Willian with triple assist as Arsenal destroy Fulham in opener

Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal celebrates with his team mates after scoring his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Fulham and Arsenal at Craven Cottage on September 12, 2020 in London, England.

Gabriel Magalhaes marked his Arsenal debut with a goal – but it was Willian who grabbed the headlines with three assists in a comfortable 3-0 win at Fulham in the Premier League curtain-raiser.

The Cottagers are back in the Premier League after just a season in the Championship. Scott Parker’s side bounced back after beating Brentford in the play-off final.

However, they were caught cold just eight minutes into their return. Alexandre Lacazette tapped in from close range after good work from Willian.

The Brazilian – a free-transfer signing from Chelsea – then struck the post with a free-kick as Arsenal threatened another before the break.

However, it was 2-0 four minutes into the restart when Willian curled over an outswinging corner-kick and Gabriel rose highest to nod past Marek Rodak from close range.

Fulham were now forced to come at Arsenal and a stylish team goal ripped them apart for the third.

With the Cottagers pressing high, Arsenal played their way out from the back with some smart passing. Willian then picked up the ball before splaying a fine cross-field ball to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The prolific Gunners skipper still had work to do, but he engineered some space for himself before lifting a fine shot into the roof of the net.

Mikel Arteta opted to bring Willian off after 75 minutes with Nicolas Pepe on in his place. It was a debut to remember for the Brazilian and one that earned Arteta’s appreciation.

The Cottagers, who started with Aleksander Mitrovic on the bench, rarely threatened. The result serves as a huge wake-up call to Parker. They will need to raise their standards if they’re to avoid relegation again this season.

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