PREMIER LEAGUE: Arsenal strike late to deny ten-man Fulham

Theo Walcott scored in the final minute as Arsenal managed to force a 2-2 draw against a Fulham sidwe who played with ten men for the final 15 minutes at Craven Cottage.

Fulham were well up for this one and managed to go ahead in the 26th minute when Steve Sidwell received a neat pass from Bobby Zamora, who had beaten Arsenal’s offside trap, before cutting back for the ex-Aston Villa midfielder who finished hard under Gunners keeper Wojciech Szczesny.

But just three minutes later, Arsenal were back on level terms with a well-worked goal which involved Abou Diaby and Marouane Chamakh before Robin van Persie finished coolly for his 18th of the season.

Ten minutes after half-time, Fulham were again ahead when Bobby Zamora headed home a Jonathan Greening cross from close range about 20 minutes before Zoltan Gera, who replaced Zamora, was sent off for a reckless two-footed lunge on Thomas Vermaelen four minutes after coming. It was the first red card of the season for Fulham, in the final game, making it a full book for every Premier League club seeing red this term.

The Cottagers job to keep their lead was made so much more difficult by the fact they only had ten men and Gera’s sending off proved decisive as Gunners sub Theo Walcott made it 2-2 with a low finish off the post after beating Matthew Briggs down the right flank in the final minute of regular time.

The draw could not haul Arsenal back into third place and they will now have to navigate Champions League qualifiers as Fulham snuck into Europa League football thanks to the Fair Play rule.

Fulham: 2 (Steve Sidwell 26’, Bobby Zamora 56’)
Arsenal: 2 (Robin van Persie 29’, Theo Walcott 89’)

Venue: Craven Cottage, London
Crowd: 25,674
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Yellow cards: FUL - Jonathan Greening 55’, Steve Sidwell 77’
ARS - Robin van Persie 49’
Red card: FUL - Zoltan Gera 74’

Starting Line-Ups

Fulham
Mark Schwarzer (gk) – Aaron Hughes, Brede Hangeland, Philippe Senderos, Matthew Briggs – Jonathan Greening (Davies 66’), Steve Sidwell, Danny Murphy (Etuhu 66’), Clint Dempsey – Andy Johnson, Bobby Zamora (Gera 71’)

Subs - David Stockdale (gk), Dickson Etuhu (66’), Simon Davies (66’), Zoltan Gera (71’), Eidur Gudjohnsen, Carlos Salcido, Gael Kakuta

Arsenal
Wojciech Szczesny (gk) – Bacary Sagna, Thomas Vermaelen, Joan Djourou, Kieran Gibbs (Eboue 65’) – Samir Nasri, Jack Wilshere, Abou Diaby (Arshavin 65’), Aaron Ramsey (Walcott 65’) – Robin van Persie, Marouane Chamakh

Subs - Jens Lehmann (gk), Andrei Arshavin (65’), Emmanuel Eboue (65’), Theo Walcott (65’), Sebastien Squillaci, Denilson, Ignasi Miquel

 
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