|A brace from Emmanuel Adebayor and a goal from Tomáš Rosický saw struggling Fulham lose 3-0 to Arsenal at Craven Cottage on Saturday afternoon.|
Player was substituted for tactical reasons
Player was substituted for tactical reasons
Gaël Clichy Card was given for a foul
Fulham opted for a change from their usual 4-4-2 formation for the visit of Arsenal to Craven Cottage. Manager Roy Hodgson elected to start with a five-man midfield, with Alexey Smertin taking up a holding role just in front of the Fulham back line.
The Whites, using the extra man in midfield to good effect, had the visiting team under some pressure in the opening exchanges. Danny Murphy picked out a good run down the right wing from Seol Ki-Hyeon and fed a well-weighted ball into the South Korean international’s path. Unfortunately for Fulham Seol was unable to keep his feet when it came to delivering the cross and the move petered out.
The extra width afforded to the Whites as a result of their five-man midfield line up was certainly giving Fulham an advantage, which they used well just before the quarter hour mark to pressure the visitors into giving away a corner.
18 mins – GOAL ARSENAL – Abdebayor
The visitors took the lead in the 18th minute when a surging move down the left enabled Gael Clichy to reach the by-line and play a cross into the heart of the Fulham penalty area. Emmanuel Adebayor was able to out jump Dejan Stefanovic to head home from six yards. It was Arsenal’s first significant attack of the match up to then it was the most penetrating move of the encounter.
Buoyed by the opening goal, Arsenal started exerting their authority on the match with a series of unrushed, simple passing moves. With Adebayor available as a quick outlet, the Whites needed to be aware of the early ball played out of defence.
38 mins – GOAL ARSENAL – Adebayor
Arsenal doubled their lead following yet another spell of possession football which culminated in the ball being worked wide to Alexander Hleb who crossed for Adebayor. Once again, the tall Arsenal striker leapt unopposed in the area and planted his header past Antti Niemi, who had little chance.
With just under five minutes of the first half remaining, Fulham crafted a good opening after good work from Steven Davis fed the ball to Simon Davies on the wing – his cross found Murphy arriving late in the box, but the midfielder could only side-foot his shot over angle of the goal frame.
45 mins – Fulham Substitution – David OFF Bullard ON
Jimmy Bullard made his return to action at Craven Cottage when he was brought on for Steven Davis at the start of the second half.
A fine piece of individual skill from Eduardo produced a good chance for the visitors. The Arsenal attacker skipped past Moritz Volz before tricking his way around Aaron Hughes. His low cross was met by the rapidly advancing Tomas Rosicky whose shot sliced off the outside of the post.
60 mins – Fulham Substitution – Seol OFF Healy ON
With an hour on the clock, Roy Hodgson changed formation to 4-4-2 with David Healy coming on for Seol Ki-Hyeon. The substitution saw Jimmy Bullard move to the right side of midfield, allowing Healy to partner Clint Dempsey up front.
With the pace of the game having noticeably slowed down, neither team were creating many opportunities of note. For their part, Fulham were looking to probe more in the final third, with Bullard looking to get Fulham moving forward with some searching passes.
Fulham had the ball in the net in the 69th minute when Alexey Smertin floated a diagonal cross to the far post for Clint Dempsey to head home. Unfortunately, the American international along with two of his Fulham team-mates had drifted into an offside position.
Arsenal almost added to their tally on the 77th minute when Hleb teased his way through the left side of Fulham's defence before laying a ball to Fabregas. Hleb received the return pass and prodded the ball just wide.
78 mins - Fulham Substitution – Smertin OFF Kuqi ON
81 mins – GOAL ARSENAL – Rosicky
Arsenal rounded off the scoring in the 81st minute when Eduardo was sent through down the left flank. The Croatian international beat Dempsey to the by-line and delivered a cross into the area which was touched into the net by Rosicky on the stretch.
Competition: Barclays Premier League
Date: Saturday 19 January 2008
Venue: Craven Cottage, London
Referee: Peter Walton
Line-up: Niemi; Volz, Stefanovic, Hughes, Bocanegra; Smertin; Davies, Murphy, Steven Davis (Bullard 46'), Seol Ki-Hyeon (Healy 61'); Dempsey
Unused substitutes: Warner, Baird, Kamara
Line-up: Almunia; Sagna, Senderos, Gallas, Clichy; Hleb, Fábregas, Flamini, Rosicky; Adebayor, Eduardo
Unused substitutes: Lehmann, Hoyte, Gilberto Silva, Abou Diaby, Bendtner
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