Gunners cruise past Fulham
Adebayor brace heaps more misery on Cottagers
By James Pearson. Last Updated: 19/01/08 6:04pm
Adebayor: First-half brace
Emmanuel Adebayor helped himself to a brace as Arsenal brushed aside relegation-threatened Fulham 3-0 at Craven Cottage.
Despite a relatively low-key start to the contest by the visitors it did not take long for them to click into gear and open the scoring.
Gael Clichy delivered a deep cross in from the left and Adebayor out-jumped two defenders in the middle to head home.
The Togo international made it a double in the 38th minute and it was a virtual carbon copy. This time Alexander Hleb's cross from the right was nodded home by the striker.
Tomas Rosicky was close to adding a third from Eduardo's cut-back when he struck the post, although he did get his name on the scoresheet in the 81st minute.
It was a positive start by the hosts as Seol Ki-hyeon got inside Clichy down the right, but then stumbled at the vital moment. Eventually Danny Murphy blasted the loose ball wide from 20 yards.
Arsenal were struggling to get a firm hold of the game, but did work the ball around quickly whenever possible.
Cesc Fabregas dragged his shot off target from the edge of the penalty area.
However, as the quarter-hour mark came, Arsenal started to find their rhythm and were ahead on 19 minutes.
Clichy broke down the left, before sending over a high cross into the Fulham penalty area. Adebayor got up in between two markers to nod the ball into the bottom right corner for his 14th goal of the campaign.
Arsenal have not lost this season whenever their African front man has found the net, and were now in command.
The Cottagers tried to regroup, but their attacks were well marshalled by Arsenal captain William Gallas - the former Chelsea defender roundly booed by the home fans at every opportunity.
On 38 minutes, it was 2-0. Mathieu Flamini did well to win the ball back just outside the Fulham box, and stabbed it wide to Hleb on the right.
Hleb set himself before sending over a weighted cross to the centre, where Adebayor was on hand to head in his second goal of the match.
Fulham created their best chance three minutes before the break when Steven Davis got down the left flank and cut the ball back to the edge of the box. Murphy arrived perfectly - but his side-foot effort flew just over the bar.
Arsenal started the second half well and brilliant close control from Eduardo saw the Croatian weave into the penalty area from the right touchline.
His cut-back found Rosicky - and the Czech international was unfortunate to see a first-time effort come off the outside of the near post.
Fulham had yet to muster a shot on target, and the frustrations of the fans were beginning to get through to the players, who lacked cohesion when trying to build an attack.
The hosts did have the ball in the net through Clint Dempsey at the far post - but he was one of three players offside.
Arsenal almost conjured up a magical third following a fine interchange between the quick-footed Hleb, Rosicky and Fabregas - but the Spaniard's first-time shot was just wide.
It was game over soon afterwards, though, when Eduardo broke down the left, got to the goal-line and pulled the ball back across the six-yard box - where Rosicky flew in to volley home.
|0||1st Half Goals||2|
|0||Shots on Target||3|
|7||Shots off Target||8|
Barclays Premier League
|12||West Ham United||34||37|
|16||West Bromwich Albion||33||33|