Debutants Gabriel, Willian shine as Arsenal down Fulham in season’s opener

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Debutants Gabriel and Willian impressed as Arsenal blew away promoted Fulham in the opening game of the Premier League season.

Former Chelsea winger Willian had a hand in all three goals and Gabriel – a £23m signing from Lille – scored in his first game in English football.

Arsenal were highly impressive, while Fulham caused themselves too many problems at the back.

Both sides have played and won at Wembley – twice for the Gunners – in the 48 days since the last Premier League season finished.

Alexandre Lacazette scored the opener from close range after Willian’s effort was saved.

Centre-back Gabriel then scored from Willian’s corner with his shoulder. Willian, who also hit a post from a free-kick, picked out Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng with a perfect cross-field ball and the captain curled home Arsenal’s third.

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Fulham created few chances, with last season’s top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic coming on with only 27 minutes to go and forcing Bernd Leno into a save.

There were signs of improvement under boss Mikel Arteta last season, with Arsenal showing a new defensive solidity and looking confident going forward.

They won the FA Cup final and Community Shield – against Chelsea and Liverpool respectively – at either end of August.

Despite a pre-season break of less than a month, they are in good shape if this performance is anything to go back.

 

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