Eddie Nketiah’s goal late in stoppage time for Arsenal delivered a major blow to Fulham’s already slim Premier League survival hopes.
Until Nketiah’s 97th-minute effort, Josh Maja’s second-half penalty had looked likely to give the Cottagers a hugely valuable three points in their battle against relegation.
The on-loan Bordeaux forward converted from the spot after Mario Lemina was fouled by Arsenal’s Brazilian defender Gabriel.
It was Fulham’s only shot on target and put them on course for their first league away win against the Gunners in 29 attempts.
However, Scott Parker’s side buckled under some late Arsenal pressure, with Nketiah tapping-in after Dani Ceballos’ shot was initially saved by Fulham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.
The result leaves Fulham six points from safety, but with the added disadvantage of having played two games more than both Brighton and Burnley – the sides directly above them.
In a game of few clear-cut chances Arsenal, who remain ninth, merited their point.
Mikel Arteta’s side had two first-half goals disallowed, with Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe both correctly deemed to be offside before Dani Ceballos and then Gabriel Martinelli found the back of the visitors’ net.
Substitute Nicolas Pepe and Saka also both went close to levelling the score before Nketiah’s late intervention.
Fulham’s fading hopes
While Arsenal will be hoping to finish their season with a flourish, Fulham’s hopes of survival look more forlorn with each week that passes.
Ordinarily a point against opponents they have historically struggled against – losing each of their previous six meetings and conceding 18 goals in the process – might have been viewed as a good return.
But their need for maximum points was apparent from the outset having arrived at Emirates Stadium on the back of four consecutive defeats.
While Parker’s players defended gallantly under some early pressure and then until virtually the last kick of the game, they will be frustrated by the way a valuable victory slipped away.
And just as worryingly they are also yet to show they have the firepower to make a real fight of it in their final five games, which includes trips to Chelsea and Manchester United.
Maja’s penalty was their only effort on target in a game that saw them muster three shots in total.
Given their inability to score it was all the more mystifying that Aleksander Mitrovic remained on the substitute’s bench throughout.
The Serbia forward has shown in previous campaigns that he has the capabilities to score in the top flight but has started just 12 games this term.
More to follow.
- 2BellerínSubstituted forPépéat 68′minutes
- 25ElnenySubstituted forParteyat 68′minutes
- 32Smith Rowe
- 9LacazetteSubstituted forNketiahat 70′minutes
- 17Cédric Soares
- 1AreolaBooked at 89mins
- 5AndersenBooked at 50mins
- 14De Cordova-ReidBooked at 61mins
- 29Zambo Anguissa
- 19LookmanSubstituted forReedat 69′minutes
- 27MajaSubstituted forLoftus-Cheekat 77′minutes
- 17CavaleiroSubstituted forBryanat 84′minutes
Match ends, Arsenal 1, Fulham 1.
Second Half ends, Arsenal 1, Fulham 1.
VAR Decision: Goal Arsenal – Arsenal 1-1 Fulham (Eddie Nketiah).
Goal! Arsenal 1, Fulham 1. Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom left corner following a corner.Goal confirmed following VAR Review.
Attempt saved. Dani Ceballos (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Mat Ryan with a headed pass.
Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by André-Frank Zambo Anguissa.
Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Bobby De Cordova-Reid.
Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Harrison Reed.
Attempt blocked. Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Bukayo Saka.
Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Ola Aina.
Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Mario Lemina.
Attempt blocked. Gabriel Magalhães (Arsenal) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Dani Ceballos with a cross.
Attempt blocked. Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Alphonse Areola.
Attempt saved. Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Eddie Nketiah.
Alphonse Areola (Fulham) is shown the yellow card.
Attempt missed. Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top left corner. Assisted by Emile Smith Rowe.
Emile Smith Rowe (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Joe Bryan (Fulham).
Foul by Bukayo Saka (Arsenal).