Dubai: Arsenal put on a commanding performance to restore their five-point lead at the top of the Premier League with a resounding win against Fulham.
After Manchester City’s narrow win against Crystal Palace, Mikel Arteta’s side knew they had to respond and they did so in spectacular fashion. The Gunners opened up a 3-0 lead by half-time, with Gabriel Martinelli having a goal ruled out for offside by VAR before Gabriel headed in Leandro Trossard’s corner to put Arsenal ahead.
Trossard then provided the delivery for Martinelli’s second goal five minutes later, before setting up captain Martin Odegaard for a cool finish just before half-time.
Fulham mounted a late threat, but Arsenal were always in control, and influential striker Gabriel Jesus returned for a 13-minute cameo after a long layoff due to injury.
Top of table
Despite the pressure to maintain their lead at the top of the table, Arsenal’s performance demonstrated the steel, character, and skill that has defined their season.
Trossard’s £21m capture from Brighton in January looks increasingly shrewd by the week, and he played a pivotal role against Marco Silva’s side, taking on the role of creator-in-chief before being substituted to a standing ovation in the closing stages.
Mikel Arteta’s Gunners have faced different types of examinations in their quest to win their first title since 2004, and they have consistently risen to the challenge.
Last weekend, they came from two goals down to beat Bournemouth in the 97th minute, and against Fulham, they stamped their authority all over the match from the first whistle.
City had asked the question by winning at Selhurst Park, but Arsenal provided the answer with their fifth successive league win.
Meanwhile, bottom club Southampton earned an important point by holding 10-man Manchester United to a goalless draw at Old Trafford.
Casemiro was sent off after VAR intervention for a dangerous challenge on Carlos Alcaraz in the first half.
Both sides had chances, with Southampton’s Kyle Walker-Peters and United’s Bruno Fernandes hitting the post, and James Ward-Prowse clipping the bar for Saints. Southampton remain two points from safety, while United sit in third.