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Page last updated at 16:56 GMT, Saturday, 4 December 2010

Arsenal   2 - 1   Fulham

Samir Nasri
French international Nasri (left) is in the best form of his Arsenal career so far

By Chris Whyatt

Two flashes of genius from Samir Nasri nudged jittery Arsenal past Fulham at the Emirates to lift the Gunners to the top of the Premier League table.

Nasri lashed the hosts into an early lead after dancing inside two defenders before they wasted a host of chances.

A clash of heads left Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny dazed to let Diomansy Kamara slot a slick but contested equaliser.

But Nasri decided the match late on after jinking past a posse of opponents to slip the ball home from an angle.

Thanks to the France international, who now has 11 goals from midfield this season, Arsenal stand a point clear of Manchester United after putting back-to-back home league defeats behind them, albeit in a nervous fashion.

Fulham's atrocious record on the road, though, continues and they have now failed to win a Premier League away game since the opening day of last season.

Wenger praises 'natural' Nasri

Yet Mark Hughes's team came close to an upset, rattling Arsene Wenger's Arsenal by pressing hard for a second goal to take the lead - even pushing for a last-gasp equaliser - either side of Nasri's winner.

On a pristine playing surface despite a week of freezing temperatures and snow, former Marseille player Nasri looked razor sharp right from the off.

After quickly building up a head of steam, Arsenal nearly took a fifth-minute lead but Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer made a superb point-blank stop after rushing out of goal to block a cushioned volley from Arsenal forward Andrey Arshavin.

The hosts dominated possession and neat passing between Marouane Chamakh and Tomas Rosicky around the box nearly carved a clear opening.

But it was simply a matter of time, 13 minutes in fact, before Fulham's defence was breached with the lively Arshavin pouncing on a mistake from Aaron Hughes before charging towards the area.

Just when he appeared to lose control of the ball, the little Russian prodded a clever pass through to Nasri.

Steaming in at a smart angle, he collected the ball in his stride before stepping inside two defenders to lash an emphatic left-foot shot into the roof of the net.

Arsenal continued to slice through Fulham, yet they soon fell victim to their biggest weakness - over-elaboration.

This was illustrated perfectly when Chamakh wastefully passed the ball back to Jack Wilshere when a more ruthless striker would have finished the chance.

606: DEBATE
Tom

It was then Fulham who almost extended Arsenal's lead. After Nasri had jinked along the touchline before cutting the ball back across goal, Schwarzer saved well as his team-mate Dickson Etuhu poked the cross towards his own goal.

Alex Song volleyed just wide seconds later when well placed before Fulham got back into the match in bizarre fashion.

Sebastien Squillaci accidentally head-butted team-mate Koscielny in the nose as they both attempted to clear a high ball.

Fulham striker Clint Dempsey seized possession and evaded Song with great footwork before releasing Kamara, who ran free unmarked as Koscielny clutched his nose in pain.

The Senegalese forward's finish - one touch, an instant curled shot past Lukasz Fabianski - was clinical.

Wenger was distraught that referee Chris Foy had not stopped the match for Koscielny's head injury, which caused him to be taken off on a stretcher and replaced with Johan Djourou.

But the goal stood and Kamara set about exposing the re-jigged back-line as Fulham began to get a grip on the game.

There were good chances before half-time for both teams. Bacary Sagna whipped over a cross for Chamakh, who headed straight into Schwarzer's arms, and then Kamara breached the offside trap to get one-on-one with Fabianski, forcing the Pole to save smartly.

Arsenal started the second period well, with Rosicky slashing a low volley just wide of the post before Schwarzer saved low with his feet from Arshavin's shot after he had skilfully jinked into space 10 yards out.

Robin van Persie replaced Rosicky just after the hour, as the match briefly became bad-tempered.

Song slashed wildly over when well placed after John Pantsil gave the ball away following an aggressive tussle between the pair.

Fabianski then rashly went for a cross but did not make it and Zoltan Gera's header had to be hacked away off the line before the Hungarian flashed a well-executed overhead kick just wide.

Hughes happy with Fulham belief

But, with Fulham pressing hard, Nasri decided the match with a moment that will live long in the memory.

Following slick play by Arshavin and Van Persie, the little midfielder ran on to the Dutchman's short pass into the heart of Fulham's penalty area side-stepping a series of challenges.

After sliding the ball past Schwarzer and opening up the goal it looked like he had gone too wide - but Nasri span his body round to curl home a shot before Brede Hangeland could get back to cover.

Djourou then nearly put the ball into his own goal but, luckily, his awkward header flew wide before Chamakh again failed to hit the target with a decent opportunity.

Gera again threatened with a dangerous shot but Fabianski held on and a relieved Arsenal moved to the top of this unpredictable league.

Live text and stats

 

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Barclays Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Arsenal 2-1 Fulham FT
(HT 1-1)
  • Nasri 14
  • Nasri 75
  • Kamara 30

Arsenal

Substitutes

Fulham

Substitutes

Ref: FoyAtt: 60,049
ARSENAL
FULHAM

Possession

  • Arsenal 51%
  • Fulham 49%

Attempts on target

  • Arsenal 9
  • Fulham 7

Attempts off target

  • Arsenal 6
  • Fulham 5

Corners

  • Arsenal 3
  • Fulham 7

Fouls

  • Arsenal 7
  • Fulham 5
  • Final Result
  • Full Time
  • 90:00+4:18 The referee ends the match.
  • 90:00+0:47 Shot by Andrew Johnson. Blocked by Johan Djourou.
  • 89:59 Brede Hangeland challenges Marouane Chamakh unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Johan Djourou.
  • 88:36 Brede Hangeland concedes a free kick for a foul on Johan Djourou. Lukasz Fabianski takes the free kick.
  • 88:00 Zoltan Gera takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Lukasz Fabianski makes a save. Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Simon Davies, Alex Song makes a clearance.
  • 88:00 Substitution Eddie Johnson is brought on as a substitute for Danny Murphy.
  • 86:34 Theo Walcott is caught offside. Chris Baird takes the indirect free kick.
  • 83:50 Effort on goal by Zoltan Gera from just outside the area goes harmlessly over the target.
  • 78:51 Shot from deep inside the area by Marouane Chamakh clears the crossbar.
  • 77:39 Dickson Etuhu produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the area which goes wide of the left-hand post.
  • 76:58 Corner taken by Simon Davies from the left by-line to the near post, clearance made by Alex Song.
  • 74:59 Robin van Persie provided the assist for the goal.
  • 74:59 GOAL - Samir NasriArsenal 2 - 1 Fulham Goal scored by Samir Nasri from close in low into the middle of the goal. Arsenal 2-1 Fulham.
  • 72:36 Substitution Theo Walcott comes on in place of Jack Wilshere.
  • 72:36 Substitution Andrew Johnson comes on in place of Diomansy Kamara.
  • 72:25 Zoltan Gera produces a left-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the left of the target.
  • 71:50 Chris Baird fouled by Robin van Persie, the ref awards a free kick. Chris Baird takes the free kick.
  • Correction - 69:31 Corner from the right by-line taken by Simon Davies, clearance by Alex Song. Zoltan Gera takes a shot. Blocked by Bacary Sagna.
  • 69:31 Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Simon Davies from the right by-line, Alex Song manages to make a clearance. Chris Baird takes a shot. Blocked by Bacary Sagna.
  • 67:06 The referee gives a free kick against Zoltan Gera for handball. Alex Song takes the direct free kick.
  • 66:05 Shot from deep inside the area by Alex Song clears the bar.
  • 62:13 Substitution Robin van Persie is brought on as a substitute for Tomas Rosicky.
  • 61:12 Simon Davies fouled by Alex Song, the ref awards a free kick. Aaron Hughes takes the free kick.
  • 59:41 Corner taken by Simon Davies, Headed effort from inside the box by Dickson Etuhu misses to the right of the target.
  • 56:34 Andrey Arshavin takes a shot. Mark Schwarzer makes a save.
  • 56:18 Andrey Arshavin takes a shot. Blocked by Aaron Hughes.
  • 54:23 Diomansy Kamara challenges Andrey Arshavin unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Alex Song.
  • 52:00 Tomas Rosicky produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the area and misses to the left of the goal.
  • 50:47 Simon Davies is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Indirect free kick taken by Gael Clichy.
  • 49:37 Clinton Dempsey has an effort at goal from 25 yards. Blocked by Alex Song. Simon Davies takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post, Gael Clichy manages to make a clearance.
  • 48:31 Centre by Gael Clichy, save by Mark Schwarzer.
  • 45:01 The second half begins.
  • Half Time
  • 45:00+3:06 The half-time whistle blows.
  • 45:00+2:39 The referee blows for offside against Diomansy Kamara. Lukasz Fabianski restarts play with the free kick.
  • 45:00+2:07 Unfair challenge on John Pantsil by Marouane Chamakh results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Aaron Hughes.
  • 45:00+1:26 Jack Wilshere concedes a free kick for a foul on John Pantsil. Free kick taken by Mark Schwarzer.
  • 45:00+0:33 The assistant referee flags for offside against Clinton Dempsey. Free kick taken by Lukasz Fabianski.
  • 45:00+0:06 Diomansy Kamara takes a shot. Save by Lukasz Fabianski.
  • 44:38 Bacary Sagna crosses the ball, Marouane Chamakh takes a shot. Save by Mark Schwarzer.
  • 42:39 The referee penalises Aaron Hughes for handball. The ball is swung over by Andrey Arshavin, Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Marouane Chamakh goes harmlessly over the crossbar.
  • 40:46 The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Lukasz Fabianski.
  • 38:14 Corner taken right-footed by Simon Davies from the left by-line, save made by Lukasz Fabianski.
  • 35:50 Simon Davies is ruled offside. Johan Djourou restarts play with the free kick.
  • 32:26 Substitution Johan Djourou replaces Laurent Koscielny.
  • 29:40 The assist for the goal came from Clinton Dempsey.
  • 29:40 GOAL - Diomansy KamaraArsenal 1 - 1 Fulham Diomansy Kamara grabs a goal from inside the penalty area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Arsenal 1-1 Fulham.
  • 27:54 Corner taken by Jack Wilshere, Laurent Koscielny takes a shot. Save by Mark Schwarzer.
  • 27:54 Substitution Chris Baird replaces Matthew Briggs.
  • Correction - 26:52 The ball is delivered by Tomas Rosicky, Alex Song has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of the target.
  • 26:52 Tomas Rosicky sends in a cross, Alex Song produces a volleyed right-footed shot from deep inside the area which goes wide of the left-hand post.
  • 26:20 Diomansy Kamara is caught offside. Sebastien Squillaci takes the indirect free kick.
  • 24:47 The offside flag is raised against Diomansy Kamara. Lukasz Fabianski restarts play with the free kick.
  • 23:22 Andrey Arshavin takes a shot. Mark Schwarzer makes a save.
  • 21:52 Samir Nasri gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Clinton Dempsey. Mark Schwarzer restarts play with the free kick.
  • 19:08 Corner taken by Simon Davies, Lukasz Fabianski makes a save.
  • 17:08 Samir Nasri concedes a free kick for a foul on Clinton Dempsey. Danny Murphy crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from left channel, Alex Song makes a clearance.
  • 16:20 The referee blows for offside. Indirect free kick taken by Mark Schwarzer.
  • 15:40 Simon Davies takes a shot. Blocked by Sebastien Squillaci.
  • 13:06 Assist by Andrey Arshavin.
  • 13:06 GOAL - Samir NasriArsenal 1 - 0 Fulham Samir Nasri fires in a goal from inside the six-yard box to the top right corner of the goal. Arsenal 1-0 Fulham.
  • 12:19 Shot by Samir Nasri from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the goal.
  • 10:45 Zoltan Gera has an effort at goal from just outside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.
  • 10:06 Samir Nasri takes a shot. Dickson Etuhu gets a block in.
  • 9:21 Jack Wilshere takes the inswinging corner, clearance made by Diomansy Kamara.
  • 6:36 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Jack Wilshere from the right by-line to the near post, clearance by Diomansy Kamara.
  • 5:06 Matthew Briggs challenges Samir Nasri unfairly and gives away a free kick. Jack Wilshere crosses the ball in from the free kick. Andrey Arshavin takes a shot. Save by Mark Schwarzer.
  • 4:13 Free kick awarded for a foul by Danny Murphy on Tomas Rosicky. Tomas Rosicky takes the direct free kick.
  • 1:23 Unfair challenge on John Pantsil by Andrey Arshavin results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Mark Schwarzer.
  • 0:00 The referee gets the game started.

Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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Barclays Premier League results

4 Dec 2010 23:59 UK


Barclays Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 4 Dec 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Arsenal 16 16 32
2 Man Utd 15 19 31
3 Chelsea 16 19 30
4 Man City 16 9 29
5 Tottenham 16 3 26
6 Bolton 16 5 23
7 Stoke 16 0 21
8 Blackburn 16 -4 21
9 Sunderland 15 1 20
10 Newcastle 15 1 19
11 Liverpool 15 -2 19
12 Blackpool 15 -6 19
13 West Brom 15 -6 19
14 Birmingham 16 -2 18
15 Everton 16 -2 17
16 Aston Villa 15 -7 17
17 Fulham 16 -4 15
18 Wigan 16 -15 15
19 West Ham 15 -12 12
20 Wolves 16 -13 12

see also
Hughes happy with Fulham belief
04 Dec 10 |  Fulham
Wenger praises 'natural' Nasri
04 Dec 10 |  Arsenal
Wenger hails inspirational Nasri
04 Dec 10 |  Arsenal
Saturday football as it happened
04 Dec 10 |  Football
Saturday's football photos
04 Dec 10 |  Football



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