Fulham 2-1 Arsenal: Player ratings as Gunners miss chance to end 2023 on top

  • Bukayo Saka's early strike was cancelled out by Raul Jimenez's equaliser
  • Bobby De Cordova-Reid put hosts ahead after scrappy defending from the Gunners
  • Mikel Arteta's side now winless in three league games
Fulham bagged a significant win against Arsenal
Fulham bagged a significant win against Arsenal / Alex Pantling/GettyImages

Arsenal's winless run stretched to three games as Fulham deservedly edged an entertaining London derby at Craven Cottage on Sunday afternoon.

Bukayo Saka was on hand to open the scoring in just the fifth minute, but the hosts responded well and levelled matters through Raul Jimenez.

The Gunners couldn't raise their game and some haphazard defending allowed Bobby De Cordova-Reid to slam home the winner in the 59th minute.

How the game unfolded

Arsenal began with killer intent and were ahead after five minutes as they hit their hosts on the counter attack.

Gabriel Martinelli scrambled up-field and drifted into the box before his shot was palmed into the path of Saka. The England forward was just onside and reacted quickest to loop the ball over Bernd Leno and into the net.

However, the early vibrancy from the visitors somewhat died off as Fulham worked their way back into the contest. Jimenez brought David Raya into meaningful action for the first time with a stinging drive from a cross, while De Cordova-Reid's appeals for a penalty after buckling under William Saliba's challenge went unheard.

The Cottagers' improvement was rewarded with a well-worked equaliser. A fierce Calvin Bassey challenge helped Willian find space on the left and feed Tom Cairney, whose cross arrowed towards the far post where Jimenez was waiting to connect sweetly.

Arsenal were under-par for most of the first half, though Martinelli nearly poked them ahead before the interval after sharp interplay between Declan Rice and Martin Odegaard.

The opening exchanges in the second half saw Fulham maintain their momentum, holding firm in defence while probing in the final third, and Marco Silva's side bagged the third goal of the contest to go ahead for the first time.

A corner prompted some classic pinball action in the box as a header deflected off Rice, Gabriel Magalhaes and Takehiro Tomiyasu before falling to De Cordova-Reid, who fired high into the roof of the net with Raya given no chance.

Arsenal had the chance to end 2023 at the top of the Premier League table but that bid was derailed by a tired display filled with errant passes and indecision, while Fulham were committed and stronger in collisions.

No equaliser came for Mikel Arteta's side, who now sit fourth and could be five points adrift of the summit should Liverpool beat Newcastle on New Year's Day.

Fulham player ratings (4-2-3-1)

Raul Jimenez
Jimenez levelled for Fulham / Clive Rose/GettyImages

GK: Bernd Leno - 6/10 - Bit of a weak save that allowed Saka to convert. Had few others saves to make.

RB: Timothy Castagne - 6/10 - Showed some dexterity in attack, though was lucky to escape a few robust challenges without a booking.

CB: Tosin Adarabioyo - 6/10 - Made some decent interventions and was well protected by the midfield duo in front of him.

CB: Calvin Bassey - 8/10 - Proactive in defence, snapping into challenges and disrupting Arsenal's build-up well.

LB: Antonee Robinson - 8/10 - Made some rampaging runs up Fulham's left and put some dangerous deliveries into the box.

CM: Joao Palhinha - 7/10 - Full-blooded and battling display that kept the Cottagers ticking all afternoon.

CM: Tom Cairney - 7/10 - Pin-point cross helped Jimenez equalise. Not quite as solid as Palhinha in defence but broad passing range was used to great effect.

RW: Bobby De Cordova-Reid - 7/10 - Worked hard up and down the right and got his break when the ball fell to him to score.

AM: Alex Iwobi - 7/10 - Drifted around and looked to get shots off, also creating a handful of chances for his teammates.

LW: Willian - 6/10 - Got into space often on the left and largely kept things moving in a positive direction.

ST: Raul Jimenez - 8/10 - Tested Raya with a sharp drive before banging in the leveller. Held the ball up when needed, giving Fulham a valuable out-ball.


SUB: Andreas Pereira (72' for Iwobi) - 6/10

SUB: Issa Diop (80' for De Cordova-Reid) - N/A

SUB: Harry Wilson (80' for Willian) - N/A

SUB: Harrison Reed (92' for Cairney) - N/A

Subs not used: Rodrigo Muniz, Sasa Lukic, Fode Ballo, Kenny Tete, Marek Rodak


Marco Silva - 8/10 - His players fought back admirably from a tough start and went toe-to-toe with the title contenders throughout.

Arsenal player ratings (4-3-3)

Bukayo Saka
Saka faded after putting Arsenal ahead / Clive Rose/GettyImages

GK: David Raya - 5/10 - Quick distribution led to Saka's opener. Not much chance for either goal.

RB: Ben White - 4/10 - Hauled off just after half-time having offered little attacking movement from right-back.

CB: William Saliba - 5/10 - Demonstrated his strength and speed in recovery but also struggled with Jimenez's direct approach.

CB: Gabriel Magalhaes - 6/10 - Made a few clearances and held up a little better than Saliba in the face of Fulham's attacks.

LB: Jakub Kiwior - 4/10 - Looked lost trying to play in midfield areas and was rarely comfortable when Fulham attacked his flank. Off at half-time.

CM: Martin Odegaard - 5/10 - Lacked the spark he usually provides to get Arsenal cooking.

CM: Declan Rice - 6/10 - Charged around patrolling midfield with his usual dynamism.

CM: Kai Havertz - 5/10 - Delayed some counter-attacks with his indecision and didn't arrive into the box with much goal threat.

RW: Bukayo Saka - 6/10 - In the right place at the right time to prod Arsenal ahead. Influence waned a fair bit after.

ST: Eddie Nketiah - 5/10 - Struggled to really get involved with only 23 touches all game, hitting the target once.

LW: Gabriel Martinelli - 6/10 - Looked especially dangerous in the first half when marching into space, but those opportunities dried up before his withdrawal.


SUB: Takehiro Tomiyasu (46' for Kiwior) - 6/10 - Made his first appearance since early December and fared reasonably well enough.

SUB: Leandro Trossard (67' for Martinelli) - 5/10

SUB: Gabriel Jesus (67' for White) - 5/10

SUB: Reiss Nelson (77' for Havertz) - 5/10

Subs not used: Emile Smith Rowe, Jorginho, Mohamed Elneny, Cedric Soares, Aaron Ramsdale.


Mikel Arteta - 4/10 - Saw his side made the best possible start but they failed to truly assert themselves in the contest when Fulham came back at them.

Player of the match: Raul Jimenez (Fulham)