Zamora's late show ensures dramatic riposte for Fulham

Fulham 2 Arsenal 1

Craven Cottage

Twelfth Night football continues in the Premier League. After
dramatic defeats for Manchester United and Chelsea on the seventh
day of Christmas, and Manchester City on the eighth, it was the
turn of Arsenal to have the natural order inverted on top of them
last night, toppled by the dismissal of Johan Djourou and a fine
Fulham comeback.

With 12 minutes remaining at Craven Cottage, Arsenal were battling their way to a 1-0 win and a swift return to fourth place. Djourou was then sent off, to the fury of Wenger, and 10-man Arsenal were overwhelmed.

Five minutes were left when Steve Sidwell headed the equaliser, and in stoppage time Bobby Zamora scored the winning goal.

For Fulham it was very obvious delight: too many times this season they have lost out to late goals, most recently an added-time equaliser at Norwich City on Sunday.

In October Zamora missed a last-minute chance against Everton to win the game 2-1; he missed, and Everton took it 3-1. Last night, though, he found the corner. "We worked hard all season and not got the results at home," he said. "This caps off the hard work."

Zamora was rewarded with a final-whistle embrace from Martin Jol which could have uprooted a tree. "I love my players, especially when they score goals," the Fulham manager explained. He went on to dismiss talk about Zamora's future as speculation.

It was the first time any Jol team had beaten Wenger's Arsenal, in his 11th attempt. The Dutchman described it as a great feeling.

The Arsenal manager was not quite as pleased, fired by a burning sense of grievance against Lee Probert. "The referee influenced the game in completely the wrong way, in my opinion, and we cannot influence that," he said.

Wenger's complaints were with a penalty claim by Gervinho, and both of Djourou's bookings.

He even accused Fulham players of successfully trying to have his right-back sent off. "When [Kerim] Frei came on, the game was all look for the second yellow card for Djourou," Wenger said. "In the end, he got it."

The late collapse could have been avoided, though, as Wenger admitted, had Arsenal scored more than once. Gervinho, back in the team in the place of Andrei Arshavin, was Arsenal's brightest attacker at the start, volleying over at the far post from a corner and nearly winning a penalty after colliding with Philippe Senderos.

Gervinho was predictably involved as Arsenal took the lead after 21 minutes. He passed to Aaron Ramsey on the edge of the Fulham area, and Ramsey's cross deflected off Stephen Kelly. The ball looped up and dropped onto the forehead of Laurent Koscielny, who headed in his first goal of the season. The deflection was unfortunate but the marking was not.

Once ahead, Arsenal had the confidence to pass the ball as they can. One especially impressive spell of pressure forced the Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale into an improbable triple-save from Ramsey, his Fulham Team-mate Sidwell and then Gervinho, and he had to make two other stops from the ever-threatening Robin van Persie.

After the break, though, Fulham started to assert themselves, winning the ball back more quickly and in better positions than they had in the first half, creating a stronger platform for the technical gifts of Bryan Ruiz and Moussa Dembele than before. Senderos and Clint Dempsey both headed narrowly wide from Danny Murphy and Ruiz crosses respectively.

Wenger, seeking to reimpose control over midfield, brought on Tomas Rosicky and Yossi Benayoun, while Jol made the opposite move, exchanging Murphy's experience for Frei's trickery, a move Wenger said prompted the attempts to have Djourou sent off.

If that was Fulham's plan, it was successful. Djourou pulled down Zamora, earning his second, quite legitimate yellow card. Having lost a man, Arsenal could no longer maintain their faltering grip on the game.

With six minutes left Fulham won a corner, which Wojciech Szczesny could only palm away. Senderos headed the ball back across goal, where Sidwell gratefully nodded the ball into the net.

Then, deep into stoppage time, Sébastien Squillaci could only head a high ball across goal, from where Zamora gleefully volleyed it home.

Match facts

Substitutes: Fulham Frei 6 (Murphy, 69). Arsenal Rosicky 5 (Walcott, 65), Benayoun (Gervinho, 74), Squillaci (Ramsey, 81).

Booked: Arsenal Djourou.

Sent-off: Arsenal Djourou (78).

Man of the match Stockdale.

Match rating 8/10.

Possession: Fulham 54% Arsenal 46%.

Attempts on target: Fulham 8 Arsenal 10.

Referee L Probert (Wiltshire). Attendance 25,700.

Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
The John Peel Lecture has previously been given by Pete Townshend of The Who, Billy Bragg and Charlotte Church
musicGodfather of punk will speak on 'free music in a capitalist society'
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments