Arsenal got back to their winning ways in the new year, beating Fulham 4-1 at home.
Granit Xhaka gave the hosts the lead against the run of play, and Alexandre Lacazette added to the advantage after the break. Aboubakar Kamara took advantage of some poor defending to pull one back for the visitors, but substitute Aaron Ramsey restored the two-goal lead. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put the final score on the board.
While the scoreline may suggest a routine win for Arsenal, the Cottagers gave them a real battle for the majority of the contest and missed several great chances to take the lead early.
The Gunners got 2019 off to a winning start, but it was far from a great showing against Raineri’s team that is of far less quality.
The Cottagers seem likely candidates for relegation but dominated a good portion of the first half and perhaps should have taken the lead. Talented winger Ryan Sessegnon missed two great opportunities, including one a more experienced player likely would have finished.
Arsenal failed to bag a second goal in the first half even though they had plenty of opportunities after the opener. It set up another spell of pressure from Fulham and more danger before Lacazette finally doubled the lead and seemingly all but secured the win.
The second goal was a stunning team effort, with Sead Kolasinac, Iwobi and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang all touching the ball before the Frenchman put it into the goal.
Kamara pulled one back for Fulham near the midway point of the second half, however―another gift from the Gunners, who continue to hand opponents chances on a weekly basis―and this contest remained far too close for comfort.
Arsenal have tons of individual talent and can often make the difference through a few moments of genius, but there’s no hiding they’ve played some very poor football of late. This team needs to increase its overall level of play because those moments of brilliance can’t bail them out every single time.
West Ham and Chelsea are the next Premier League opponents on the schedule, and they’ll likely put up a much better fight than Fulham did.