Arsenal opened up the Premier League season with a convincing 3-0 win at Fulham on Saturday as their new signings stole the show. Both Willian and Gabriel shined inside an empty Craven Cottage as the hosts did little to defend and did little to threaten. Willian had two assists and was involved in all three goals, while Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Gabriel Magalhaes all scored.
Scott Parker’s side started star striker Aleksandar Mitrovic on the bench before he entered the match in the 63rd minute, and the attack gave Arsenal next to nothing to worry about for much of the 90 minutes.
Here are three takeaways from the match:
Willian was the best player on the pitch
Signing him on a free transfer from Chelsea looks like a brilliant move through one match. The Brazilian international was involved on all three goals and probably should have scored a couple. But his first shot in front of goal was saved, leading to Lacazette’s opener, and then he hit the left post on a free kick.
His team’s second goal came on his fine cross from the corner that found the head of Gabriel perfectly in the box.
Lastly, this cross-field pass to Aubameyang led to the final goal that put this game away by the 57th minute:
Obviously that’s a great finish, but props to Willian for seeing him going into space and playing him to feet perfectly.
Every single time he has the ball, he’s a threat. He proved it to Arsenal on day one.
Gabriel starts poorly, but ends well in debut
It took a moment for the former Lille defender to settle in, and he almost had a costly early error by letting a ball go to Bernd Leno when he shouldn’t have, but other than that, he was brilliant. He kept his attackers in front of him, timed his tackles well and played the ball forward with precision.
His goal was the cherry on top, and his performance will give Arsenal fans hope that their defensive woes could soon be over.
Where do the Cottagers go from here?
Not a great start, but nobody was expecting Fulham — who played in the Championship last season — to get a point from Arsenal anyway. You can’t really judge this team without Mitrovic starting, but it does feel like Fulham may need to make a move or two to boost the attack, specifically the creativity. They showed very little despite having possession to do so.
After 90 minutes, Fulham have as many yellow cards (two) as shots on goal.
It’s early, but a slow start can be a death blow.
Fulham 0, Arsenal 3 (FINAL)
⚽ Arsenal: Alexandre Lacazette (8′)
⚽ Arsenal: Gabriel Magalhães (49′)
⚽ Arsenal: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (57′)