Dream Debut for Willian, Gabriel, As Liverpool Survive Leeds Scare
It was a dream debut for Willian and Gabriel as both Brazilians shone for Arsenal in the opening fixture of 2020/21 English Premier League Season.
Arsenal won 3-0 away at Fulham and Willian, who joined from Chelsea this summer, had a hand in the three goals.
Alexandre Lacazette had the final touch after the Fulham goalkeeper had saved a shot from Willian in the 9th minute for the opener, while his corner kick in the 48th minute was nodded in by fellow Brazilian Gabriel Malgahaes.
Willian alos sent a cross across field for captain Pierre-Emerick Aubamenyang to score a sumptuous third in the 57th minute to kill off the game as a contest.
Bernd Leno started in goal, his first appearance after the nasty injury against Brighton last season as Emiliano Martinez is on his way to Aston Villa on a 20 million pound deal after refusing to play second fiddle.
The 27-year-old Argentine was superb as a replacement for the injured German late last season.
Arteta said: “On the first day you always have butterflies. It’s been a strange pre-season. Yesterday was the first day we had the full squad together training.”
Fulham manager Scott Parker also spoke: “The big lesson today is to understand the fine margins in this division mean you can get punished.”
“When you are a team like us that has come from the Championship you can’t let defeat after defeat really cripple you. We are going to lose more than we win but as a team you have to keep learning and developing.
“It has been a quick turnaround for us. We have brought players in that will improve us and hopefully there will be more. We need to get them up to speed quickly.”
In another encounter on Saturday, Crystal Palace won 1-0 against Southampton, courtesy a wonderful goal by Winifred Zaha.
Liverpool had to dig in to beat debutante Leeds United 4-3 in a seven-goal thriller with Mohammed Salah scoring a hat trick.