Gunners late show sinks Fulham
Gunners leave it late to win
By Peter O'Rourke. Last Updated: 12/08/07 6:37pm
Healy: On the mark
Arsenal staged a dramatic late comeback to beat Fulham 2-1 in a thrilling London derby at Emirates Stadium.
Late goals from Robin van Persie (penalty) and Alexander Hleb gave Arsenal all three points against brave Fulham.
Fulham stunned the home side when David Healy opened the scoring after just 52 seconds following a horrendous mistake by Jens Lehmann.
Tony Warner, who was a late replacement for the injured Antti Niemi, produced heroics to deny Arsenal on numerous occasions, but he was finally beaten by Van Persie's 84th minute penalty and Hleb's last-gasp winner as Arsenal got their campaign off to a winning start.
StunnedFulham took a shock lead inside the opening minute through Healy following a terrible mistake by Lehmann.
Lehmann made a mess of Gael Clichy's backpass gifting possession to Healy and the Northern Ireland international could not believe his luck and promptly slotted into a empty net.
Hleb felt he had a strong claim for a penalty after cutting in form the left on 10 minutes and being felled by a sloppy challenge from Chris Baird, but referee Phil Dowd waved away Arsenal's appeals.
Fulham looked to hit Arsenal on the break and, with 25 minutes gone, Lehmann showed quick reactions to parry an 18-yard snapshot from Simon Davies.
On 35 minutes, Warner got down at full stretch to his right and touched a low drive from Tomas Rosicky around the post.
Warner denied Arsenal again when he produced a brave save with his legs from Hleb's close-range effort, before pushing an angled drive from Van Persie around the near post.
Arsenal picked up where they left off at the start of the second half and Rosicky tried to put a low shot into the far corner, only for Warner to produce another top-drawer block with his legs.
Zat Knight came to Fulham's rescue when deflected Rosicky's goal-bound 20-yard chip behind as Arsenal pressed for an equaliser.
Arsenal were awarded a free-kick when Steven Davis upended Van Persie on the edge of the area, and the Fulham player was cautioned.
Van Persie struck his shot well enough, but just curled the ball past the right-hand post.
Clint Dempsey almost caught Arsenal cold when he poked a shot just wide of the post.
PenaltyArsenal won a penalty six minutes from time when Carlos Bocanegra body-checked Kolo Toure as the defender weaved into the box and Van Persie scored from the spot to draw the home side level.
There was then a brief melee as the Arsenal players tried to get the ball back to the centre-circle. Warner and Papa Bouba Diop, along with Arsenal's Mathieu Flamini, were cautioned as a result.
Arsenal grabbed the winner in the dying seconds when Hleb turned in the box and drove his shot beyond Warner to send the home fans into raptures.
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|12||Shots on Target||7|
|7||Shots off Target||5|
Barclays Premier League
|15||West Bromwich Albion||15||15|
|17||West Ham United||15||13|