Arsenal started their 2020-21 Premier League campaign with a comfortable and impressive 3-0 win away to newly-promoted Fulham on Saturday lunchtime.
Alexandre Lacazette opened the scoring inside eight minutes with a tap in before debutant Gabriel Magalhaes headed in the second from a corner shortly after the restart.
A fine finish from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang shortly before the hour put the icing on the cake for Mikel Arteta’s side, who could end the opening weekend top of the table.
The Gunners had headed into the game without injured centre-backs David Luiz and Pablo Mari, whilst Dani Ceballos was seemingly lacking full match fitness following his recent loan move from Real Madrid, as the Spaniard only started on the bench.
Three things we observed from Fulham 0-3 Arsenal:
Willian’s impact: The 32-year-old arrived in North London from rivals Chelsea on a free transfer and made an immediate impact for his new club. The Blues failed to negotiate a deal for the right winger, who scored nine goals and recorded seven assists in 29 Premier League starts for Frank Lampard’s side last season. Willian opened his Arsenal account with two assists and was also significantly involved in the opener too. He struck the outside of the post from a direct free kick which was inches away from capping off a perfect debut. On this basis, Nicolas Pepe is going to have a very difficult task getting back into the starting lineup.
Gabriel was a rock: The £23 million arrival from Lyon looked like he was worth every penny on this basis. Although Gabriel Magalhaes is to learn from David Luiz at Arsenal, he showed good composure on the ball like his fellow countryman, whilst also being solid in defence. Aside from a chance in the opening five minutes, Fulham never looked close to scoring at lunchtime. That said, there will be many more tougher tests for the 22-year-old and the Gunners’ defence as the season goes on. Saturday’s host started without last season’s top scorer.
Mesut Ozil’s days are numbered: Mohamed Elneny started today’s game whilst the 2014 World Cup winner wasn’t even in the matchday squad. Mikel Arteta is settled on his 3-4-3 formation, even with limited options in central defence today because of injuries, which means there’s no room for Mesut Ozil in the first team. The German had fallen out of favour with the manager last season anyway and his poor performances out wide suggest he won’t get an opportunity in the front three this season, particularly with Nicolas Pepe, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli all available. The EFL Cup may be the only competition we see Mesut Ozil in an Arsenal shirt again.
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