LONDON: Fulham denied Arsenal the opportunity to end the year top of the Premier League after they fought back from a goal down to claim a 2-1 win.

Bukayo Saka’s early goal was cancelled out by Raul Jimenez before Bobby De Cordova-Reid’s second-half strike ended the hosts’ three-match losing streak.

Fulham rose to 13th in the table with 24 points after 20 matches. Arsenal, who were top of the table on Christmas day, have ended the year fourth after going winless in their last three matches.

The visitors started the match on the front-foot and found the breakthrough just five minutes in as Gabriel Martinelli ran into the box from the left and went for the finish.

Fulham keeper Bernd Leno’s diving parry denied Martinelli, but the ball went to Saka who finished from close range.

The hosts were unshaken by the early setback and continued to build pressure, which paid off near the half-hour mark as Tom Cairney’s cross from the left flank was met by Jimenez for a swift finish, restoring parity.

Marco Silva’s side maintained the momentum into the second half and took the lead near the hour-mark, when Andreas Pereira’s corner created a scramble in the Arsenal box before De Cordova-Reid fired it into the net.

Fulham almost scored their third when Pereira’s late free kick rattled the crossbar.

“It was very good reaction after the first goal. The way we beat their pressure and began to play our way,” Silva told BBC Sport.

The result marked the first time Fulham won a game after going a goal down in 24 league matches.

“Really the best way to finish 2023, definitely. Our ambition was to finish on a high and react from the last two games,” Silva added.

“I really believe we deserve it. Over the 95 minutes we deserved it more.”

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said it was “a sad day” to see his team end the year on two straight losses.

He said: “Today was our worst game of the season. The pace, the purpose we have in attack, defensively we were second best.

“Not enough purpose speed or threat. We were sloppy with the ball. It wasn’t good enough. We didn’t deserve to win.”

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