Player stats laurent koscielny
"He’s an experienced central defender who’s calm on the ball and capable of playing out of the back and feeding the ball to the midfield. His calmness transfers to the rest of the players. He’s an attacking threat in the opposition box as well with set plays and corners. It really is like having a new signing, because as long as I’ve been at the club I’ve had no access to him."
2.22pmHangeland has returned to a defence that has, quite frankly, been woeful for large parts of the campaign. Not only will he have to help try to plug the gaps that has seen his side concede 46 goals, but he will also need to guide Dan Burn through this game. The youngster is making his full Premier League debut, following a spell on loan with Birmingham City earlier this term.
Here's the boss arriving at the stadium for #AFCvFFC at Emirates Stadium and he looks in relaxed mood... pic.twitter.com/ubpkrRaBoF
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 18, 2014
2.32pmTo be honest, you can understand why Wenger looks "relaxed" right now. His side sit top of the table and have done so for a while now. What's more, in recent weeks they've started to win matches ugly - something that Arsenal teams in seasons gone by have found difficult to do. Having said that, against a Fulham side that has lost seven of their 10 matches away from home this season, the Frenchman will no doubt be demanding a more comfortable outcome today.
2.36pmStaying with Wenger, his contract is up at the end of the season. When asked about his future during yesterday's press conference, he told reporters: "There is always a point where you have to decide, of course. There is a point where you have to decide and there is a point where you have to make your decision public. You can take that sentence the way you want it."
Is he staying or is he going? It would be a big surprise if he departed
2.43pmSome of you may have forgotten that Sidwell actually started his career with Arsenal, but he failed to break into the senior side. Following successful loan spells with Brentford and Brighton & Hove Albion, he joined Reading for an undisclosed fee in January 2003.
2.46pmGood news Fulham fans! Sunderland have just drawn 2-2 with Southampton at the Stadium of Light, which means that no matter what the result is here, the Black Cats will not end the weekend above your team. No doubt you will be hoping that the same happens to Cardiff, West Ham and Palace now!
2.51pmPREDICTION: So, with just under 10 minutes to go until this match gets started, let's have a go at predicting the outcome. It would take a very brave person to back Fulham to win today and you won't find us doing it! Arsenal should win this comfortably, but if Fulham can keep things tight early on, you never know. If Arsenal do score early on, it could end up being a four or five-goal winning margin.
2.56pmThe players are now starting to filter into the tunnel area. Only a few minutes to go now as we fast approach the start of this contest.
1 minKICKOFF! Lee Probert blows his whistle for the first time this afternoon and Arsenal, attacking from left to right, get this match underway.
3 minArsenal are already applying some pressure as Bacary Sagna swings over a cross from the right towards Oliver Giroud. It's good defending from young Burn, though, who rises highest to head clear the danger. It's a sure sign that it's likely to be a busy afternoon for the away side.
6 minCHANCE! Great football from Arsenal, who are dominating proceedings right now. Jack Wilshere slots a pass through for Ozil, who sees his scuffed effort from a tight angle beat Stekelenburg. Thankfully for the visitors, Hangeland is alert and slides in the hack the ball clear just ahead of a lurking Giroud.
10 minGnabry has looked lively in these opening few minutes for Arsenal. He may only be 18, but the German appears to possess plenty of confidence in his own ability. He's constantly demanding possession and then always looks to pass the ball forwards first and foremost. This World Cup may come too soon for him, but he certainly appears to be a Germany international of the future.
14 minFair play to Fulham because after a lot of defending, they've strung together a very good passing move. It involved Berbatov, Sascha Reither and Steve Sidwell, before Dejagah saw his cross from the right charged down.
18 minDespite all the possession that they have had so far, Arsenal have struggled to create any real clear cut openings. The problem is everything that they are doing is being played in front of the Fulham defence, which at the moment is well organised. It just goes to highlight how vital Walcott's pace is for Arsenal.
22 minCHANCE! Giroud has just tried his luck from the edge of the area after he inherited possession from Gnabry, but his curling effort flies well over the crossbar. A few groans can be heard around the Emirates after that.
25 minAlmost for Fulham as Burn gets his head up on the halfway and lofts a pass through for Berbatov, who splits the Arsenal centre-backs. The Bulgarian would have been through on goal, but Burn's chip was just overhit and ran through to Szczesny.
28 minSAVE! All of a sudden Arsenal find themselves in a game. Sidwell has scored on his last three starts and he almost made it four with a powerful rising strike from the edge of the area. Szczesny gets two firm hands behind the ball to parry clear the danger, but there have been some positive moments for Fulham in recent minutes. They've certainly grown into this game.
33 minSmart goalkeeping just moments ago from Szczesny, who races off his line to dive at the feet of Fulham winger Dejagah. The away side are playing some really good football right now, which is making some of the home faithful a little restless.
38 minSAVE! How quick are Santi Cazorla's feet?! Too quick for Scott Parker, that's for sure. Twice the Arsenal playmaker danced by Fulham players, before he was hacked down ruthlessly by Parker. The resultant free kick sees Cazorla hit the wall, before Sagna has his rebound effort saved well by Stekelenburg.
42 minWhat a waste from Fulham winger Kacaniklic. First of all it's fantastic play from Berbatov to release his teammate, but when the Swede required a good final touch to steady himself, he makes a heavy contact with the ball, which allows Szczesny to bravely get down to snuff out the danger.
45 minThere will be two minutes of stoppage time at the end of this first half.
45+2 minHALF-TIME: ARSENAL 0-0 FULHAM
3.48pmSo, Porbert has blown his whistle and it's a scoreline that not many would have predicted at the break. Fulham are holding Arsenal 0-0 at the Emirates Stadium.
3.51pmTo be fair to Fulham, it's not a scoreline that flatters them either. Apart from the opening 10 minutes or so, they've not faced any sort of onslaught from Arsenal, largely because they've defended well. Also, when they have managed to get hold of some possession, the likes of Berbatov have used the ball very smartly. They could actually been in front had the final pass or touch been better on a couple of occasions.
3.54pmAs for Arsenal, they've only really been limited to two or three half chances. They've been too slow in possession, with no runners even trying to get beyond the Fulham backline. What's more, everything is narrow and down the middle, with a lot of space out on the flanks. I mentioned it earlier, but that really is where Walcott is such a big asset for the Gunners.
3.58pmLooking at the Arsenal bench, perhaps Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would be a useful substitution to make. He does have a bit of pace and can play on the flank if needed. Also, Lukas Podolski could provide a different type of option to Giroud, although that is not a change that needs to be rushed. After all, Giroud is not playing badly, he's just getting no service.
46 minSECOND HALF UNDERWAY! Fulham get proceedings restarted at the Emirates. Big 45 minutes ahead for both teams.
50 minCHANCE! It's been a really good start to the second half from Fulham and it was almost a dream debut for Burn. Arsenal fail to clear a corner and Berbatov sees his drive blocked. The ball bounces up for Burn, who heads goalwards. There is plenty of power in his effort, but its route to goal was stopped by Koscielny.
54 minIt seems that youngster Gnabry has been told by Wenger to stick more to the right flank during this second half. On a couple of occasions he has sent crosses into the area, which although they have come to nothing, is exactly what Arsenal need to do. They were too predictable during that first half.
55 minSAVE! And just as I say that, Gnabry cuts inside! To be fair to him, he does well, beating two Fulham defenders to create the chance for himself. He gets plenty of curl on his strike from the edge of the box, but Stekelenburg sees it all the way and comfortably saves.
57 minGOAL! ARSENAL 1-0 FULHAM (CAZORLA)
57 minRelief all around the Emirates and what a goal that was. Giroud plays in Wilshere, who in turn sends a square pass into the area. Cazorla is alert and slides in to divert the ball into the bottom corner of Stekelenburg's net. That was Arsenal at their very best. Moments before that, Arsenal somehow didn't score when after some pinball inside the Fulham area the post was hit and Stekelenburg saved.
61 minNow Arsenal are starting to move through the gears and Wilshere is the ring leader. Just now he played a clever reverse pass into the path of Sagna, but his low cross was cleared by Hangeland. At the moment Fulham are hanging on a little bit.
62 minGOAL! ARSENAL 2-0 FULHAM (CAZORLA)
62 minTwo goals from Cazorla in five minutes and one would imagine that it has sealed the outcome as far as Arsenal are concerned. It's by no means the cleanest of strikes from the Arsenal playmaker, but his low shot from 25 yards out has enough on it to beat a diving Stekelenburg. It's harsh on Fulham, but that's the Premier League for you.
67 minThis really could end up being a rout. Arsenal are passing the ball around the pitch with real authority, it's almost like they are toying with the opposition. In terms of goal difference, it's important that Fulham don't concede many more goals - they already have the worst in the division.
69 minSUBSTITUTION: The first switch of the match is made by Fulham, who take off Dejagah and bring on Darren Bent. Predictably, the former Tottenham Hotspur frontman is greeted by jeers from the home supporters.
72 minSUBSTITUTION: And now it is Arsenal's turn to make an alteration and it is one German for another. Gnabry, who has been lively today, takes his leave and on comes Podolski.
73 minCHANCE! Almost an instant impact from Podolski, who is presented with the chance by Wilshere. The attacker goes for a first time shot from eight yards out, but Reither bravely throws himself in the way to block. What a change that would have been from Wenger!
75 minPOST! Well, Podolski has had a lively couple of minutes since coming on. He's only had about four touches, one of which saw him rocket a shot towards the goal from 20 yards out. Stekelenburg does well to get his hand on it and then gets a bit of luck when the ball cannons to safety off the upright.
80 minThis game is now dwindling out a little bit. Both teams know that Arsenal have won the game and as far as Fulham are concerned, it's all about damage limitation, which you can understand.
85 minSUBSTITUTIONS: Big applause go up as Ozil leaves the field to be replaced by Oxlade-Chamberlain, who receives a warm cheer. Fulham have also made an alteration with Kasami coming on.
85 minSUBSTITUTIONS: Big applause go up as Ozil leaves the field to be replaced by Oxlade-Chamberlain, who receives a warm cheer. Fulham have also made an alteration with Kasami coming on for Kacaniklic.
90+1 minCHANCE! What an opportunity for Bent as he nips in smartly to take the ball away from Szczesny. The goal is gaping for him, but he loses his footing and from a narrowing angle he can only send the ball into the side netting. That's not want the former England international will want to see again.
90+4 minFULL TIME: ARSENAL 2-0 FULHAM
4.55pmSo, a routine victory keeps Arsenal at the top of the table, while in contrast just one place separates Fulham and the relegation zone.
4.56pmThat's all we have time for from the Emirates Stadium. Thanks for joining us this afternoon and until next time, goodbye.
Other results from yesterdays matches include
Southampton vs sunderland 2-2
Sunderland came back from 2 nil down to secure a draw
Crystal palace 1-0 stoke
Tony pulis conqiers his old team in style
Norwich defeats hull city 1-0
Newcastle won a hard fougt battle against west ham 3-1