though it was the middle of March, the home team's performance in this game had a definite “end of the season, aiming a summer getaway” vibe about it. Although Arsenal was deadly in transition and clinical in attack, Fulham was oddly flat from the start, which allowed Arsenal to quickly find their footing.
There were mitigating variables in this situation, not the least of which was the suspension of crucial midfielder Joao Palhinha. His midfield bite was lacking in Monday's 3-2 loss at Brentford, and it's possible that it was even more so tonight considering how easily Arsenal moved the ball. Willian, a former Arsenal winger, has had a strong season in London but was forced to withdraw late due to a back injury, leaving De Cordova-Reid as an underwhelming replacement.
Fulham has performed better than anybody could have predicted throughout this season, confounding forecasts that they would be involved in a battle for survival in favor of competing for European qualifying. But if Marco Silva wants Fulham to continue winning in their remaining games, he must swiftly put this second straight loss and particularly terrible performance in the past. The following game—a trip to Manchester United for the FA Cup quarterfinal—should at least help players focus.