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Barclays Premier League

Emirates Stadium (ATT 60,043) 26th November 2011 - Kick off 17:30 Ref: M Dean

Arsenal Arsenal vs Fulham Fulham

Arsenal 1

T Vermaelen (82)

ft

Fulham 1

T Vermaelen (og 65)

Fulham hold Arsenal to point

Vermaelen turns from villain to hero as he scores at both ends

By Razwan Mirza - Follow me on Twitter @RazMirza.   Last Updated: 26/11/11 8:45pm

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Thomas Vermaelen: The defender heads home to rescue a point for Arsenal

Thomas Vermaelen: The defender heads home to rescue a point for Arsenal

Arsenal were left frustrated as Fulham held out for a 1-1 draw in their Premier League clash at Emirates Stadium.

Man of the match: Fulham's Moussa Dembele was outstanding in the middle of the park and worked like a Trojan. Goal of the match: Thomas Vermaelen had already scored an own goal but the big Belgian redeemed himself with a towering header to restore parity. Save of the match: Mark Schwarzer made a string of fine saves throughout. The 39-year-old once again showing that age is not a problem. Gaffe of the match: The retreating Vermaelen gifted Fulham the lead as his scuffed back pass beat Wojciech Szczesny. Stat of the match: In 26 fixtures on Arsenal turf, Fulham have never won with Arsenal winning 22 times and drawing four times now. Talking point: Is Arsene Wenger's squad strong enough as they looked particularly tired in the second half?

Thomas Vermaelen was in the thick of the action, scoring at both ends as the defender turned from villain to hero as he put into his own net to give the visitors the lead but, with eight minutes remaining, he headed home to rescue a point.

The visitors, who had not won at Arsenal in 25 attempts, looked to be on their way to securing three points when the Belgium international diverted the ball past the diving Wojciech Szczesny into his own net from close range.

But the 26-year-old redeemed himself when nodding in Theo Walcott's right-wing cross late on at the other end.

No generosity

The hosts had dedicated the game to the Save the Children charity, but there was no sense of generosity as Arsene Wenger's men went in search of a sixth straight league win to continue their resurgence.

Andrey Arshavin - one of two changes from the midweek Champions League win over Borussia Dortmund - latched onto a pass from Robin van Persie to slot home, only to see the early celebrations cut short by an offside flag.

Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer then palmed away a close-range effort from Aaron Ramsey after another sweeping Arsenal attack.

Fulham did pose some threat on the counter, but Arsenal were soon back on the offensive as Walcott scampered away down the left before seeing his shot blocked by a wall of white shirts on the edge of the Fulham box.

On 20 minutes, Bobby Zamora turned Vermaelen just outside the area and drove an angled shot over the crossbar.

Walcott then skipped away again, leaving John Arne Riise trailing in his wake before pulling the ball back to the penalty spot where Ramsey crashed it high into the Clock End.

England winger Walcott was Arsenal's main outlet, this time shooting from the angle with Schwarzer saving at his near post.

Another determined run from Walcott forced a corner before his chip to the far post was nodded back by Van Persie and Arshavin was stretching as he hooked the loose ball wide.

Despite all their possession, Arsenal were unable to break down a solid rearguard from the visitors, and Gunners goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny had to beat away a fierce drive from Moussa Dembele.

Ramsey was close to connecting with Walcott's cross from the right as again Arsenal threatened with half-time looming.

Fulham midfielder Dickson Etuhu was then shown a yellow card for clattering Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker's backward header from the free-kick flew just wide.

Resolute

At the start of the second half Walcott continued to stretch the Fulham defence, as his low cross caused momentary confusion between former Gunner Philippe Senderos and Schwarzer before the loose ball was eventually hacked clear.

Arsenal captain Van Persie had been in brilliant goalscoring form, but after battling to create space in the box and slot past Schwarzer he saw his effort hacked off the line by Chris Baird.

Fulham continued to defend resolutely and snatched the lead on 65 minutes through an unfortunate own goal from Vermaelen.

Arteta thought he had been fouled, but play continued and Danny Murphy chipped the ball into the box.

Riise collected the pass on his chest, but the ball then bounced on the penalty spot before being scuffed back past Szczesny into the far corner by the retreating Vermaelen.

Zamora then quickly fired home again, only to be flagged marginally offside.

Arsenal had to step things up and were denied an equaliser when Schwarzer - once a target for the Gunners - clawed away a goalbound header from Johan Djourou after a corner.

The home side continued to press and were finally level when Vermaelen redeemed himself with a close-range downwards header on 83 minutes after Walcott's cross from the right.

Both Gervinho and then Walcott should have produced better finishes when weaving into the box instead of shooting tamely at the keeper.

Van Persie hit the side-netting when through down the right, and despite all of their late pressure, the Gunners had to make do with just a point.

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Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 17 42
2 Manchester City 17 39
3 Manchester United 17 32
4 West Ham United 17 31
5 Southampton 17 29
6 Arsenal 17 27
7 Tottenham Hotspur 17 27
8 Swansea City 17 25
9 Newcastle United 17 23
10 Liverpool 17 22
11 Everton 17 21
12 Aston Villa 17 20
13 Stoke City 17 19
14 Sunderland 17 19
15 West Bromwich Albion 17 17
16 Queens Park Rangers 17 17
17 Crystal Palace 17 15
18 Burnley 17 15
19 Hull City 17 13
20 Leicester City 17 10

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