Arsenal's Olivier Giroud scores a goal to equalise in the
second half of their Premier League match against Fulham at
Emirates Stadium in London. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett
Arsenal's topsy-turvy season took another turn for the
worse when they let slip a two-goal lead and missed a late
penalty to draw 3-3 at home to a Dimitar Berbatov-inspired
Olivier Giroud's double - his first home Premier League goals
- could not prevent Arsenal staying seventh in the table,
sliding four points behind fourth-placed Everton who came
from behind to beat visiting Sunderland 2-1.
"I'm proud of the way we played because we started not so
well. It would have been very harsh if they had scored the
penalty," Fulham manager Martin Jol told Sky Sports after
Mikel Arteta wasted the chance to hand Arsenal a streaky win.
Surprise packages West Bromwich Albion, in fifth, are level
on points with Everton following a 2-1 victory at Wigan
Athletic thanks to James Morrison's header and a Gary
Caldwell own goal.
Leaders Manchester United can stretch their one-point
advantage when they visit Aston Villa later (1730 GMT) given
second-placed Chelsea and Manchester City, in third, host
Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur respectively on Sunday.
Former Liverpool midfielder Charlie Adam's first goal for
Stoke City sealed a 1-0 home win over Queens Park Rangers who
plunged to the bottom of the table after Southampton
leapfrogged the Londoners with a 1-1 draw against Swansea
Reading and Norwich City drew 0-0 in a dour game.
Arsenal have stuttered all season and lost at Manchester
United in the league last weekend after an insipid
performance followed by a Champions League draw at Schalke 04
which complicated their qualification hopes.
Arsene Wenger's men got off to the perfect start against
Fulham when close-season signing Giroud finally began to show
some of the might which helped him win the French title last
term with Montpellier.
The tall striker netted with a powerful header on 11 minutes
after a corner from the recalled Theo Walcott and the hosts
were soon 2-0 up and cruising when Arteta set up Germany's
Lukas Podolski for an easy finish midway through the first
Fulham were down to 10 men at the time after an injury to
The unmarked Berbatov, a nemesis of Arsenal as a Manchester
United player, pulled one back on the half hour when he
headed in a corner as the home team again flattered to
The laidback Bulgarian then set up substitute Alex Kacaniklic
in his own inimitable style as Fulham equalised five minutes
before the break.
Berbatov put Fulham 3-2 in front to the gasps of the Arsenal
crowd, who had booed their team off at the break, when he
converted the coolest of penalties after Bryan Ruiz was
pulled back by Arteta in the 67th minute.
Giroud then took another small step in his quest to replace
former Arsenal talisman and now United hero Robin van Persie
by producing another good header from a Walcott cross two
minutes later after the Frenchman had first hit the post.
Arsenal were awarded a stoppage-time penalty for a
harsh-looking handball but Mark Schwarzer saved Arteta's spot
kick to seal a 3-3 draw, the latest high-scoring game to
grace the upper echelons of English football.
Fulham stayed eighth and level on points with Arsenal whose
fans are getting increasingly restless and putting Wenger
under pressure like never before.
Everton have been in great form but looked to be heading for
defeat against Sunderland when Adam Johnson netted on the
stroke of halftime to become the first player other than
Steven Fletcher to score for the visitors in the league this
No one has epitomised Everton's drive this season more than
Belgium midfielder Marouane Fellaini and he fittingly grabbed
the equaliser by drilling the ball home on 76 minutes.
Three minutes later Fellaini played in Nikica Jelavic for the
The victory marked David Moyes's 400th Premier League match
as a manager as he joined a select group containing Alex
Ferguson, Wenger and Harry Redknapp to reach the milestone.