Arsenal kicked off their Premier League 2020-21 campaign in the best possible fashion with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, and Gabriel Magalhaes guiding the Gunners to an impressive victory at the Craven Cottage. Fulham and Scott Parker had a few bright moments but will have to improve by leaps and bounds to survive in the Premier League this season.
Mikel Arteta went with a 3-4-3 formation in Arsenal's first Premier League game of the new season and the decision paid dividends as Fulham struggled to find space in the Gunners' half. Arsenal improved considerably as the game progressed and their cutting edge in the final third gave Mikel Arteta an excellent victory.
Arsenal march to a comprehensive victory as Fulham fail to meet expectations
Fulham made a bright start to their first Premier League game this season and Aboubakar Kamara nearly pounced on a back-pass from Maitland-Niles in the opening stages of the game. Arsenal grew into the game, however, and some shoddy defending from Fulham gave Alexandre Lacazette the first goal of the game in under ten minutes.
Arsenal's dynamic front-three came alive after the French striker's goal and continued to threaten Fulham's goal in the remainder of the first half. The Cottagers were firm in their defence after the opening goal but failed to trouble Arsenal at the other end of the pitch.
Arsenal seized control of the game minutes into the second half with Gabriel Magalhaes scoring his first goal for the Gunners on debut from Arsenal's first corner of the 2020-21 season. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang added to Fulham's misery and scored an excellent goal from the left flank to give the Gunners a formidable lead.
Arsenal pushed on in the final stages of the game and came close to scoring a fourth goal on several occasions. Fulham looked exhausted in the second half and will need to work much harder to stay in the Premier League this season.
Fulham Player Ratings
Marek Rodak - 6/10
Marek Rodak did not have the best of outings against Arsenal and was only able to parry the ball into Lacazette's path for the opening goal. The shot-stopper did make a few saves in the second half but needs to improve to keep his place in Fulham's starting eleven.
Tim Ream - 5.5/10
Tim Ream will want to forget his first half against Arsenal as soon as possible. The Fulham centre-back failed to clear his lines against Willian and Alexandre Lacazette and was caught out of position on several occasions during the game.
Michael Hector - 6/10
Michael Hector had an impressive first half but struggled against Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the second half. The defender made several rash tackles towards the end of the game and was lucky to play the entire match.
Joe Bryan - 6/10
Joe Bryan was caught in two minds on numerous occasions during the game as Hector Bellerin and Willian combined to good effect on his flank. The full-back held his ground against his opposite number, however, and was able to stop a fair number of crosses.
Denis Odoi - 6.5/10
Denis Odoi had a good first half against Aubameyang and Ainsley Maitland-Niles and forced Arsenal's captain to drifted towards the middle of the pitch in search of the ball. Aubameyanh tormented the right-back in the second half, however, and Denis Odoi will have to take it up a notch to secure Fulham's future in the Premier League.
Thomas Cairney - 5.5/10
Thomas Cairney struggled against Arsenal and the Gunners' technically gifted midfielders were easily able to pass their way around Fulham's box-to-box players. Cairney picked up a yellow card in the second half and will not be particularly happy with his performance.
Harrison Reed - 5.5/10
Harrison Reed was brought in to stamp Fulham's authority in the midfield but did not live up to expectations against Arsenal. The midfielder was a mere passenger for most of the game and did not win his battles against Xhaka and Elneny.
Ivan Cavaleiro - 6.5/10
Ivan Cavaleiro was one of Fulham's few bright sparks on the pitch against Arsenal and often drifted to the left flank in search of space. The attacking midfielder had a few good moments against Hector Bellerin and is likely to keep his place in Fulham's line-up.
Joshua Onomah - 6.5/10
Joshua Onomah was one of Fulham's best players on the day and regularly found space between Arsenal's lines in the first-half. The attacking midfielder was not accurate with his final product, however, and will need to improve as the season progresses.
Neeskens Kebano - 6/10
Neeskens Kebano was isolated on several occasions in the final third and did not have much of an impact on the game. Fulham's free-kick specialist did not get many opportunities to showcase his repertoire of skills and was taken off in the second half.
Aboubakar Kamara - 5.5/10
Aboubakar Kamara started the game well but found it difficult to link up with the rest of his teammates as the game progressed. The Fulham striker had only a couple of shots at Bernd Leno's goal and was replaced by Aleksandar Mitrovic in the second half.
Aleksandar Mitrovic - 6.5/10
Aleksandar Mitrovic made more of an impact in his second-half cameo appearance than the rest of Fulham teammates and gave Rob Holding some tense moments in the final third. The Serbian striker is almost back to full fitness and should start Fulham's next game.
Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa - 6/10
Anguissa came on to the pitch in the second half and did manage to make a few important clearances as Fulham were forced on to the back foot.
Bobby Reid - 6/10
Bobby Reid made a late second-half appearance and did not have enough time on the pitch to make an impact on the game.