Arsenal 2 Fulham 2: Sloppy Gunners throw away two points despite fighting back from 1-0 as ten-men visitors snatch draw | The Sun

SLOPPY Arsenal surrendered their 100 percent start to the season as ten-man Fulham snatched a dramatic late equaliser to leave Mikel Arteta fuming.

Joao Palhinha swept home Harrison Reed’s 87th minute corner just when it was beginning to look as though the Gunners were going to pull off another of their famous comeback victories.

And that point was the least the visitors deserved as they were denied a famous first ever away win against their illustrious London rivals.

It certainly helped to lift the spirits of Fulham boss Marco Silva, who was raging when ref Paul Tierney allowed Eddie Nketiah to fire Arsenal into a 72nd minute lead while Calvin Bassey was lying injured in the penalty area.

And Nketiah took full advantage of Bassey’s absence to convert an absolute peach of a pass from fellow sub Fabio Vieira.

So when Bassey received a second yellow card for blocking Nketiah, it looked like curtains for the luckless visitors.


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They had already conceded a 70th minute penalty after Vieira had been wiped out by Kenny Tete’s rash challenge.

Bukayo Saka had actually surrendered spot-kick duties to skipper Martin Odegaard during Monday’s 1-0 win at Crystal Palace.

He had missed from 12 yards against both West Ham and Aston Villa last season and again against Barcelona in pre-season.

But this time the young England star made no mistake as he sent Bernd Leno the wrong way to make amends for gifting Fulham their first minute lead.

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The game had barely kicked-off before an intricate series of Arsenal passes broke down when Saka inexplicably played the ball straight to Andreas Pereira.

Keeper Aaron Ramsdale was caught in no-man’s land and appeared to slip as he tried to get back in his goal, leaving Pereira the time and space to roll his shot inside the near post with just 58 seconds on the clock.

The fact that right-back Thomas Partey had already pushed into midfield and was nowhere to be seen when Saka’s pass went astray down his flank only compounded Arteta’s anger as he watched on from his technical area.

It was the worst possible start to Saka’s club record 83rd consecutive Premier League appearance and a rare error from the young England star.

But it was by no means the first time Arsenal had found themselves trailing within the first minute.

They conceded even quicker goals to Bournemouth and Southampton at the Emirates last season and didn’t lose either game.

So there was no immediate sense of panic among the crowd as they sat back and waited for the customary comeback.

It should have arrived in the 11th minute when Saka returned Leandro Trossard’s deep cross into the danger zone, but the stretching Kai Havertz somehow managed to hook his shot wide from three yards out.

The jury is still very much out on the £65million German international, who is currently  dividing opinion among the Emirates regulars more than any other player.

And he didn’t do himself any favours when he was unable to apply a finishing touch to another Saka teaser rolled right across the face of goal.

Former Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno added to the general air of frustration with a smart low save from Gabriel Martinelli before the young Brazilian was foiled again by Raul Jimenez’s crucial block.

Fulham’s Mexican striker still wears a protective headband as a permanent reminder of the horrific fractured skull he suffered at the Emirates in November 2020.

He has never been the same player since and returned to the scene of that gruesome accident on the back of a run of 25 League games without a goal.

But he almost ended that unwanted sequence when he pounced on Ben White’s poor header to send a 22nd minute scissor kick looping just the wrong side of the far post.

Absolutely nothing was going right for the Gunners, with even captain Martin Odegaard misplacing routine passes as Fulham dug in to protect their lead.

Even £105million Declan Rice was being put to shame by the impressive Palhinha at the heart of the visitors’ midfield.

Quite how he is still at Fulham is a mystery.

Arteta’s face was almost as dark as the rain bucketing down as he stormed down the tunnel at the half-time whistle ready to deliver a few home truths to his sloppy stars.

And it was only with the introduction of Nketiah and Vieira that tdhe momentum finally started to turn their way.

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Fulham, though, absolutely refused to surrender to their fate and could even have won this thrilling derby when Adama Traore raced the length of the pitch deep into stoppage time only to see his shot hit Ramsdale flush in the face.

It was probably no more than Arsenal deserved on the overall balance of play, but having struggled to win their opening games against Nottingham Forest and Palace, it’s beginning to look as though last season’s lack of a cutting edge has still to be resolved.

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