Arsenal restored their five-point lead at the top of the Premier League with a ruthless victory over Fulham.


Mikel Arteta’s side responded to Manchester City’s narrow victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday night by wrapping up the victory before half-time, opening up a 3-0 lead thanks to a devastating attack.

Gabriel Martinelli had already scored a goal that was narrowly ruled out for offside by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), before defender Gabriel headed Leandro Trossard’s corner on 21 minutes – the first of three assists for the Belgian.

Trossard then crossed for Martinelli to beat a static Antony Robinson to head in at the far post five minutes later, before providing a feed for captain Martin Odegaard to cross in first-half stoppage time.

Fulham threatened late on after the break when Bobby de Córdoba-Reid was denied by visiting keeper Aaron Ramsdale and Tosin Adarabio’s header hit the crossbar.

Arsenal were always in control, however, and Arteta was able to reintroduce influential striker Gabriel Jesus for the first time since he required knee surgery following an injury sustained during Brazil’s World Cup clash with Cameroon for a 13-minute cameo.

Trossard stands out as the Gunners undergo another test

It had all the earmarks of a dangerous game for Arsenal, given Fulham’s impressive campaign and the pressure after Manchester City cut their lead to two points.

But once again they showed the steel, character and skill that characterize their season.

Trossard’s £21million January capture from Brighton is looking more dodgy with each passing week and he ran riot on Fulham’s right flank, taking over as the main creator before being substituted to a standing ovation in the closing stages.

In this impressive bid to win their first title since 2004, Arsenal have regularly faced tests of all kinds – and they passed this one with flying colours.

The Gunners struggled to make it two goals to beat Bournemouth in the 97th minute of last weekend’s game at the Emirates Stadium, where they cemented their authority over lackluster Fulham from the first whistle.

Manchester City put the question to rest with a win at Selhurst Park. “Arsenal” responded to “Craven Cottage” by winning the fifth consecutive victory in the Premier League.

Fulham in danger of extinction

Marco Silva’s Fulham have been the standout addition to the top flight this season – a surprise as many saw them as relegation favourites.

However, they fell short of the standards they set themselves here, and the massive defeat capped a disappointing week after losing the west London derby at Brentford on Monday.

There were extenuating circumstances, with two of their most influential players missing, Willian out with a back injury and Joao Palinha suspended. Goals from top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic, who has scored 11 this season but last scored in January.

After a sub-par performance, Fulham only came alive after the break when the game was effectively over.

They are currently in eighth place and they have done so well that they have been able to compete for European football next season.

Silva’s main task now is to ensure that the end of this campaign does not devolve into an anti-climax.

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