Fulham 0-3 Arsenal: Gabriel Magalhaes and Willian shine on Gunners debut as Fulham are brushed aside on Premier League return.
(African Stand) — Gabriel Magalhaes and Willian enjoyed dream Arsenal debuts as the pair played key roles in the Gunners’ opening day win over Fulham.
Willian, who signed on a free from London rivals Chelsea this summer, set up all three goals in the victory at Craven Cottage, with one of those coming as his corner was headed home by Gabriel.
It capped off a perfect opening day for Mikel Arteta’s side, with Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also opening their accounts for the season to secure all three points.
In attack, Willian was the star of the show, slotting in perfectly on the right, while at the back Gabriel showcased just why Arsenal paid Lille around £26million to sign him this summer.
In the end, this proved to be a straight-forward 3-0 win for Arsenal against a newly-promoted side – but it certainly didn’t start that way.
First Dani Ceballos and Eddie Nketiah had to be pulled apart after a heated exchange during a rondo in the warm-up, and then Gabriel almost marked his debut with a horror error when he and Bernd Leno both left a back-pass.
The German goalkeeper, who was starting after Emi Martinez had been left out of the squad as he prepares to leave Arsenal, dealt with the issue and after that had a relatively quiet first-half. Gabriel too bounced back and was arguably his side’s best player, with only Willian pipping him to the man of the match award.
The Gunners controlled proceedings following Fulham’s bright start and took the lead after nine minutes when Lacazette tapped home. Granit Xhaka’s shot had been blocked and, when Willian couldn’t score the rebound, Lacazatte was there to grab his first of the season.
Arsenal pushed for a second after that and they should have got it as Willian struck the post from a free-kick and several crosses flashed across the Fulham box begging to be finished off.
The two sides ended up going in level at half-time, but four minutes after the break Arsenal did double their lead as Gabriel rose highest from Willian’s corner to head home and mark his debut in the way he would have wanted.