Fulham 0-3 Arsenal: Player Ratings- Gabriel and Willian Shine as Arsenal sweep Fulham in Season opener

Arteta and His Boys started the season off on a very bright note, 3 points, 3 goals, and a clean sheet on what was a very straightforward afternoon for the Gunners. The Game was the First Kick-Off of the new premier league season and Fulham welcomed Arsenal to the Craven Cottage close to the banks of the River Thames, a 12:30 Afternoon kick-off. Arsenal lined up in a fluid 3-4-3 which changed depending on if they had possession or not.

Arteta’s First full season as Manager of the Club got off to a good start as the gunners went ahead through Alexander Lacazette; the Frenchmen who’s been one of the players being linked away from the club finished at close range after fulham’s Keeper Rodak spilled the ball from a Willian shot. The goal came on the 8th minute a bit against the run of play as Fulham had started the game on a better note than the gunners but from then on, it was all arsenal. New signing Gabriel would double Arsenal’s lead a few minutes after the restart and Captain and Talisman Aubameyang who may be close to finally signing a new deal with the Gunners rounded off the scoring just before the hour mark. A very good day for Arteta and his boys and as well for the new signings who were on show; Gabriel getting acquainted really well with the Premier League and Willian putting up a very good Show justifying his selection over Nicolas Pepe today.  Without further ado, Lets dive straight into the player ratings shall we:

Bernd Leno: The absence of Emiliano Martinez from the matchday squad alluded to the possible and almost definite departure of the Argentine from the Club. Having put up such mercurial displays in the absence of Bernd and pretty much almost wrestling the number one position from him; Leno had to be on point today at the very least and he did that, calming the early nerves and making the needed saves early on in the game. Although he made just two saves he seemed to command his area better which is where fans feel he pales compared to Emiliano. His communication is another area that Emiliano seemed to fare better and it almost came to fore when Kamara almost rounded him after Miscommunication with Gabriel. All in all, he had a quiet but good enough game. This clean sheet is important in staking his claim again this season and a good foundation to remind the fans of his capabilities and setting hearts at ease if Martinez does eventually leave. 7

Rob Holding: Playing as the Right-sided center-back, Rob didn’t put a foot wrong today, a player who shouldn’t have been at the club for this game bar a last-minute change of mind from the Gaffer. Rob handled himself very well and though the quality of the opposition may not be as good as they come he still didn’t give an inch. Winning most of his aerial duels and was very composed on the ball and showed evidence of that when he was pivotal in the play that won the corner for Gabriel’s debut goal.  7

Gabriel:  A real statement of intent from the young Brazilian today, started off a bit jittery with that little moment between him and leno that almost let Kamara in but after that he put in a mercurial performance, shutting out all forward forrays from the fulham attack and getting a debut Goal on the other end with a quite immaculate Performance. Definitely put in a very strong display for his first game in the premier league. 8

Kieran Tierney: Wasn’t one of his standout games but the scot was efficient as usual, a few shaky moments early on in the game but he grew as the game progressed and always offered an option on the left when we attacked.  7

Hector Bellerin: Last season wasn’t really a good one for Heccy B, he was on the sidelines for a long while and did not look up to speed when he returned but the Spaniard who has been linked with a move away from the emirates seems to be getting his groove back, was on the job in defense and was a massive force as well going forward and should definitely have had an assist to his name. On the evidence of this game; the club should definitely be keeping the Spaniard or selling for a much higher value than is being rumored. 8

Maitland Niles: Another one of those linked with a move away from the club, Maitland who seems to have seen his fortunes at the club change since the tail end of last season which culminated in a call up to the three lions for his international senior debut put in another decent shift. Sturdy in defense and always taking up good positions when in the attack. He may not be getting that midfield role anytime soon but he definitely seems to have secured his place in Arteta’s starting lineup. 7

Granit Xhaka: Another decent outing by the swiss, this is really becoming a norm for him, it’s really been a long time since Xhaka had a bad game and long may this continue. Putting up another intelligent performance in midfield, making himself available while filling up the vacated spaces when Tierney went forward. 7

Mo Elneny: Well He’s definitely giving Arteta a serious conundrum right now as he was very decent again today. The Egyptian was very intelligent with his play and extremely tidy on the ball, he showed his engine as well as he had the legs to come deep, collect the ball, and move the play forward. Apart from his penchant for the safe sideways pass, he was pretty good today and should have probably gotten a goal in the first half.. 7

Aubameyang: A solid display from the club captain. A bit quiet in the first half but  Worked hard and well with Maitland-Niles on the wings as has become the norm between those two before he stamped his mark on the game with a sublime finish into the far corner in the second half. Should have scored when Bellerin played him through and maybe again when Pepe tried to play a low cross in but still a quality display from the captain:7

Lacazette: There’s been news surrounding his future lately but Laca doesn’t seem fazed at all, he came in sharp into the game today and delivered a very efficient performance, he seems ready for this season seeing as the season before wasn’t so good for him and the competition between him and Eddie seems to have served him really well. He was on hand as the quickest off the mark to pounce on a loose ball in the box to get the season’s first goal, it’s not the first time he’s done that. Definitely a good way to start off the season and with an away goal to boot. 8

Willian: Three Assists for the new boy today and a very impressive performance, showed why he’s been at the premier league this long.

His starting position may have been on the right, but the Brazilian drifted a lot into more central areas once Arsenal broke into the middle third of the pitch. Happened in the opening minutes and in the build-up to the goal. Could fill the void that is there when Arsenal use a 3-4-3 system. Tracked back well to intervene when Aboubakar Kamara was racing towards the Arsenal box. Took his corner very well to find Gabriel for his debut goal in the first half. Stayed alive when the ball fell to him with Arsenal on the break to play in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for his goal. Continued to cause problems after the third goal and was a real force until he was brought off. He’s definitely putting Nicolas Pepe on his toes 8


Ceballos: seems to have added a lot of energy and aggression to his game, short but decent cameo. Served us with a filthy nutmeg too. 6

Pepe: Introduced himself with a nice corner before showing great flair to work an angle into the box although his cross was blocked. A decent cameo, he seems to know Willian is not here to play games 6

Eddie Nketiah didn’t have much time to influence the game much for me, so a standard 5 for him.

MOM: it’s a difficult one this one, the whole team put in a really good shift. Laca, Gabriel, Bellerin and Willian all have a big shout for me but i think Gabriel just edges it ahead of Willian and Hector. Yeah Willian got the multiple Assists and Hector was a real driving force but Gabriel’s first introduction into the premier league and he comes up with a very mercurial display just shades it for me.

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