After last weekend’s disastrous season opener against West Ham which we lost 1-3, Arsenal have indeed bounced back with some determination and vigour. Optimism was in short supply following that demoralising setback. But the impressive triumph against Fenerbahce in Istanbul had raised hopes. And the inability to bring in new faces despite numerous high-profile attempts was quickly forgotten. Midweek we had the away game in Turkey against Fenerbache in the Champions League qualifying, which the Gunners emphatically won 3-0. Doing that away in Turkey is not an easy task. This leaves the club in a good position for the return leg at the Emirates and barring a meltdown, should easily make it through to the Champions League proper. Now that was done, it was time to show the faithful fans that they mean business.
Today the match was against fellow Londoners Fullham and Arsenal did well at Craven Cottage. Arsenal piled on the pressure early on and were rewarded when Giroud cleverly flicked the ball past Stockdale with the outside of his left foot for his third goal in three games after the Frenchman made the most of a very fortunate ricochet from Aaron Ramsey’s mis-hit shot. Arsenal – who left Jack Wilshere on the bench – were still controlling much of the midfield battle through Ramsey and still looked the more threatening. And after an encouraging 10 minutes for the west Londoners, Arsenal made it two four minutes before the interval when Podolski brilliantly steered the ball home at pace from 18 yards after Stockdale had done well to keep out Walcott’s initial effort.
Giroud should have added a third in the final seconds of the first period, but was caught in two minds and the ball rolled harmlessly across the goal. Arsenal added a third when a wonderful piece of control by Giroud in the centre of the pitch led to Podolski firing a low cross shot into the far corner. Fulham persisted though and had something to cheer when Bent turned the ball in from a couple of yards out after a superb piece of control and instant shot from Berbatov.