The long-awaited English Premier League 2020-21 season has finally begun, with newly-promoted Fulham hosting Arsenal at Craven Cottage. Mikel Arteta named his preferred 3-4-3 formation, with Bernd Leno retaining his position as the first-choice keeper amid rumours that Emiliano Martinez could leave the club. Meanwhile, Scott Parker adopted a 4-2-3-1 formation and surprisingly left veteran striker Aleksandar Mitrovic on the bench.
Despite chances for the home team, Alexandre Lacazette scored the first goal of the season in the ninth minute. The Frenchman ensured the ball was in the net after Marek Rodak failed to clear Willian's earlier attempt on goal. The Gunners almost doubled their lead in the 27th minute but Willian's free-kick was denied by the woodwork.
At last, Arsenal's hard work paid off after Gabriel Magalhaes scored the second goal from a corner. The defender was the only player who leaped for the ball and his resulting header easily beat Rodak from close range. However, the misery was far from over for Parker's side as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored the third goal of the afternoon less than 10 minutes later.
Although Arsenal could have scored a few more goals, the three goals were more than enough to see Arteta's side get all three points from their first away game this season. Here are five talking points from the strong display by the North London club.
#5 Gabriel Magalhaes getting back on his feet after an early mistake
With injuries to centre-backs David Luiz, Pablo Mari and more, newcomer Gabriel was called into action straight away. The 22-year-old had a nervy start after a miscommunication with Leno, which saw the German make a last-minute dash to protect his goal.
Recovering well from his blunder, Gabriel seemed more confident as time passed. Eventually, the Brazil international proved that he could defend well aerially and in 1v1 situations. He enjoyed a superb passing accuracy of 95% and made two tackles as well as two clearances.
Soon after the second half started, Gabriel netted home to give his side a more comfortable lead over Fulham. It is certainly an impressive start for the defender, who seems to be adjusting well to the demands of the EPL.
#4 Willian's arrival is a great boost for Arsenal
Willian was named in the starting line-up ahead of the club's record signing Nicolas Pepe, and it is evident that the former Chelsea man is adapting well to the style of play Arteta is enforcing.
According to Squawka, the winger completed 100% of his passes in the first half against Fulham, and his blossoming chemistry with his teammates is already reaping rewards. In the 75 minutes he played this afternoon, Willian laid two assists for his teammates and played a massive role in Arsenal's convincing win.
Having been in the EPL since 2013, Willian's experience will definitely benefit Arsenal as they vie for trophies and most importantly, a return to the UEFA Champions League.