Arsenal 4 Fulham 0: Gunners secure third with convincing win at the Emirates

10 May 2010 07:44
Arsenal's players re-emerged for a so-called 'lap of appreciation' in a half-empty Emirates stadium after securing third place in the Barclays Premier League.

Their manager, Arsene Wenger, has called for supporters to celebrate the club's achievement in gaining Champions League qualification, but this slightly embarrassing parade around the pitch could hardly be called a 'lap of honour' after a fifth season without a trophy.

On target: Van Persie scores Arsenal's second as the Gunners cruise to a 4-0 win

But at least they had one reason to rejoice. Arsenal's rivals for thirdplace, Tottenham Hotspur, lost 4-2 at relegated Burnley, a result thatreceived the biggest cheer of the day.

Wenger said: 'For us it was important to finish well and we did it. We did not need to rely on Tottenham.

'It's very good that, after the World Cup, we do not need to play aqualifier for the Champions League because that's a very sensitive gameand they get harder every year.'

The Arsenal boss blamed injuries to key players for his side'sinability to keep pace with Manchester United and champions Chelsea.

All smiles: Van Persie celebrates with team-mate Theo Walcott at the Emirates

MATCH FACTS ARSENAL (4-3-3):Fabianski 5; Sagna 6, Campbell 7, Silvestre 6 (Djourou 62, 6), Clichy6; Eboue 8, Diaby 7, Nasri 6; Walcott 7 (Lansbury 78), Van Persie 7,Arshavin 6 (Vela 78).

Booked: Eboue, Fabianski.

FULHAM (4-4-2):Schwarzer 4; Baird 5, Pantsil 5 (Kelly 58, 5), Smalling 6, Shorey 6;Riise 6 (Elm 46, 5), Greening 5, Dikgacoi 6, Dempsey 6 (Stoor 67, 6);Okaka 6, Nevland 5.

Booked: Dempsey, Kelly.

Man of the match: Emmanuel Eboue.

Referee: Mike Jones.

He said: 'We were just a fraction short. We want to improve in quality,but we don't, necessarily, need a big number of players.'

Fulham, of course, still have a chance of securing silverware thisseason. Roy Hodgson made eight changes ahead of Wednesday's EuropaLeague final against Atletico Madrid, but the reserves' improvedsecond-half performance turned a potential rout into a respectablescoreline.

Hodgson expects Damien Duff to resume training today but BobbyZamora's achilles injury continues to cause concern. The striker hasn'ttrained or played since April 29.

Right back John Pantsil picked up a thigh injury on Sunday that may make him a doubt for Hamburg, but PaulKonchesky's ankle, Brede Hangeland's knee and Aaron Hughes' groinproblem should not hinder their participation.

Injured duo: Fabregas and Ramsey salute the fans

Wenger revealed that Theo Walcott has been notified he will beincluded in England boss Fabio Capello's initial 30-man World Cup squad although it may be too late for Sol Campbell but Hodgson believesZamora's injury does not rule him out. He said: 'There's no doubtBobby's getting better and better. The problem is he's running out of time with us but not with England.'

It was a howler from Fulham's experienced goalkeeper, Mark Schwarzer, that allowedArsenal to open the scoring after 21 minutes. He failed to control aback-pass from Chris Baird and played it into the path of AndreyArshavin, who coolly slotted the ball in at the near post. 

It was 2-0 five minutes later. Walcott squared to Robin van Persie,who smashed the ball against the crossbar but knocked in the rebound.

Baird put the ball in his own net after 37 minutes and the hostssealed victory six minutes from time as substitute Carlos Vela dinkedthe cutest of finishes over Schwarzer.

Mexican wave: Carlos Vela scores Arsenal's fourth shortly before full-time

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Source: Daily_Mail