Leandro Trossard stars as Arsenal go five points clear at top with win at Fulham
Leandro Trossard set up all three goals as Arsenal re-established their five-point cushion at the top of the Premier League with a 3-0 win at Fulham.
It was all too easy for the Gunners at Craven Cottage as the hosts struggled to find any foothold in the game.
Gabriel Magalhaes nodded in a Trossard corner in the 21st minute to spark a quick flurry of goals that would put the visitors out of reach.
Gabriel Martinelli added a second five minutes later, with Martin Odegaard all but securing the victory just before half-time.
A glorious day for the Gunners was capped off 13 minutes from time when Gabriel Jesus came off the bench to make his first appearance since undergoing knee surgery following an injury playing for Brazil at the World Cup in November.
Marco Silva’s side keenly felt the absence of Joao Palhinha as they slumped to a second straight defeat, coinciding with his two-match ban, with Arsenal having no trouble parting the Fulham midfield.
After all the emotions of recent matches, including a last-gasp victory against Bournemouth which led to wild celebrations from the Arsenal players and staff, it was a much more routine triumph for the north London club, who are pushing to win their first league title since 2003-04.
It did not take long for the Gunners to find their stride, and they thought they had taken the lead on 16 minutes when Antonee Robinson turned the ball into his own net after Bernd Leno had palmed the ball into the path of the defender.
However, the goal was ruled out following a lengthy VAR review, judging Martinelli offside in the build-up.
Leno had to be alert to make a low save to keep out Granit Xhaka’s drive just moments later as the visitors piled on the pressure.
And they were rewarded in the 21st minute when Gabriel headed home from a Trossard corner.
The Gunners doubled their advantage with a cleverly crafted break down the left on 26 minutes, Trossard crossing for Martinelli, who easily beat his marker Robinson and nodded home.
Former Brighton forward Trossard went close for Arsenal again as they continued to dominate, but his shot was just wide.
Fulham’s best chance of the first half arrived just before the break, when Aaron Ramsdale gave the ball away to Andreas Pereira, but he fired over the bar.
Arsenal added a third just before half-time, when Fulham were again unable to deal with a cross from the right. Having been picked out in the centre, Odegaard took a touch to create space before lashing into the back of the net.
Fulham started the second half brighter than the first, but were unable to find a way back into the match.
However, Ramsdale was called into action in the 69th minute to make a decent save from Bobby Decordova-Reid, with Aleksandar Mitrovic hitting the crossbar from the resulting corner.
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