London, England, United Kingdom (4E Sports) – Santi Cazorla recorded a second-half brace as Arsenal remained on top of the Premier League standings after beating Fulham, 2-0, Saturday at Emirates Stadium.
With the victory, Arsenal stayed one point clear of Manchester City and five points ahead of Chelsea for the Premier League lead. The loss kept Fulham winless in 22 games in Arsenal territory.
“We were maybe not quick enough in the first half. In the second half our tempo was much better and we created chances. Overall, it was a stable performance with maybe a lack of pace in first half,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said.
“The players were conscious we had to step up a gear. It was just a question of time and Santi Cazorla delivered two special goals. He was like the team – good in the first half and excellent in the second,” he added.
Wenger stuck with the starting line-up that won, 2-1, over Aston Villa Monday while Rene Meulensteen made three changes to his team which beat Norwich City 3-0 in the FA Cup on Tuesday, handing a Premier League debut to defender Dan Burn.
After a goalless opening period in which Arsenal did not create many chances, the Spaniard broke the deadlock shortly before the hour mark, combining well with Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere.
Cazorla doubled his tally five minutes later when he buried a left-footed 20-yard effort into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
Maarten Stekelenburg then denied Arsenal a third 15 minutes from time when he pushed a Lukas Podolski thunderbolt on to the post.
Manchester City stayed a point behind Arsenal after a 4-2 win over Cardiff City at Etihad Stadium while Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge rescued a point for Liverpool as they came from two goals behind to earn a 2-2 draw with Aston Villa.
Newcastle United ended a four-match losing streak in all competitions with a 3-1 win over West Ham United at Boleyn Ground while Ryan Bennett’s late goal sealed Norwich City’s 1-0 victory over Hull City.
In other matches, Crystal Palace defeated Stoke City, 1-0, while Sunderland secured a dramatic 2-2 draw with Southampton.