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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Life and Style
Drinking - often heavily - is a running theme throughout HBO's Game of Thrones adaptation
food + drink
News
Florence Welch from Florence + the Machine
people
News
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living