EletiofeFulham v Arsenal: Premier League – live!

Fulham v Arsenal: Premier League – live!

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78 min Granit Xhaka is replaced by Dani Ceballos.

78 min That chould have been 4-0 to Arsenal. Bellerin slid a through pass to Aubameyang, who went round Ream and clipped a shot from a tight angle that was headed off the line by Hector.

75 min A substitution apiece. Fulham bring on Bobby Decordova-Reid for Onomah, and Nicolas Pepe has replaced the excellent Willian for Arsenal.

74 min Xhaka is down holding his right ankle after a challenge from Hector. I think he’s okay.

Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka is tackled by Fulham’s Michael Hector as Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette appeals to the referee.

Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka is tackled by Fulham’s Michael Hector as Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette appeals to the referee. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

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71 min Rodak makes an excellent point-blank save from Lacazette, though it wouldn’t have counted because Aubameyang was offside in the build-up.

70 min The match is petering out now. Arsenal’s next game is West Ham at home a week today; Fulham go to Ipswich in the EFL Cup on Wednesday and Leeds in the league next Saturday.

67 min Mitrovic shoots straight at Leno from 20 yards.

63 min A double change for Fulham: Aleksandar Mitrovic and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa replace Kebano and Kamara.

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61 min Cairney is booked for fouling Willian 25 yards from goal.

61 min The scoreline is a bit harsh on Fulham. But it’s a helluva start for Arsenal, not least because of the performance of their two debutants. Willian has made all three goals; Gabriel has scored one and, more important, defended with rugged authority.

It started when Arsenal played through the Fulham press on the right wing. Then Willian – who now has a hat-trick of assists on his debut – sprayed an excellent crossfield pass to Aubameyang on the left. He moved into the area, used Odoi as a screen and swept a trademark curler into the top corner. That was a quite thrilling goal.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (centre) celebrates with his team mates after scoring Arsenal’s third goal of the game.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (centre) celebrates with his team mates after scoring Arsenal’s third goal of the game. Photograph: Clive Rose/Pool/PA Images

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GOAL! Fulham 0-3 Arsenal (Aubameyang 57)

What a great goal!

56 min A good effort from Kamara, who whistles a low shot just wide of the far post from 20 yards. Leno had it covered though.

55 min Bellerin is booked for wrestling Cavaleiro to the floor on the left wing.

54 min “Time for Scott Parker to throw on another tie-pin,” says Charles Antaki.

53 min It’s a long way back from here from Fulham. They’ve done plenty of good things in this game but have struggled to penetrate the new, improved Arsenal defence.

GOAL! Fulham 0-2 Arsenal (Gabriel 49)

Gabriel scores on his debut! Willian curled a dipping corner towards the six-yard line, where Gabriel got in front of Hector and forced the ball through the legs of Rodak. It looked like a straightforward header but replays showed it actually came off his shoulder. As if he’ll care.

Gabriel (second left) doubles Arsenal’s lead.

Gabriel (second left) doubles Arsenal’s lead. Photograph: Paul Childs/Pool/PA Images

Gabriel is mobbed by his teammates after he scored Arsenal’s second goal.

Gabriel is mobbed by his teammates after he scored Arsenal’s second goal. Photograph: Marc Aspland/NMC Pool

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49 min Holding plays an impromptu game of keepy-uppy before finding Lacazette, who wins a corner. That was a spectacular bit of play from Holding.

47 min A thrilling run from Aubameyang, who beats Hector with elegant ease before Ream comes across to make an important interception on the edge of the area.

46 min Peep peep! Arsenal begin the second half.

Half time: Fulham 0-1 Arsenal

Peep peep! Arsenal lead through Alexandre Lacazette’s scruffy early goal. It was a half of nice football if few chances: the debutant Willian hit the post with a fine free-kick, and a confident Arsenal deserve to be ahead. See you in 10 minutes for the second half.

44 min “Sammy Nelson, now there’s a blast from the past,” says Christopher Neal. “Once famously scored at both ends against Bristol City and dropped his shorts to the crown in celebration.”

That’s no way to address Her Majesty, etc.

43 min This hasn’t been a mismatch, far from it, but Arsenal’s superior class has been evident in a few key moments.

41 min “While we’re on attire, could Scott Parker be wearing a nicer suit?” says BD Simmons. “It’s making me feel a tad inadequate slouching around in my pyjamas.”

One word, two syllables: Sergio Ramos.

40 min “I am looking forward to Scott Parker’s half-time teamtalk being released as a single,” says Ian Copestake.

39 min Aubameyang is booked for a late tackle on Odoi.

38 min “Chelsea in red away kit used to be commonplace, right up to the 90s,” says Michael Tucker. “Don’t they teach kids anything in school these days? I’ll stop now, nurse is waving a bed pan my way.”

Who could forget the Commodore years.

37 min Tierney curls a terrific ball over the defence to Aubameyang, who controls it on the run and hits a left-footed shot that is saved at the near post by Rodak. That was really nice play from Arsenal.

36 min Fulham haven’t changed their approach since going behind. They’re very patient in possession and make good angles for the man on the ball. The tempo could be a bit quicker; that would be my only criticism.

34 min Lacazette gets behind the defence on the left and crosses towards Willian. Ream does very well to intercept at the near post. It turned out Lacazette was offside, though Ream didn’t know that.

31 min Odoi combines neatly with Kebano on the right and curls a glorious cross that flashes across the six-yard box. Kamara was penalised for a foul on someone at the near post anyway, but it was a brilliant cross.

30 min “It’s not that Arsenal in blue is problematic (it is); it’s that they’re even wearing a change strip to begin with,” says Michael Driscoll. “Red over white is their primary kit. Their clash kit this year is white with red accents. Fulham, as the home team, is wearing their primary white kit with black trim. Why wouldn’t Arsenal just wear their primary kit, as it doesn’t clash with the home side’s primary (and their “clash kit” actually does clash in this case)?”

I’ll give you a £60.00 clue. (£100.00 for the authentic kit, £45.00 for juniors.)

27 min: Willian hits the post! It was a fine free-kick, whipped over the wall towards the side that Rodak was covering, and it dipped sharply before hitting the outside of the post. Rodak wouldn’t have saved it had it been on target.

Arsenal’s Willian (right) sees his free-kick hit the post .

Arsenal’s Willian (right) sees his free-kick hit the post . Photograph: Paul Childs/Pool/PA

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26 min Hector fouls Lacazette on the edge of the D and is booked. A bigger punishment – a second goal – may follow from the free-kick.

25 min Kamara is brusquely dispossessed by Gabriel, who has defended with authority since that dodgy start.

23 min “Arsenal in blue?” says Stephen Parker. “What is going on? And what’s next? Chelsea in red?”

It’s so weird seeing Willian in a blue shirt. It’s not that unusual for Arsenal, who have had blue change strips in the past. They were wearing one in the Pizzagate match, for example.

21 min Fulham lose the ball in a dangerous area. Willian and Lacazette combine to find Elneny, who dummies Reed and sidefoots a shot that is crucially blocked by Ream. The rebound is wafted into orbit by Xhaka.

18 min “I’ll raise you Mitrovic, Saka and Martinez,” weeps Robin Burchfield.

16 min Bellerin flashes a dangerous ball across the face of goal, then Tierney’s cross is crucially cleared at the near post by Odoi. Arsenal are starting to dominate possession. It’s a pleasant game, very easy on the eye.

15 min “Mitrovic on the bench,” says Matt Dony. “The season is ten minutes old, and already I’m feeling the Fantasy Football-related anger. I never learn. I hate football. Make it stop. Again.”

I’ll see your Mitrovic and raise you Mitrovic and Saliba.

14 min “This is the best stadium in the country, in my opinion,” says Ruth Purdue. “Glad to see it back in the Premier League.”

Now there’s a debate. Not sure I have a favourite, now you mention it.

13 min That goal seems to have relaxed Arsenal, who hadn’t made the greatest start to the game.

12 min “Harsh to include Gooner favourite Sammy Nelson in your 1975 slating, and the fuller picture is that Highbury greats Brady, O’Leary, Rice, Armstrong and Kidd also started, says Michael Tucker. “Mancini was a centre-back and Kelly a winger, a decent one at that. Today they’re fielding Xhaka and Elneny as the Rice and Philips in a vogueish 7-0-3. These young buck managers are so innovative.”

It wasn’t my slating!

11 min A deep cross finds Kebano, whose volley is well blocked by Maitland-Niles.

GOAL! Fulham 0-1 Arsenal (Lacazette 9)

Arsenal take the lead with their first decent attack. Xhaka’s shot from the edge of the area was only half blocked by Hector, leading to a scramble in the six-yard box. Willian’s shot was saved by Rodak and Lacazette tapped the rebound into the empty net.

Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette is congratulated by his team mates after opening the scoring.

Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette is congratulated by his team mates after opening the scoring. Photograph: Paul Childs/Pool/Getty Images

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8 min Fulham move the ball beautifully down the right, from one of the field to the other. Eventually the right-back Odoi beat Tierney with a Cruyff-turn and hits a left-footed shot from 20 yards that is beaten away by Leno.

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5 min Fulham have made a brisk, confident start to the game. They’re nice to watch, very patient in possession.

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2 min An early chance for Fulham! Maitland-Niles plays a lazy backpass towards Gabriel, who allows it to run through towards Leno. Kamara appears on his blindside and tries to go round Leno, who does well to dive at his feet and push the ball away.

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2 min “Good day Rob,” says Grant Tennille. “Would I be tempting fate, not to mention the wrath of today’s MBM correspondent, by referring to three points against this freshly-promoted Fulham side as ‘bankable’?”

I’m not sure I have any wrath left, but you’d definitely be tempting fate.

1 min After the players on both sides take a knee, Aboubakar Kamara gets the season under way. Fulham are kicking from left to right; Arsenal are in their blue change strip.

The players emerge on a cloudy afternoon in west London. It’s time for the 2020-21 Premier League season. Mercy.

Pre-season optimism “Have Arsenal,” says Charles Antaki, “ever put out a less convincing team on the first day of the season? (Consults reference books.) Season 1975-76: Nelson and Kelly in the back line, with Mancini, Cropley and Hornsby further up (all of whose names should have a “?” attached). The season ended with Arsenal in 17th place. Hmm.”

A few slight surprises in the teams. Aleksandar Mitrovic and Anthony Knockaert are only on the bench for Fulham, while Gabriel Magalhaes makes his Arsenal debut in defence. It was thought he wouldn’t start as he has only recently started training with his new teammates. Willian also makes his debut.

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Team news

Fulham (4-2-3-1) Rodak; Odoi, Hector, Ream, Bryan; Reed, Cairney; Kebano, Onomah, Cavaleiro; Kamara.

Substitutes: Areola, Le Marchand, Christie, Knockaert, Anguissa, Mitrovic, Decordova-Reid.

Arsenal (3-4-3) Leno; Holding, Magalhaes, Tierney; Bellerin, Elneny, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles; Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang.

Substitutes: Macey, Saka, Kolasinac, Ceballos, Willock, Pepe, Nketiah.

Referee Chris Kavanagh.

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Preamble

Hello and welcome to live coverage of 48 Days Later, a real-time motion picture about the return of the Premier League. It’s been just under seven weeks since the 2019-20 season finished, and now it’s time for the mother of all marathons: a condensed 2020-21 campaign that will test the players like never before. Welcome to the Red Zone season.

We start at Craven Cottage, where newly promoted Fulham host newly optimistic Arsenal. Although Arsenal finished eighth last season, their lowest position for 25 years, they made obvious progress under Mikel Arteta and won the FA Cup in stirring fashion. It’s hard to quantify what would constitute a good season for Arsenal this time. For Fulham, it’s simple: 17th place and an end to the yo-yoing of recent years.

Kick off 12.30pm

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