Josh Maja’s second-half penalty was cancelled out by Eddie Nketiah’s injury-time strike to give Arsenal a share of the spoils and leave Fulham deep in relegation trouble.
It seemed as though Maja’s spot kick would be enough to earn the Cottagers a vital three points but they conceded an equaliser six minutes into injury time. They will now need to regroup after ecstasy turned to agony in north London.
In a breezy opening, the Gunners should have been ahead in just the second minute. Alexandre Lacazette’s flick found Gabriel Martinelli in the box.
The Brazilian managed to lift the ball over Cottagers keeper Alphonse Areola but it drifted wide of the post.
The hosts continued to push forward and Emile Smith Rowe’s cross found Martinelli on seven minutes. His shot was not the best but required the joint effort of keeper and defender to get it away.
It was one-way traffic early on but Fulham were almost in business on 19 minutes. A deflected shot found its way to Maja but his shot deflected just wide of the post.
Arsenal thought they had taken the lead with five minutes of the first half remaining. Hector Bellerin’s cross was headed home by Dani Ceballos after excellent work by Alexandre Lacazette and Bukayo Saka.
However VAR deemed that Saka was offside and the goal was chalked off.
— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) April 18, 2021
Mikel Ateta’s men had the ball in the net for a second time just before the interval. However there was no need for Stockley Park to get involved. Smith Rowe was clearly offside from Lacazette’s through ball.
Arsenal made a bright start to the second half as Martinelli and Ceballos combined to find Lacazette. But the Frenchman’s shot flew wide of the post when he should have done better.
Bobby Decordova-Reid were involved in a challenge that left Arsenal’s Switzerland star in considerable pain. However, he managed to carry on.
Saka then hit the post for Arsenal with a sliced cross. He did well to get to the byline but it was a cross that ended up hitting the woodwork more by luck than design.
Maja calm under pressure
Just before the hour mark, the visitors went ahead against the run of play. And it was Maja who broke the deadlock from the penalty spot.
Gabriel made a mess of his challenge on Mario Lemina and the penalty was awarded. VAR checked for offside in the build up but the decision stood, with Maja sending the keeper the wrong way.
On 65 minutes Lacazette could only find the Fulham wall with a free-kick and Arteta decided to take action. The Spaniard brought on Nicolas Pepe and Thomas Partey for Mohamed Elneny and Bellerin.
And he was forced into another change just two minutes later as the injured Lacazette was replaced by Eddie Nketiah.
Late agony for Parker
The moves almost paid off instantly as Arsenal had an effort cleared off the line. Martinelli latched onto Smith Rowe’s through ball and rounded Areola.
His cross from an acute angle found Pepe, whose header looked to be heading in until Tosin Adarabioyo hooked it away.
It was all hands to the pump for Fulham as Arsenal continued to pile forward in the last 10 minutes. Saka’s superb curled effort two minutes from time flew just wide of the post while Martinelli drew a fine save from Areola on 90 minutes.
But just as time seemed to be running out, Fulham fail to clear a corner and the ball fell for Nketiah, who bundled home the rebound from Areola’s initial save.