Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazette had both the first and last word for Arsenal in their smooth 3-0 win over Fulham to open the season. Plus, new signing Gabriel and captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang joined the party with second-half goals as Arsenal cruised to victory.
Lacazette Happy On And Off Pitch
Lacazette first scored the opener within the opening 10 minutes. Then in his post-game interview, he smacked out at his critics and the media when asked about his situation at The Emirates.
"Yeah, I'm really happy [at Arsenal]. It's only the press and the people who say I'm not happy, I want to leave.
"For me from the beginning, I say I'm happy with Arsenal. I want to play and win titles. We won a title last month. I'm happy with Arsenal."
Lacazette registered a 7.4 on WhoScored and led Arsenal in a big way up top. He combined well with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, as always. And the same goes for new signing Willian, whose saved shot Lacazette followed up to net the opener. Throughout his 87 minutes on the pitch, he completed 82% of his passes, including one key pass.
Lacazette has found himself on the bench at times over the past year at Arsenal leading to the speculation of his unhappiness at the club.
And while most player interview words are stale and general platitudes, the Frenchman did look happy out on the pitch. How can you not when blasting a fellow London rival 3-0 at their home to open the season.
Lacazette didn't earn man of the match honors. However, he had a great case for it. And he's given Arsenal early optimism for a top-four finish.
Gabriel Settles Nicely And Aubameyang Rolls
Joining Lacazette on the score sheet was Aubameyang, of course, and new signing Gabriel. Three minutes into the second half, Gabriel rose up on a corner and banged in the header to double the Gunners lead.
Arsenal didn't buy him from Lille for his attacking prowess, but instead his defensive work. The goal Saturday, and potentially more, are just an added bonus.
The Brazilian started in the middle of a back three and looked stunningly comfortable, sans an early miscommunication between him and keeper Bernd Leno which almost led to a shock Fulham goal shortly after kick-off.
After that, he racked up three clearances and two tackles. His positioning was fantastic. And most importantly, he brought a calming presence to the Arsenal defense.
In a word, he was the exact opposite of his erratic, risk-taking, and put-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat compatriot David Luiz. Arsenal sorely need that and Gabriel will have to put in many more showings like Saturday's.
Halfway through the second half, Aubameyang made it a trio of goals. Willian sent an incredible switch across the field and the captain pulled the ball down easily. No one from Fulham closed him down and Aubameyang made them pay.
Left side, cutting in, right foot curler into the top corner. "Thank you very much. Welcome back to the Premier League, Fulham. You won't be here long" he said with his goal. He also implicitly made his opening statement for this year's Golden Boot after narrowly missing out last season.
Arsenal Trophy Hunting
Lacazette referenced in his interview that Arsenal won a trophy, the FA Cup over Chelsea, last month and that he and the team want more. They certainly won't win the title, but have a great shot at winning another trophy this year as Mikel Arteta continues to revamp the club.
Most importantly, Arsenal showed at Craven Cottage that they have a great shot at former manager Arsene Wenger's most coveted trophy....top four.