Willian and Gabriel enjoyed encouraging debuts as Arsenal won 3-0 at Fulham, who endured a poor first match back in the Premier League..
Arsenal made a convincing start to the new Premier League season as debutants Willian and Gabriel impressed in a 3-0 win at Fulham.
Willian set up Gabriel and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score second-half goals after helping to force Alexandre Lacazette’s unmissable opener.
Mikel Arteta’s side lost their final two away league games of 2019-20 to Tottenham and Aston Villa, but victory at Craven Cottage was comfortably in their grasp as soon as Lacazette struck eight minutes in to become the first player to score the first goal of a Premier League season on two occasions.
Scott Parker’s men enjoyed nearly half of the possession but offered scant threat to the Gunners’ goal as the challenge facing last season’s Championship play-off winners was laid bare.
Fulham started positively but fell behind in disappointing fashion, Lacazette tapping in after Marek Rodak had saved from Willian, all after Aubameyang had been allowed to chase and retrieve a loose ball in the hosts’ box.
Willian almost scored his first Arsenal goal with his first shot, the Brazilian striking the base of the left-hand post from a free-kick on the edge of the box.
Gabriel, who been largely untroubled in defence in the first half, made a telling contribution at the other end four minutes into the second half, diverting Willian’s corner past Rodak with his shoulder.
It was 3-0 before the hour mark, Willian switching play to Aubameyang after winning back the ball in the Fulham half and the Gunners striker curling a fine finish into the top-right corner.
Michael Hector cleared off the line to deny Aubameyang a second and prevent Fulham’s first game back in the top flight from becoming worse.
Along side Mohamed Salah scored a hat-trick, including two penalties, as Liverpool snatched victory, but Leeds took plenty of credit away from Anfield..
Hat-trick hero Mohamed Salah saved the day for Liverpool after promoted Leeds gave the champions a huge scare in a 4-3 thriller on the opening day of the Premier League season.
The Reds striker struck a decisive 88th-minute penalty, his second spot-kick of the game at Anfield, to ensure last season’s all-conquering side started the new campaign on a positive note.
In a battle between last season’s Premier League and Championship winners, Salah’s first two goals and one from Virgil van Dijk were countered by Leeds’ replies from Jack Harrison, Patrick Bamford and Mateusz Klich.
A sub-plot to this Merseyside showdown was the tactical battle between managers Jurgen Klopp and Marcelo Bielsa, and the latter looked like coming away with a point until Rodrigo fouled Fabinho, allowing Salah to slot home and win the game.
Liverpool were awarded a penalty in the third minute when Salah’s shot struck the outstretched right arm of Leeds debutant Robin Koch, via the unlucky defender’s knee. Salah took responsibility from 12 yards and lashed his penalty high into the net, down the middle.
A sublime leveller from Leeds arrived in the 12th minute after new England cap Kalvin Phillips fed Harrison on the left. Harrison skipped infield, fending off Trent Alexander-Arnold, before drilling past Alisson from the edge of the penalty area.
The hosts restored their lead in the 20th minute when Van Dijk sprinted away from Koch and headed in Andy Robertson’s corner from the left.
Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier made a fine save to spare Pascal Struijk the embarrassment of an own goal, tipping over after the defender deflected Robertson’s cross, and the visitors briefly drew level for a second time when Bamford seized on sloppiness from Van Dijk to slot in.
Salah fired Liverpool 3-2 in front in the 33rd minute of a wild first half. With Robertson’s free-kick into the heart of the penalty area only half-cleared, Liverpool’s Egyptian striker had space and time to pick his spot and blaze a shot high into the right corner.