Gabriel Magalhaes goes from zero to hero as Arsenal hit back to beat Fulham

The Gunners maintained their perfect start to the Premier League season with victory at the Emirates Stadium.
Gabriel Magalhaes goes from zero to hero as Arsenal hit back to beat Fulham

By Mark Mann-Bryans, PA

Gabriel Magalhaes went from zero to hero as he atoned for gifting Fulham the lead by scoring the winning goal and extending Arsenal’s perfect start to the Premier League season.

The Brazil defender was badly caught out by Aleksandar Mitrovic as the Gunners came from behind to win 2-1 and retain their place at the top of the table.

Mitrovic’s goal, his 100th for Fulham and his fourth of the season – already more than he managed in the entirety of their relegation campaign two years ago – gave the visitors hope of continuing their own unbeaten start to the season.

Instead, Martin Odegaard equalised with a deflected strike before Gabriel made amends by bundling home the winner five minutes from the end.

Mikel Arteta had been forced into making changes to his line-up for the first time this season as the injured Thomas Partey and Oleksandar Zinchenko dropped out.

Granit Xhaka and Gabriel Martinelli had early chances without testing former Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno, the hosts building up a head of steam in the same fashion as last week’s win at Bournemouth.

Unlike their victory on the south coast, however, the Gunners could not set the tone with a quick opening goal as Fulham held them at bay.

Leno was not forced into meaningful action until after the half-hour, keeping out Bukayo Saka’s strike as the forward beat Fulham’s offside trap to go through one on one with his old team-mate.

That proved to be the only effort on target from either side in a forgettable first half, with Arsenal largely frustrated by Marco Silva’s men.

Gabriel Jesus should have done better with a chance as the hosts looked to kick on after the interval, hitting a tame effort at Leno after being found in the box by Xhaka.

But it would be Fulham who broke the deadlock, Gabriel caught dawdling in possession by Mitrovic, who overpowered his marker and calmly slotted home.

Arteta reacted by introducing Eddie Nketiah and reverting to a back three and it paid instant dividends.

Arsenal v Fulham – Premier League – Emirates Stadium
Martin Odegaard celebrates after scoring Arsenal’s equaliser against Fulham. Photo: Bradley Collyer/PA

Odegaard, fresh from his brace against the Cherries, equalised with a hint of fortune as his shot deflected off Tosin Adarabioyo and past the wrong-footed Leno.

Fulham were still in the game and came close to regaining the lead, Aaron Ramsdale pushing away a towering Mitrovic header before Ben White bravely blocked Bobby Decordova-Reid’s follow-up.

With Arsenal stepping it up a gear, Nketiah fired wide before shooting straight at Leno from a Martinelli cutback and then fluffing his lines with another decent chance.

Leno had been enjoying his return to the Emirates Stadium, turning a Martinelli strike from an acute angle behind as the home side continued to force the issue.

Arsenal v Fulham – Premier League – Emirates Stadium
Gabriel scores Arsenal’s winning goal against Fulham to make it four wins from four in the Premier League this season. Photo: Bradley Collyer/PA

But from the resulting corner it would be Gabriel who atoned for his earlier error, poking home the loose ball after Leno had failed to deal with a corner that dropped to the feet of the Brazilian.

The goal survived two VAR checks, the first for a foul on Leno and the second for a handball against Gabriel, both tight calls which went Arsenal’s way.

There was still time for Ramsdale to make a fine save and prevent Fulham substitute Nathaniel Chalobah securing a draw as Arteta’s side hung on for another three points.

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