Arsenal 2-1 Fulham: Five things learned as Gabriel goes from villain to hero with winner

Arsenal’s perfect start to the new season rolls on after a dramatic result against London rivals Fulham in which Gabriel was very much the star of the show at both ends of the pitch. The defender had allowed Aleksandar Mitrovic the time to score Fulham’s opener against the run of play. Martin Odegaard got Arsenal back level and Gabriel then scored a late winner to spark jubilant celebrations at the Emirates. Express Sport takes a look at five things we learned from the game.

Martin Odegaard growing into captaincy

He may be one of the youngest Arsenal captains in history but Odegaard is head and shoulders the leader of this side on the pitch. While providing a calming presence in the middle of the park, he also wears his heart on his sleeve and has proven that he’s happy to pull the hard yards as well as get involved in attack.

Neeskens Kebano had caught Arsenal napping when he sprinted from inside his own half to the edge of Arsenal’s box and Odegaard was the only Arsenal player rushing back to stop the Fulham winger. Had Odegaard not got there, Andreas Pereira was waiting in the middle of the box before the Arsenal skipper got his block in. And he got the Emirates bouncing once again with his third goal in two games to help rescue the Gunners a point.

Mitrovic proving critics wrong again

Coming into the new season, Fulham’s hopes of avoiding relegation largely rested on Mitrovic getting over his Premier League form. It was frankly abysmal with the striker being relegated in all three seasons he previously played in the top flight.

But he proved against Liverpool that it is well and truly behind him and now has four goals in as many games after pouncing on a mistake from Gabriel. Now the question is how far can Mitrovic go? Can he make a claim to win this year’s Golden Boot? On this form it’s hard to argue.

Cover for Thomas Partey

Arsenal crumbled at the end of last season when Thomas Partey missed the remaining nine league games through injury and Arteta hasn’t brought in a midfield signing other than Fabio Vieira. The 22-year-old is yet to start for the Gunners with Mohamed Elneny trusted once again to play Partey’s role alongside Granit Xhaka.

And Elneny had the difficult task of trying to prevent Fulham from getting the ball into Aleksandar Mitrovic and he largely succeeded throughout the match. Elneny was given a one-year deal in the summer and if he’s needed to step in for Partey more often then Arteta will need him to put in similar displays when called upon.

Antonee Robinson is the real deal

There were some suggestions that Fulham would look to sign an upgrade at left-back this summer but Marco Silva stuck to his guns on Antonee Robinson and the 25-year-old has kept some of the league’s best attacking players quiet for most of the games. Mohamed Salah struggled to get the better of Robinson on the opening day, before the Egypt international moved more centrally to link up with Darwin Nunez.


Arsenal’s Plan B

Mikel Arteta’s side looked dead and buried after Aleksandar Mitrovic scored against the run of play and were out of ideas. Martin Odegaard tried taking a leading role and eventually got Arsenal level to try and lift the crowd and the team to believe three points were still there for the hosts.

But Fulham weren’t seemingly troubled by the attacking trio of Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka. Arteta changed things up with Eddie Nketiah coming on for Kieran Tierney and that ultimately proved the difference with Fulham on the backfoot from there on.

Gabriel’s winner may have come from a corner, but Nketiah’s involvement can’t be denied and Arteta’s Plan B paid dividends.

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