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Arsenal beats Fulham 2-0 to stay top of EPL

January 18, 2014

LONDON (AP) — Santi Cazorla scored twice in the second half Saturday to give Arsenal a 2-0 victory over Fulham that kept the Gunners top of the Premier League.

Arsenal had struggled to create chances in the first half but turned up the pressure after the break and Cazorla finally provided the cutting edge in the 57th minute. The Spanish midfielder started a move by cutting in from the left and passed to Olivier Giroud in the area, who laid the ball off to Jack Wilshere. The England midfielder squared it back to Cazorla who slotted the ball inside the far post.

Cazorla added the second five minutes later, taking one touch outside the area before slotting a low shot inside the same post.

Darren Bent nearly pulled on back in the 90th minute but missed an empty net while under pressure from Laurent Koscielny.

Arsenal stayed one point ahead of Manchester City, which provided another high-scoring display in a 4-1 win over Cardiff. The Gunners’ win was again more workman-like, as the team dominated possession but offered little in terms of scoring chances in the opening 45 minutes.

Instead, Fulham often looked dangerous on the counterattack, with Steve Sidwell forcing a good save from Wojciech Szczesny and Alexander Kacaniklic wasting a one-on-one opportunity with the goalkeeper with a heavy second touch.

Just as against Aston Villa on Monday, though, Arsenal used two quick goals to decide the game. Cazorla’s first was a typical Arsenal goal with quick passing breaking down the defense in the area. The second was a piece of individual skill as the Spaniard downed a headed clearance just outside the area and slotted a left-footed shot between the legs of a defender and past Maarten Stekelenburg.

Bent’s chance to pull one back came after the ball bounced off Szczesny and the striker had a wide-open net, but Koscielny chased him down and forced a hurried shot that went wide.

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