Premier League: Arsenal suffer another defeat as Fulham come back strongly at home

A fantastic team display saw Fulham FC come back in style to edge Arsenal 2-1 as the Gunners ended 2023 on a low note as they fell to a second successive London derby defeat at Craven Cottage on Sunday.

A fantastic team display saw Fulham FC come back in style to edge Arsenal 2-1 as the Gunners ended 2023 on a low note as they fell to a second successive London derby defeat at Craven Cottage on Sunday.

Bukayo Saka had put Arsenal in front four minutes into the contest, but Raul Jimenez pulled the teams level before half-time and Bobby De Cordova-Reid then poked the ball home off a faulty clearance of a corner to complete the turnaround for Fulham.

This was the first time that Arsenal lost a Premier League game in which they scored the game’s opening goal since New Year’s Day 2022 against Manchester City. Bukayo Saka had put them 1-0 up on that occasion too.


Fulham won a Premier League game in which they had fallen behind at any stage for the first time since October 2022 against Leeds, ending their 26-game winless run when falling behind in the league (D4 L22).

Having only lost two of their opening 18 Premier League games this season (W12 D4), Arsenal have since lost both of their last two, just the second time since the start of last season that they have suffered back-to-back league defeats (also in May).

After this defeat, Arsenal remained on 40 points from 20 matches, the same as defending champions Manchester City, who have a superior goal difference and also have a match in hand. Fulham are on the 13th spot with 24 points from 20 matches.

A lung-busting run from Timothy Castagne saw him get on the end of Willian’s pick-out, but he was then out of position after David Raya claimed his cross. That allowed Gabriel Martinelli to gallop forward down Arsenal’s left before cutting in and forcing a good stop from Bernd Leno. Unfortunately, the rebound dropped straight to Saka, who managed to remain onside and slotted home to give the Gunners the lead.

Fulham put a lovely move together 10 minutes later, with the effective link-up between Willian and Antonee Robinson down the left creating a chance for Raúl, who saw his well-struck first-time effort saved by Raya.

It was then Raúl’s turn to start a move as he held the ball up strongly before handing it over to two former Arsenal players, with Willian curling just wide after being picked out by Alex Iwobi.

The Gunners had been under the cosh since scoring and would have been relieved to see Raúl’s volley fly over as he met Willian’s corner midway through the half.

The pressure did eventually tell, though, with Raúl announcing his return to the team in style, arriving at the back post to slide in Cairney’s wicked first-time cross.

Calvin Bassey won the ball off Saka to start the move and allow Willian to edge forward down the left. He in turn found Tom Cairney who produced a dangerous first-time low cross across the box for Jimenez, and the in-form Mexican fired past Raya to score his fourth goal in his last four league outings.

Arsenal had a few half chances towards the end of the opening 45, with Martinelli, Eddie Nketiah and Declan Rice all firing off target, while Tosin sent an ambitious effort wide from 35 yards at the other end.

Both sides went into the break level, which was a fair reflection of the opening 45, but the Whites came out after the interval and enjoyed another spell of attacking threat, as they completed the comeback just before the hour mark.

The pressure began by winning a couple of corners, and Willian swung one towards the back post, which was allowed to drop inside the area, and after it bounced around De Cordova-Reid lashed it into the net from close range and put Arsenal really under pressure.

In keeping with the mood in the away end, the heavens opened, and a huge rainstorm drenched Craven Cottage for the best part of 10 minutes which saw the game become a stalemate.

When Arsenal did find a shooting chance, Saka blazed a volley well over when he had time and space to compose himself. Another chance went abegging when a brilliant sliding challenge by Timothy Castagne snuffed out another sight of goal.

The closest anyone came to changing the scoreline was three minutes before the final whistle when Fulham’s Andreas Pereira smacked a free-kick off the crossbar which would have sealed it, but ultimately the Cottagers didn’t need another goal as they recorded just their third win against Arsenal in the Premier League era.


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