London: Arsenal strengthened their hopes of a Champions League spot on Saturday after Per Mertesacker's header late in the first half secured a 1-0 victory at Fulham, who played most of the game with 10 men but still came close to an equaliser.
Arsenal dominated possession throughout the game after Steve Sidwell's clumsy challenge on Mikel Arteta earned him a straight red card in the 12th minute. But the Gunners struggled to create any real chances until Laurent Koscielny met an in-swinging free kick by the far post in the 43rd and headed it across goal, where Mertesacker was on hand to head it into the net.
Fulham then had a goal ruled out for offside in the second half before Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud was also sent off for a similar lunge in the 90th.
Arsenal moved provisionally back into third place, two points ahead of Chelsea, which has two games in hand.