Arsenal 2 v Fulham 1

What price Samir Nasri just now. Priceless I hear you say ?The football in general may not have been of the highest order, but a Nasri double strike was a thing of pure beauty to send Arsenal to the Premiership summit with a 2-1 win over a determined Fulham at the Emirates stadium.


Nasri has been in the form of his life of late, and was instrumental for France as they despatched England at Wembley recently. His two goals shone out like bright beacons in the north London winter evening. The rest of his team mates could do worse than take in a little of the magic from their France magician.


Arsenal started brightly and only keeper Mark Schwarzer stood in the way of Marouane Chamkh opening the scoring with an excellent block form the striker.Then a delightful move saw Chamakh pick out Andrey Arshavin. The Russian raced forward and slipped in Nasri who although beat the advancing Schwarzer, his shot could not beat the outside of the Fulham upright.


With their next move, Arsenal took the lead and what a goal! Arshavin found Nasri in the area. He twice cut back, firstly to his right then his left to bamboozle the Fulham defence and Scahwarzer before firing in for a brilliant opener. Fulham looked shell-shocked as they rarely threatend Lukasz Fabianski’s goal. Danny Murphy’s mistake then let in Arshavin, but his shot was straight at Schwarzer as Arsenal looked odds on to double their advantage. Alex Song saw his volley go wide and as Chamakh tore away with only Schwarzer ahead and,Brede Hangleland’s tackle saved Fulham.


Zoltan Gera had a shot go wide, but against the run of play the visitors drew level.Clint Dempsey fed Diomansy Kamara and just prior to the Cameroon forward lashing home the first half leveller, Sebastien Squillaci and Laurent Koscielny collided, with the latter having to be replaced by Johan Djourou. On the stroke of half time, Chamakh rose to head in from Bacary Sagna’s cross, but Schwarzer was well placed to hold. Kamara had an chance to give Fulham a half time lead as once again the visitors breached the Arsenal offside trap, but Fabianski blocked from point blank range.


Arsene Wenger had stressed after last week’s win at Villa Park that his players were perhaps too urgent at home and that accounted for why the Gunners have thus far had a surprisingly poor home record. The omens that the Gunners had gotten over their home fear were good in the opening exchanges, but then the visitors dug deep and began to ask some serious questions of Wenger’s men.


However it was Nasri who stepped to change the dynamics of the game. He picked up the ball and surged forward to find Arshavin. His exchange with Robin van Persie saw the ball return to Nasri. The Gunners’ number eight skipped clear, rounded Schwarzer, but took the ball wide. The chance seemed to have gone, but Nasri turned and lashed in for a winner of pure quality on 75 minutes.


Fulham replied with chances for Dixon Etuhu and Gera as the visitors went in search for an equaliser. The fact that they were denied was in no small part to the towering Djourou who headed, tackled and blocked as if his life were on the line. Such was the influence of the Switzerland defender that Kamara was replaced with Andy Johnson. But more workmanlike than their customary efficiency, Arsenal grabbed the victory and we were left mesmerised by the wonder strikes from Nasri as Arsenal went top.