English Premiership

Nasri double puts Arsenal top

2010-12-04 19:32
Samir Nasri (AP)

London - Samir Nasri scored twice as Arsenal moved to the top of the English Premier League table with a 2-1 win over London rivals Fulham at the Emirates Stadium here on Saturday.

Nasri opened the scoring only for Diomansy Kamara to level before the half-time interval and Mark Hughes's men could have shocked the hosts, but another fine individual strike from Nasri earned Arsene Wenger's team the win.

Victory took Arsenal above both champions Chelsea and Manchester United, although United have a game in hand following the postponement of their game at Blackpool due to a frozen pitch.

The Gunners could have been two or three goals ahead early on against Fulham with Andrey Arshavin creating chances for himself and his team-mates.

Arshavin was involved in the successful Russian bid to host the 2018 World Cup and he appeared determined to cap off his fine week with an Arsenal victory.

He had an early chance saved after Sebastien Squillaci's header found him unmarked at the far post, with Mark Schwarzer illustrating why Wenger had once been interested in buying the Australian goalkeeper.

Arshavin also set up Nasri to poke wide but Arsenal were not made to wait long for their opener.

Aaron Hughes's mistake gave possession to Arshavin, who fed the ball to Nasri just inside the penalty area.

Nasri feinted to shoot twice and left centre-backs Hughes and Brede Hangeland on their backsides before powerfully finishing beyond Schwarzer for his 10th goal of the season.

Arsenal then spurned numerous chances to extend their lead.

Arshavin had a shot saved after Danny Murphy gave the ball away, then Nasri got behind Matthew Briggs and his cross led to Dickson Etuhu almost putting through his own net. Alex Song also stabbed wide from a Tomas Rosicky cross.

Fulham punished Arsenal's wastefulness on the half-hour mark against the run of play.

Laurent Koscielny and Squillaci went for the same ball and ended up clattering into each other, with Clint Dempsey picking up the loose ball and threaded it through for Kamara to tuck his finish away neatly.

To make matters worse for Arsenal, Koscielny was carried off with what appeared to be concussion.

They could have been behind before the break when Kamara was sent through by Etuhu, although this time Lukasz Fabianski saved his attempt.

In the second half, Rosicky volleyed wide after Song had laid the ball back before Arshavin cut in from the left and forced Schwarzer into another save.

Fulham almost snatched a second goal when Zoltan Gera had an effort cleared off the line, but then Nasri struck again.

Robin van Persie, on as a substitute, set him up and he rode challenges from John Pantsil and Hughes before taking the ball around Schwarzer.

There was still work to be done as the Frenchman was forced wide, but he spun and finished neatly.

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