Arsenal made it nine wins in a row in all competitions as they thrashed Fulham 5-1 in the Premier League on Sunday.
Alexandre Lacazette scored twice for the Gunners before Aaron Ramsey’s brilliant finish and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s late double secured a third straight away win in the top flight – their best such run since October 2016.
Andre Schurrle had brought Fulham level at half-time, but it is now five defeats in eight games for Slavisa Jokanovic’s side, who have conceded 21 times in those matches this season.
Unai Emery’s side, who have won every game since back-to-back losses to Manchester City and Chelsea in August, are now third in the table, above rivals Tottenham on goal difference.
Fulham’s back three looked exposed with every Arsenal attack and only fine work from Marcus Bettinelli stopped Alex Iwobi tapping home a second, but they snatched an equaliser a minute before half-time, Schurrle clipping a fine first-time finish over Leno after a good Luciano Vietto pass.
Bettinelli made an excellent one-handed save to deny Hector Bellerin just after the break, but he was beaten in the bottom-left corner barely a minute later as Lacazette blasted home his second of the game on the half-volley.
Any hope of another Fulham comeback was quelled with 23 minutes left, as Ramsey, 39 seconds after coming on, flicked a backheel in off the post after a super counter-attack gave Aubameyang room to cross.
Aubameyang sealed the victory in style, collecting Bellerin’s cross and firing left-footed beyond Bettinelli on the turn, before striding onto Ramsey’s pass and drilling into the bottom-left corner in injury time.
What it means: Emery’s side have top spot in sight
It seemed unlikely after their back-to-back losses to City and Chelsea at the start of the season, but Arsenal are now only a point behind the champions and Liverpool, who meet at Anfield later on Sunday.
The Gunners are growing in confidence under Emery and are undoubtedly on track for a top-four challenge, while Lacazette’s form comes as a major plus.
Fulham, meanwhile, are still without a clean sheet and have conceded more goals than any other side in the top flight. They are just two points above the bottom three, too.
Lacazette looking lethal
Lacazette is flying under Emery this season and scored with his first two shots on target of the match at Craven Cottage.
Aside from his goalscoring, the forward’s all-round play was a real highlight for the Gunners, who are reaping the rewards of the striker’s increasing confidence.
Ream left reeling
Ream’s first outing this season ended in a 3-0 loss to Everton, and this did not go any better for the United States defender.
He simply could not live with the pace of Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi and allowed Lacazette to turn in the box to score his first goal. He only lasted 54 minutes.
Key Opta stats: Ramsey and Aubameyang set record
– Arsenal have won nine consecutive matches in all competitions for the first time since April 2015.
– Arsenal have a 51.5% win rate in Premier League London derbies (124/241) – the best in the division. In contrast, Fulham have the lowest win rate in these games (20.7% – 25/121).
– The Gunners have won four of their last five away Premier League matches (L1), as many as they had won in their previous 19 on the road.
– Lacazette has been directly involved in six goals in five starts in the Premier League so far this season (4 goals, 2 assists).
– Both Ramsey and Aubameyang scored and assisted – this is the first time in Premier League history two substitutes have scored and assisted for a team in a single game.
Arsenal now have a 15-day rest before they resume league duties at home to Leicester City on October 22, three days before they head to Sporting CP in the Europa League.
Fulham’s next outing is on October 20, when they travel to struggling Cardiff City in a game that looks even more important after both sides’ losses this weekend.courtesy:goal.com