Saturday 23 February 2002, 3:00pm at Highbury, London
Barclays Premier League
Arsenal
4
Lauren 5'; Vieira 15'; Henry 39', 59'
Fulham FC
Fulham
1
Marlet 10'
Fulham are overpowered on their first visit to Highbury in the Premiership as despite Steve Marlet's early goal they go down 4-1 to Arsenal.

5' Goal

Lauren

15' Goal

Patrick Vieira

39' Goal

Thierry Henry

59' Goal

Thierry Henry

43' Substitution

Player was substituted due to an injury
On:Lee Dixon
Off:Giovanni van Bronckhorst

73' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Gilles Grimandi
Off:Robert Pires

81' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Jérémie Aliadière
Off:Thierry Henry

10' Goal

Steve Marlet

56' Yellow Card

Alain Goma Card was given for a foul

56' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Luis Boa Morte
Off:Zat Knight

60' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Louis Saha
Off:Barry Hayles

64' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Jon Harley
Off:Rufus Brevett

0
15
30
45
60
75
90
Inspired by Gallic flair of the highest quality, Arsenal appropriately effected a much-needed renaissance in their home league fortunes as they swept aside Fulham.

Highbury was very much the French quarter of North London with 11 of the players, two managers and even both assistants with their roots from across the Channel.

Indeed, under Jean Tigana, Fulham have been trying to emulate Arsenal's French-inspired route to success. But beware pale imitations.

For while Fulham's side contains mainly emerging or unproven French talent, Arsene Wenger has the finished article in his hands. The creme de la creme, in fact.

At the heart of Arsenal's convincing display was their inspirational captain

Patrick Vieira, who was reawakened after his recent slumbers to drive his side forward with panache and power.

Vieira even struck his first goal of the season to put his side back ahead after Steve Marlet had equalised in a rare attack by the visitors following the impressive Lauren's early goal.

However, it was compatriots Sylvain Wiltord, Robert Pires and Thierry Henry, who applied the coup de grace with two goals, who simply tore the Fulham defence apart with their pace and trickery.

And having previously dropped 17 points out of a possible 36 at Highbury, including draws in each of their past two home league games, it was a significant result for the title contenders.

While Arsenal's French foreign legion dominated, the conditions were decidedly British, with a biting wind and even a brief pre-match snowfall giving way to sunshine.

Then again, while Arsenal must have set some kind of record with all but three players wearing gloves, they were quickly warmed up as they seized the lead after just five minutes with a superb one-touch move.

Once Giovanni van Bronckhorst had touched the ball to Henry, he found Wiltord on the overlap and the striker cut the ball back invitingly for Lauren, who swept the ball home.

Fulham struck back within five minutes completely against the run of play, with Marlet left unmarked at the far post to head home Rufus Brevett's deep cross.

But while Vieira dominated central midfield, it was the searing pace of Wiltord, Henry and Pires that Fulham's defence simply could not cope with.

After Wiltord had threatened again, Henry anticipated a backwards pass by Brevett and nipped in to flick the ball into the path of the onrushing Vieira, who rifled his shot home.

Lauren and van Bronckhorst also came close, but it was the French connection that linked up again as Vieira combined with Wiltord to pick out Henry, who shook off Andy Melville before finishing with aplomb.

It was still not half-time but after van Bronckhorst limped off, to be replaced by Lee Dixon, Arsenal continued to pile forward, with Wiltord somehow blazing the ball over the bar from close range.

And while he was also denied by van der Sar after Vieira's storming run, it was not too long after the break that the home side went even further ahead.

Pires was this time the creator, picking out Lauren with a deep cross and although his header struck the post, it rebounded onto the lurking figure of Henry and back into the net.

Henry appeared almost embarrassed by the manner of the goal, his 27th of the season, but it was fully deserved and Arsenal continued to dominate, with Pires appropriately replaced by yet another Frenchman, Gilles Grimandi.

Indeed, all that remained was for 18-year-old French striker Jeremie Aliadiere to make his Premiership debut and he duly came on for Henry in the closing stages.

By then, Arsenal were home and dry thanks to their French contingent. Fulham, meanwhile, for all their progress this season, could only watch and learn.

Indeed, the only sour note for Arsenal was news of Nicolas Anelka's equaliser for Liverpool at Anfield.

Then again, it was an afternoon when Highbury-inspired Frenchmen were exactly that. Inspired.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 23 February 2002
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Highbury, London
Attendance: 38,029

Referee: Dermot Gallagher

Arsenal

Line-up: Seaman; Luzhny, Campbell, Stepanovs, van Bronckhorst (Dixon 43'); Lauren, Parlour, Vieira, Pires (Grimandi 73'); Wiltord, Henry (Aliadière 81')

Unused substitutes: Wright, Edu

Fulham

Line-up: Van der Sar; Finnan, Melville, Knight (Boa Morte 56'), Brevett (Harley 64'); Legwinski, Goma, Collins, Malbranque; Hayles (Saha 60'), Marlet

Unused substitutes: Taylor, Ouaddou

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Manchester United 28 57
2 Arsenal 27 54
3 Liverpool 28 53
4 Newcastle United 26 52
5 Chelsea 26 44
6 Leeds United 26 43
7 Aston Villa 27 38
8 Tottenham Hotspur 26 35
9 Fulham 27 35
10 West Ham United 27 34
11 Charlton Athletic 26 33
12 Middlesbrough 27 31
13 Sunderland 26 31
14 Southampton 27 31
15 Ipswich Town 26 30
16 Everton 27 29
17 Bolton Wanderers 27 29
18 Blackburn Rovers 26 25
19 Derby County 27 25
20 Leicester City 27 17
Arsenal (4-4-2)
  • David Seaman
  • Oleg Luzhny
  • 5Sol Campbell
  • Igors Stepanovs
  • Giovanni van Bronckhorst
  • 4Lauren
  • 15Ray Parlour
  • 24Patrick Vieira
  • 7Robert Pires
  • Sylvain Wiltord
  • 14Thierry Henry
Substitutes
  • 29Richard Wright
  • Lee Dixon
  • Gilles Grimandi
  • Edu
  • 10Jérémie Aliadière
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 1Edwin Van der Sar
  • 2Steve Finnan
  • 4Andy Melville
  • 16Zat Knight
  • 3Rufus Brevett
  • 18Sylvain Legwinski
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 10John Collins
  • 14Steed Malbranque
  • 15Barry Hayles
  • 7Steve Marlet
Substitutes
  • 12Maik Taylor
  • 7Jon Harley
  • 25Abdeslam Ouaddou
  • 11Luis Boa Morte
  • 20Louis Saha