Cazorla keeps Arsenal on top

Spain midfielder Santi Cazorla struck twice in the second half as Arsenal beat Fulham 2-0 to stay ahead of Manchester City at the top of the Barclays Premier League.

Last Updated: 19/01/14 at 10:35 Post Comment

Santi Cazorla: Bagged a brace for Arsenal

Santi Cazorla: Bagged a brace for Arsenal

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

With free-scoring City romping to another big home win as Cardiff were the latest side put to the sword at the Etihad Stadium, there was little margin for error from Arsene Wenger's men, who hold a slender one-point lead.

After a slow first half, the Gunners finally sparked into life as two quick goals from diminutive Spaniard Cazorla gave them what was in the end a comfortable victory.

Fulham - who made the expected sweeping changes from their midweek FA Cup third-round replay win over Norwich - had never won in any competition at Arsenal, losing 22 of their trips so far to north London.

The visitors were almost behind on five minutes when Jack Wilshere played Mesut Ozil into the right side of the penalty area, and his scuffed shot rolled past fit-again goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, but was hacked clear by captain Brede Hangeland, making his first league start since October after back surgery.

Arsenal continued to attack, but were met with a determined wall of dark blue shirts at the edge of the Fulham penalty area.

Former Gunners trainee Steve Sidwell went in heavy on Wilshere to concede a free-kick in a central position some 25 yards out.

Ozil, though, crashed his shot into the wall.

German teenager Serge Gnabry, stepping into the side following Theo Walcott's season-ending knee injury, fed Olivier Giroud at the edge of the 18-yard box, but the France striker fired the ball high and wide.

Fulham finally came to life on 20 minutes when the ball dropped to Sidwell at the edge of the Arsenal penalty area. The midfielder fired in a superb half-volley which Wojciech Szczesny beat away one-handed as it flew towards the top-right corner.

The Poland international then had to get his timing inch-perfect as he came out to save at the feet of Ashkan Dejagah as Fulham pressed again.

Clever footwork from Cazorla after a quick free-kick saw the Spaniard brought down just outside the penalty arc.

Ozil stood over the ball, but left it for Cazorla, whose low strike came off the bottom of the wall, rebounding to Bacary Sagna. His shot was saved as was Giroud's follow-up, but the offside flag had been raised.

There was a scare for Arsenal at the start of the second half as Fulham defender Dan Burn, making his Premier League debut, sent a header goalwards from a corner, but Per Mertesacker was well placed to clear.

Slowly Arsenal regained their dominance, but continued to be frustrated by a lack of a decisive pass to open up the stubborn visitors.

Gnabry continued to look lively and made space for a shot at the edge of the Fulham box which Stekelenburg pushed wide.

The Cottagers goal continued to lead a charmed life as both Cazorla and Gnabry saw close-range efforts blocked before Laurent Koscielny hit the post.

Arsenal finally had the breakthrough on 57 minutes when the ball was worked by Giroud to Wilshere in the left side of the crowded penalty area and he cut it back to Cazorla who drilled his shot into the bottom right corner.

Before Fulham could regroup, they were 2-0 down.

Nacho Monreal's cross from the left was headed out by Burn, and the ball dropped to Cazorla.

The Spaniard needed little invitation to set himself before clipping a lovely drive low past Stekelenburg on 62 minutes.

There was some concern when Giroud went down clutching his ankle following a sliding challenge from Sidwell, but the France forward was able to continue after treatment.

With 20 minutes left, Gnabry was given a break as fellow German Lukas Podolski came on.

The substitute almost had an instant impact as his angled shot was blocked by Sascha Riether and then saw a rasping 20-yard drive touched on to the post by Stekelenburg, while Darren Bent spurned a glorious late chance for Fulham.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

More Match Results

Saturday, 22 November 2014
17:30
Arsenal 1-2 Man Utd  
15:00
Chelsea 2-0 W Brom  
Everton 2-1 West Ham  
Leicester 0-0 S'land  
Man City 2-1 Swansea  
Newcastle 1-0 QPR  
Stoke 1-2 Burnley Report
Sunday, 09 November 2014
16:00
Swansea 2-1 Arsenal Report
13:30
S'land 1-1 Everton Report
Tottenham 1-2 Stoke Report

Footer 365

Ligue 1: Lyon held by Bastia, Monaco grind out a point, Rennes climb

Lyon missed out on the opportunity to leapfrog Marseille in to second place in Ligue 1 as they were held 0-0 by Bastia.

Premier League: Arsene Wenger is frustrated by loss to Man United

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger insists his side should have got something from their 2-1 loss to Manchester United.

Premier League: Van Gaal stays grounded after first away win propels United into the top-four

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal played down his side’s first away win of the season at Arsenal.

Mail Box

A Funny Mail About Line Dancing & More

We have some great responses to young Jack's question about how readers first got into football. Plus, finally some intelligent thoughts on Dave Whelan's outburst...

United Fans Would Gladly Take Wilshere

That's the message to any Arsenal fans who don't appreciate the midfielder. Plus, plenty on everyone's current favourite football club chairman and a wee question about fandom...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property