Arsenal returned to winning ways on New Year’s Day, dispatching Fulham 4-1 at the Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners endured a shaky start to the match but, after riding their luck on a few occasions, they managed to take the lead after 25 minutes through Granit Xhaka. The Swiss midfielder drifted into the Fulham box unmarked before controlling the ball and passing it into the bottom corner.
The hosts weren’t able to double their lead before half-time, but it took them just ten minutes to strike again in the second-half. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put Sead Kolasinac through on goal and the Bosnian full-back squared the ball to Alexandre Lacazette who thundered it in from close range.
Fulham weren’t deterred by that setback and they managed to pull a goal back through Aboubakar Kamara. Lucas Torreira gave the ball away in the centre of the park and Fulham pounced, with Kamara on hand to tap home after Ryan Sessegnon fizzed the ball across the box.
Just when it seemed like Fulham may have been able to salvage a point, the game was wrapped up when Aaron Ramsey restored Arsenal’s two goal lead. Aubameyang struck the post from close range and Ramsey was on hand to guide his rebound into the top corner.
Arsenal then added some extra polish to scoreline a few minutes later, as Aubameyang got in on the act with a deflected strike that cruelly looped over Sergio Rico in the Fulham goal.
Pretty much everything went wrong for Arsenal during their embarrassing 5-1 defeat to Liverpool on Saturday, so Unai Emery would have been looking for a big reaction from his side.
It was by no means a fantastic response to that result, despite what the 4-1 scoreline may suggest. They looked rather impressive going forward, just as they always tend to against sides in the bottom half of the table, but they were also far too open at the back and were very fortunate to have conceded just one goal.
Getting the win always takes priority over anything else, but the Gunners have to iron out their current defensive issues if they to compete for the top four by the end of the season.