Arsenal 2-1 Fulham
Alexander Hleb thumped home a last minute goal to give Arsenal all three points in their first match of the new season on Sunday.
The Gunners went behind in the first minute of the match thanks to a howler from keeper Jens Lehmann. Fulham looked a superior team for most of the match but Arsenal leveled the scores late in the game with Robin Van Persie converting a penalty befo0re a dramatic last minute goal from Helb gave Arsenal all three points.
Arsenal went into the match with Van Persie as the lone striker, with Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner both on the bench while new signing Bacary Sagna was given his debut. Lawrie Sanchez named five of his new signings in the starting line up with Diomansy Kamara on the bench.
Arsenal got to the worst possible start when Fulham took a shock lead in the 1st minute of the match. Gael Clichy back passed the ball to Lehmann and the German international made a hash of the clearance, with the ball hitting his left leg and bouncing straight to a delighted David Healy who had a simple tap in to score his first goal for the club.
Stung by the goal, Arsenal then created a number of good chances, but were time and again thwarted by Fulham keeper Tony Warner. Tomas Rosicky saw two of his low shots saved spectacularly by Warner who also denied Hleb and Rosicky when both the clean through to the goal.
In the closing moments of the first half, Warner rushed out from the goal to deny Cesc Fabregas, who was readying himself to shoot a Hleb through pass, with his legs. at the other end Lehmann was having a horrid time as another mistake by him went straight to Healy. But this time the German keeper recovered well to scramble the ball away.
As the clocked ticked away, Fulham looked confident f snatching a rare away victory with Arsenal missing a host of chances. The home team got a break in the 84th minute when Kolo Toure was fouled in the penalty are by Carlos Bocanegra and referee Philip Dowd had no hesitation of pointing to the spot.
Van Persie coolly converted the chance and Arsenal stepped up in search of the killer goal in the final six minutes of the match. And they got it six minutes later when Hleb latched on to a Fabregas pass and after a couple of touches, smashed home the goal to provide a perfect start for Wenger in the new season.
Arsenal next face an away trip to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday following their Champions League third round qualifying match against Sparta Prague while Fulham play Bolton Wanderers on Wednesday and welcome Middlesbrough on Saturday. Watch live Premiership action here on free-football.tv.
Tags: Arsenal, Fulham, Champions League