Arsenal rallies to beat Fulham 2-1 and stay perfect

Arsenal's Martin Odegaard, centre, celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Fulham at the Emirates Stadium, London, England, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
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LONDON (AP) — Arsenal defender Gabriel made up for a defensive howler by scoring a late winner to secure a 2-1 victory over Fulham that maintained the Gunners’ perfect start to the English Premier League on Saturday.

Having gifted Fulham the lead in the second half, Gabriel was on hand to score from close range after a corner in the 86th minute to complete the comeback for Arsenal.

Fulham led against the run of play in the 56th when Gabriel dawdled on the ball in his own area. Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic robbed the Brazilian of possession and beat goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale with a low finish inside the far post.

Gabriel’s winning goal was a simple tap-in into an empty net after Fulham goalkeeper Bernd Leno failed to punch away the corner, the first mistake from the German after he made a handful of good saves to keep his former teammates at bay. It was Leno’s first return to Emirates Stadium since his offseason move across London.

Until then, he had been beaten only by a shot from Martin Odegaard that took a big deflection off a Fulham defender in the 64th.

Ramsdale, who beat out Leno for the starting job last season, then maintained Arsenal’s lead in the final minutes with a good save at the other end to keep substitute Nathaniel Chalobah.

Arsenal tops the standings with 12 points from four games, two ahead of Manchester City and Brighton.

Manager Mikel Arteta was forced into a couple of changes as Thomas Party and Oleksandr Zinchenko were out injured, and Arsenal lacked some of its fluidity in midfield without the duo.

Arsenal still dominated possession but struggled to create quality chances.

Leno’s best save came in the first half, when Bukayo Saka raced clear on goal but saw his shot parried by the onrushing goalkeeper.