Football: Gabriel atones with winner to keep Arsenal perfect

Arsenal's Brazilian defender Gabriel Magalhaes (second from right) celebrates scoring against Fulham. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - Gabriel Magalhaes made amends for a dreadful error by scoring the winner in a 2-1 victory at home to Fulham on Saturday (Aug 27) as Arsenal won their fourth straight game to start the Premier League season.

Aleksandar Mitrovic punished a mistake by Gabriel to give Fulham a surprise lead on 56 minutes, but Martin Odegaard equalised with a deflected effort just past the hour.

Gabriel bundled in after a scramble at a corner with five minutes to play to keep Mikel Arteta's side two points clear of reigning champions Manchester City at the top.

Fulham suffered their first defeat in four outings on their top-flight return.

Having won their opening three games for the first time in 18 years, Arsenal made two changes to the team that beat Bournemouth with Thomas Partey and Oleksandr Zinchenko out injured.

Kieran Tierney came in at left-back and Mohamed Elneny lined up alongside Granit Xhaka in midfield.

Former Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno faced his old club on just his second start for Fulham, and the Germany international spread himself well to deny Bukayo Saka in the first half.

Gabriel Martinelli clipped the crossbar direct from a corner as Fulham continued to defend well, Leno pushing away Odegaard's curling attempt early in the second half.

Fulham struck first though as Mitrovic robbed Gabriel of the ball inside his own box and rolled expertly beyond Aaron Ramsdale for his fourth goal of the campaign.

Arsenal's response was timely. Saka burst towards goal before nudging the ball to Odegaard, with the Norwegian's shot striking Tosin Adarabioyo and wrong-footing Leno.

Fulham's Aleksandar Mitrovic (left) in action against Arsenal's Gabriel (right) as he scores during the match. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Ramsdale reacted sharply to turn away a header and William Saliba thrust himself in the path of the ball to block the follow-up from Bobby Reid.

Leno, who signed a three-year deal with Fulham earlier this month after losing his place to Ramsdale, looked set to frustrate Arsenal as he saved well from Eddie Nketiah and Martinelli.

But Gabriel redeemed himself as Leno failed to deal with a corner under pressure from both Arsenal centre-backs, allowing the Brazilian to snatch a late winner.

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