A late Gabriel goal five minutes from the end ensured we extended our winning start to the campaign to four games as came from behind to beat Fulham 2-1.
Aleksandar Mitrovic had put the visitors in front early in the second half, but we found our way level when Martin Odegaard netted eight minutes later.
But on 85 minutes the Brazilian defender finished from close-range to ensure a happy ending to Mikel Arteta’s 100th Premier League game as a manager.
Flat first 45
Unlike our rip-roaring start against Bournemouth last weekend, the first half was a quiet affair with chances were at a premium, despite us getting in plenty of promising positions within the Fulham half.
Our first decent opportunity arrived on 15 minutes when Granit Xhaka shot wide after some neat play between Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Jesus, and it would take another quarter of an hour for Bernd Leno to be concerned again when Gabriel Martinelli saw a wicked corner strike the top of his crossbar.
The German shot-stopper was back in familiar surroundings and was called into action again a few minutes later to deny his former teammate Bukayo Saka scoring after he raced through on goal, but Leno saved with his feet, while at the other end Aaron Ramsdale found himself relatively underworked during the opening 45 with Andreas Pereira ballooning a shot well over with the visitors’ best opportunity of the half.
Goals at either end
However, what the first half lacked, the second made up as both teams came out of the interval with added threat. Bobby De Cordoba-Reid flashed a header over before Mitrovic also miscued with a shot from distance, and then twice in two minutes Leno was called into action, firstly pushing away an Odegaard drive before stretching to claw a Jesus effort away from the bottom corner.
But back came Fulham to ultimately break the deadlock on 55 minutes. Gabriel hesitated to pick a pass out from the back, and Mitrovic pounced, scooping the ball off the defender and tucking it past Ramsdale in front of the celebrating away fans.
That setback saw Arteta shuffle his pack as he added some more attacking threat in Eddie Nketiah, and the positivity paid off eight minutes later as we pull level again when Saka slipped a pass in or Odegaard, who saw his shot deflect off Tosin Adarabioyo and decisive Leno.
Glory for Gabriel
Both teams could sense a win was in the offing, and Ramsdale showed great reactions to push away a powerful Mitrovic header from a corner before Ben White’s excellent block thwarted De Cordova-Reid, and Nketiah flashed a shot just wide after cuting inside from the right before hitting straight at Leno when picked out by Gabriel Martinelli as the game entered the final 10 minutes.
We continued to crank up the pressure and Martinelli saw a fierce curling shot flicked wide by the head of Adarabioyo, but with five minutes to go we got ourselves in front.
A Martinelli corner caused havoc in a congested box and Leno failed to claim the ball which dropped at the feet of Gabriel who lashed it home to atone for his error, and after a VAR check for a possible handball, the goal was given to the relief of the majority of the Emirates.
But the win was only secured when Ramsdale again pulled off a superb save to prevent Nathaniel Chalobah from grabbing a late equaliser, and maintain our 100 per cent record.
Facts and stats
Bukayo Saka registered his 16th Premier League assist, with only three players in the history of the competition managing more before turning 21 (Fabregas 38, Rooney 22, Owen 18).
Martin Odegaard has scored three goals in his last two Premier League games, as many as he netted in his previous 24 in the competition.
Since the start of 2020/21, Gabriel has scored eight goals in the Premier League, more than any other central defender in that time.
We have won each of our first four games of a Premier League season for only the third time, after 2003/04 and 2004-05.
We have now lost none of our 31 home meetings with Fulham in all competitions (W25 D6), the joint-longest 100% unbeaten home record in English football (along with Blackburn against Grimsby).
Fulham lost a Premier League game after taking the lead for only the second time on the last 10 occasions.
This was the first time we conceded the first goal in a Premier League match in the second half and managed to come back and win since Boxing Day 2013 against West Ham.
Mikel Arteta oversaw his 100th Premier League game, picking up 100 points in his second 50 (W32 D4 L14) after accruing 75 in his first 50 (W21 D12 L17).
We’re back in action on Wednesday night when we host Aston Villa in a 7.30pm kick-off, before heading to Old Trafford on Sunday, September 4 to take on Manchester United.
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