By: Kamusime Barnabas
Fulham 0:3 Arsenal
Crystal Palace 1:0 Southampton
Liverpool 4:3 Leeds United
West ham 0:2 Newcastle
Ruthless Arsenal deliver Fulham reality check on opening dayArsenal eased into the new season with a comfortable 3-0 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage. Mikel Arteta’s side enjoyed a pleasant afternoon beside the Thames after Alexandre Lacazette opened the scoring from close range in the ninth minute.
Gabriel Magalhaes, the defender signed from Lille this summer, added a second with a powerful header from a corner four minutes into the second half. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang confirmed the away side’s supremacy with an excellent strike after 57 minutes. Arsenal will face tougher opposition but Arteta’s team, who lined up in a 3-4-3 formation, were much too good for Fulham.
For Scott Parker it was a grim opening to the campaign. The home side showed little going forward and were hapless at the back.
Both teams are committed to playing out from the back, even when circumstances appear to demand an agricultural hoof. This made for entertaining but somewhat scatterbrained action. Fulham struggled to establish a pattern and Arsenal became more coherent as they grew into the game. Arteta’s system allows the wing backs to range forward with impunity. There were early signs of a potentially impressive partnership between Hector Bellerin and Willian on the right. The Brazilian changed the point of attack by drifting wide to the byline, allowing Bellerin to charge down the inside channel. Fulham were unable to cut off this threat down the flank. Those who lobbied for Nicholas Pepe to be selected over Willian had their arguments undermined by the former Chelsea man.
Willian came close to adding a second when he rapped a free kick against the foot of the post. Aubameyang then tested Rodak after Tierney lobbed into the area. Fulham struggled to deal with obvious balls from near the halfway line.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp calls a 4:3 win over Leeds ‘proper spectacle’
Promoted Leeds, back in the top flight after 16 years, fought back from a goal down on three occasions but Liverpool emerged with the three points after an 88th minute penalty from hat-trick hero Mohamed Salah.
What a game, what an opponent, what a performance from both teams. A proper spectacle, I loved that,” Klopp said after the match as his team extended their home unbeaten streak in the league to 60 games.
“It is pretty rare you see that many goals in a game, we have left space for improvement in our defending but that is not unusual for a first game. Our players have played a few days ago for their countries so it is possible.”