Premier League Results: Lukas Podolski to the Fore as Impressive Arsenal Ease Past Fulham

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Aug 24, 2013 09:40 AM EDT
Arsenal Olivier Giroud Fulham David Stockdale
Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud scores past Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale in their English Premier League game, August 24"


Lukas Podolski leaving Arsenal this summer? You have got to be kidding!

That piledriver of a left foot of the German international was brought into perfect use on Saturday at Craven Cottage as Arsenal ran out 3-1 winners over Fulham to pick up their first win of the English Premier League season.

Podolski scored two brilliantly taken goals, with Olivier Giroud making it three goals in three games as the Gunners put the disappointment of losing to Aston Villa behind them with an assured performance - similar to the one displayed against Fenerbahce in the Champions League playoffs.

Darren Bent, on his debut for Fulham, got the consolation goal for Fulham late in the game.

Arsene Wenger decided to give Jack Wilshere a rest with Santi Cazorla slotting in midfield and Lukas Podolski finally getting a start.

The Gunners needed to pick up from where they had left off in the 3-0 win over Fenerbahce, and they did just that, controlling possession and creating a couple of chances in the first ten minutes at Craven Cottage.

Theo Walcott had the first chance for Arsenal, but the forward saw his effort pushed wide by goalkeeper David Stockdale, in for the injured Maarten Stekelenburg, with the ensuing corner also cleared after Olivier Giroud rose to try and head home.

Arsenal kept pressing and probing and a goal seemed right around the corner. It came as no surprise that Aaron Ramsey, the man of the match against Fenerbahce had a big hand in it, albeit inadvertently.

The Arsenal midfielder struck a low drive from 25 yards, which struck Giroud, who then reacted brilliantly to slot it past Stockdale with the outside of his left foot in the 14th minute.

Fulham nearly equalized immediately at the other end, with Adel Taarabt forcing a good save from Wojciech Szczesny before the Arsenal goalkeeper reacted well again to stop Damien Duff from slotting in the rebound.

The home side were slowly growing in confidence now, and a slick move involving Taarabt and Dimitar Berbatov nearly ended in a goal, but new signing Scott Parker fired his shot from 20 yards high.

However, the more Fulham attacked, the more Arsenal threatened on the counter-attack with some quick passing and the pace of Walcott constantly posing a threat.

Walcott nearly set up Kieran Gibbs for the second straight game off a quick counter, but the left-back skewed his shot wide.

The away fans did not have to wait too long for their second goal, though, as another quick attack presented Walcott with an opportunity to test the keeper. Stockdale parried the England international's effort, but the ball fell perfectly for Podolski to rifle a left-footer from 12 yards out.

Podolski should have made it 3-0, off another brilliant counter, with Walcott, who else, again marauding through the Fulham defence before setting Podolski up. However, the German inexplicably chose to pass it across the face of goal instead of pulling out that lethal left foot.

Fulham looked to take the game to Arsenal early in the second half, with Taarabt firing in a warning shot which was turned over by Szczesny; but Arsenal were always comfortable really, again looking threatening on the counter.

Fulham did their best to try and break down the Arsenal defence, with Martin Jol bringing on Darren Bent for Damien Duff, but the back four held firm.

The result was pretty much sealed on 68 minutes, with that brilliant left foot of Podolski again coming to the fore.

Giroud did brilliantly to control a long ball before bringing Walcott into play. Walcott then played in Santi Cazorla who waited before laying the ball off to Podolski, who took a touch before smashing into the bottom corner.

Fulham refused to give up though and they reduced the deficit to 3-1 thirteen minutes from time courtesy debutant Bent.

Berbatov wriggled free on the inside right before playing a low cross for Bent to slot in from close range.

Arsenal could have made it four, with Walcott missing a glorious chance in the closing stages, but Wenger won't complain too much after seeing his side put in another impressive performance.

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