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Page last updated at 18:30 GMT, Saturday, 23 August 2008 19:30 UK

Fulham 1-0 Arsenal

By Phil McNulty

Brede Hangeland celebrates putting Fulham ahead against Arsenal
Brede Hangeland celebrates putting Fulham ahead against Arsenal

Brede Hangeland's first-half goal gave Fulham their first win of the season against a disappointing Arsenal.

The giant defender stabbed in Jimmy Bullard's cross from close range after 21 minutes.

Emmanuel Adebayor headed Bacary Sagna's cross against the post shortly afterwards, but Arsenal rarely turned possession into clear chances.

Bobby Zamora almost added a second after the break as Fulham's commitment earned a deserved three points.

606: DEBATE
Jimmy Bullard's A Legend

Arsenal were unsettled by Fulham's physical approach, and it was clear how much they missed the composure and class of the injured Cesc Fabregas in midfield.

But for Fulham, it was the perfect response to their disappointing opening day defeat at newly promoted Hull City.

Arsenal were able to recall Kolo Toure and Robin van Persie - but Fulham's record signing Andrew Johnson was still sidelined by a thigh injury.

Fulham wanted it more - Wenger

It did not stop Roy Hodgson's side showing a greater sense of urgency and a highly charged approach in the first 45 minutes.

John Pantsil was fortunate to escape a red card in the 13th minute for a nasty challenge on Arsenal's Emmanuel Eboue.

Arsenal almost broke the deadlock six minutes later when Van Persie fired Samir Nasri's pass just wide - but it was Fulham who took the lead two minutes later.

Fulham worked a short corner and Bullard whipped in a cross that allowed Hangeland to steal in ahead of William Gallas to poke home from close range.

Arsenal responded and Adebayor almost levelled instantly when he directed a superb header against the post from Sagna's cross.

Fulham new boy Zamora has proved a tormentor of Arsenal in the past, and he was almost at it again on the hour when he turned a driven centre from Seol Ki-Hyeon inches over the top with Manuel Almunia beaten.

Hodgson delighted with Fulham show

Arsenal needed greater attacking thrust, and it was no surprise when Arsene Wenger made a change with 25 minutes remaining, sending on Nicklas Bendtner for the subdued Theo Walcott.

It made little difference, with Arsenal enjoying plenty of possession but failing to carve out any clear-cut chances.

Adebayor had a shot from outside the box with six minutes left, but it was saved with the minimum of fuss by Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer.

It was a rare moment of danger for Fulham and they survived in relative comfort.


Fulham manager Roy Hodgson:
"I was a really good result and it was a good performance, in particular, for just over 70 minutes.

"I thought our passing and movement was good in that time and I was happy with our defending.

"We fell into the trap in the last 15 minutes or so of trying to hang on to the result and there were a few panicky moments. But the defence stood firm."

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger:
"When you want to play at the top you must start the game with the right attitude and personality.

"That's what we didn't do and that's a good learning lesson. It was the kind of game where you couldn't afford a mistake at the back or at a set piece.

"I believe they wanted it a bit more than us in the first half and the corner (when they scored) shows that."


Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Kallio, Davies, Bullard, Murphy, Gera, Zamora, Ki-Hyeon.
Subs Not Used: Stockdale, Teymourian, Nevland, Stoor, Dempsey, Milsom, Baird.

Goals: Hangeland 21.

Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Clichy, Walcott, Eboue, Denilson, Nasri, Adebayor, Van Persie.
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Ramsey, Song Billong, Wilshere, Djourou, Bendtner, Gibbs.

Att: 25,276

Ref: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Fulham's Toni Kallio 8.33 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.




see also
How to watch Match of the Day
08 Oct 07 |  Match of the Day
Premier League as it happened
23 Aug 08 |  Premier League
Saturday's football photos
23 Aug 08 |  Football


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