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ARTETA: 100 wins is not a title

Fulham 0 Arsenal 3

London, UK | ARSENAL.COM |  Arsenal’s victory against Fulham on Sunday was their 100th win of the Mikel Arteta era.

Arteta brought up his century in his 168th game in charge, meaning his overall win percentage of 59.5 per cent is the highest of any Arsenal manager in history.

But more importantly, it was our 21st league win of the season so far, from 27 games played, and that was Arteta’s main focus after the final whistle at Craven Cottage.

“To come here and perform the way we’ve done against a team like Fulham in this stadium, I think the players deserve a big compliment. With the way we played, the goals that we scored, the clean sheet and the determination and purpose that we showed today to play the way we want to play.

“It’s great (100 wins), we have to continue like that, I’m delighted to do that, unfortunately, it’s not a title, so there’s still a lot to improve!”

Match report

A superb first-half display, in which Leandro Trossard claimed a hat-trick of assists, was the platform for Arteta’s 100th win as Gunner boss.

Brazilian duo Gabriel and Gabriel Martinelli scored headers within five minutes of each other to put Arsenal in control, and they were rarely troubled from that moment on.

Martin Odegaard expertly tucked home a third in first-half injury-time to give the scoreline the gloss it deserved.

There was more reason for the travelling Arsenal supporters to cheer late on, as Gabriel Jesus made his welcome return to action after four months out with a knee injury.

Double header

After a tentative opening 15 minutes or so Arsenal started to increase the tempo and had the ball in the net after a fast break on the left. Gabriel Martinelli and Granit Xhaka played a one-two to get the Brazilian in behind the defence.

His shot was parried by Bernd Leno into Antonee Robinson and into his own net. Arsenal celebrated but the goal was ruled out for offside in the build up after a VAR review.

Arsenal  didn’t have to wait too long for the opener though. After winning three corners in succession, the third proved decisive. Leandro Trossard’s inswinging delivery was on the money and Gabriel rose highest to head home.

Arsenal  were playing with more confidence now, and doubled the lead with another header.

This time the move started inside Arsenal’s own penalty area. Saliba’s sweeping pass forward got them on the attack, Trossard stood up a looping cross to the far post and Martinelli headed in from close range.

On the front foot

It was no more than Arsenal deserved, and went hunting the third. A wonderful passage of combination play between Odegaard, Trassard and Xhaka created the next opportunity. Odegaard’s pass to Xhaka was dummied to Trossard, the Belgian returned a first time pass to Xhaka who had extended his run. But just as he was bearing down on Leno, his touch let him down.

A loose pass out by Aaron Ramsdale nearly gave Fulham a route back into the game, but Andreas Pereira lifted his shot just over.

It didn’t put Arsenal off their stride at all. Martinelli forced a save from Leno at the near post before Arsenal did eventually increase their advantage.

Trossard yet again was the instigator. His cross fell to Odegaard in the box, and the skipper was coolness personified. He took a touch, then another, shifted into onto his left foot, and slotted it home with ease.

It was the last kick of a scintillating first-half display from Mikel Arteta’s side.

Jesus returns

Fulham started the second period in positive fashion, with Aleksandar Mitrovic the target of their attacking intent.

But Arsenal retained a huge threat on the break, with Martinelli and Odegaard both seeing shots blocked in the box.

Frequently Arsenal were springing into action though, with quick passing combinations. Xhaka’s wonderful touch created another shooting opportunity for Martinelli on the edge of the box, that was well charged down.

Mitrovic thumped a header against the bar for the hosts from a corner and Ramsdale made smart saves from Pereira and Tosin Adarabioyo

Arteta responded by bringing on Gabriel Jesus for his long-awaited comeback from injury. It was the Brazilian’s first of action for Arsenal since before the World Cup. He was 120 days out of the team, and looked intent on making up for lost time immediately.

He set up fellow sub Reiss Nelson for a good chance, before having his own shot saved by Leno.

The second half had been a more even affair, but the hard work had already been done, and Arsenal  re-established a five-point cushion at the top of the table with a commanding authority.

What it means

Arsenal restore five-point advantage over Manchester City in the Premier League table after 27 matches played.

What’s next

Arsenal have got two more fixtures this week before the international break, both at Emirates Stadium.

On Thursday, Arsenal host Sporting CP in the second leg of the Europa League Round of 16, after a 2-2 draw in Portugal.

Then Arsenal host Crystal Palace next Sunday back in the Premier League before the international hiatus.

*****

SOURCE: Arsenal.com

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