Four second half goals grabbed an emphatic win for Arsenal, making it nine on the spin for the Gunners - and putting us in the top4 for the first time this season.
Two goals apiece from Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, as well as a sumptuous backheeled effort from Aaron Ramsey, put Fulham to the sword, after a pretty even first half that the away team just shaded.
There were some surprise selections from Unai Emery for this game, and it showed the Spaniard picks on form rather than reputation. In came Danny Welbeck, after his good showing against Qarabag midweek, and Alex Iwobi came in for Aaron Ramsey as the Nigerian is in a rich vein of form at present. Henrikh Mkhitaryan came back into the side after missing midweek, and Mesut Ozil missed out due to a back injury.
Fulham started well, and only a decent challenge from Shkodran Mustafi prevented in-form Mitrovic scoring, after a decent pass from Luciano Vietto. Midfield was where the battle was being fought, with neither side budging, but the game was on a knife edge, it could have went either way.
Torreira and Xhaka were very busy, but we started to shade the game, although Andre Schurrle tested Leno on the 25th minute, in what was the German’s first league start.
We grabbed the lead three minutes later, Alex Iwobi setting free Monreal down the left, and the defender’s low ball into the box found Lacazette with his back to goal. His first touch was perfect, putting the ball in place so he could swivel and fire low into the near corner.
We continued to push, and Mkhitaryan went close next up with a fierce drive that just cleared Bettinelli’s crossbar, but Fulham weren’t finished yet, and they equalised just before half time.
The German had squandered a chance just before hand, but made no mistake this time, his rising effort delicately placed over Leno, despite Mustafi’s challenge.
The whistle blew for half time soon after and it was a bit of a blow, but whatever Emery said at half time did the trick, even though we were far from poor in the first forty five minutes.
We were certainly faster out of the blocks this time, and Iwobi masterminded another chance after shifting past his man and finding Bellerin, but the right-back’s effort was too easy for the Fulham keeper.
Only a minute later though, it was that man Lacazette again who scored. The Frenchman produced an effort from about 20 yards, which bounced just in front of Bettinelli and nestled into the net.
We deserved it, but Fulham had showed they could trouble us. We were holding firm though, which is credit to our backline. Emery wheeled out some subs around the 60th minute, Aubameyang came on for Welbeck, and Ramsey entered the fray for Iwobi, and only two minutes after touching the pitch, the Welshman had scored.
Lacazette and Ramsey teamed up and found Bellerin, who backheeled in the air to Mkhitaryan, who passed to Aubameyang. The Gabon man smashed a ball across goal. Ramsey had continued his run and his first time backheel effort found the net.
A beautiful goal. Emery-ball in full effect.
The game fizzled out a little after this, with Fulham losing their fizz and belief. They were there for the taking.
It was Aubameyang who got in on the act next. Bellerin had space down the right to find Auba on the front post area. Very similar to Lacazette’s first, Auba controlled and swivelled, but this time volleyed the ball into the far corner. A brilliant display of technique.
Guendouzi came on for the last ten minutes for Lacazette, and we added the cherry to the cake in the 90th minute, after Ramsey put through Auba all alone and he drove the ball low to get our fifth.
This was a real testament to how far Emery has taken our boys, and the progress he has made. We are looking good.
Let’s enjoy this for a while. With the international break now in force, we have two weeks to bask in this excellent result.
Well done Arsenal.