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Result: Per Mertesacker heads Arsenal into third

Per Mertesacker's header sends Arsenal third as the 10-man Gunners narrowly beat London rivals Fulham, who also finished with 10 men following Steve Sidwell's sending off.

Per Mertesacker scored the only goal of the game as Arsenal edged a London derby with Fulham 1-0 during which both teams had players sent off.

Steve Sidwell, who was returning to the Fulham side after completing a three-match suspension, saw red on 12 minutes for a foolish lunge on Mikel Arteta.

The Gunners capitalised on their numerical advantage to snatch a half-time lead when Mertesacker headed in from close range on 43 minutes.

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker opens the scoring against Fulham on April 20, 2013© PA Photos

Despite Olivier Giroud's late dismissal, an under-par Arsenal hung on to claim the precious three points that see them climb above Chelsea into third in the Premier League table.

Theo Walcott found the net as early as the second minute, but his effort was rightly ruled out for offside.

Ten minutes later, Sidwell was shown his marching orders, but it was the hosts who managed to create the first notable opening when Dimitar Berbatov collected an Urby Emanuelson pass and tested Wojciech Sczcesny at his near post.

Giroud came close to breaking the deadlock just after the half hour when his shot on the turn struck the base of the post, but neither the woodwork nor Mark Schwarzer on his 500th Premier League start could deny Arsenal just prior to the interval.

Fulham midfielder Steve Sidwell is dismissed after a bad tackle on Mikel Arteta on April 20, 2013© PA Photos

Walcott's inviting free kick was headed across goal by Laurent Koscielny, and the Frenchman's centre-back partner Mertesacker swooped to nod home from two yards.

Surprisingly, though, Arsenal did not dominate after the resumption of play and instead Sczcesny was called upon again to parry away a Bryan Ruiz strike.

There were few clear-cut opportunities in the latter stages, even after Andre Marriner had evened up the numbers by sending off Giroud for an innocuous looking tackle on Stanislav Manolev.

The Gunners are now five points clear of fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur, who have two games in hand, in the race for Champions League qualification.

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Fulham midfielder Steve Sidwell is dismissed after a bad tackle on Mikel Arteta on April 20, 2013
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Today's Olympic highlights header

Thursday's key events


ROWING
· Comeback queen and super-mum Helen Glover goes for her third Olympic gold alongside Polly Swann in the women's pair final (1.30am)
· There is also a medal on offer for GB pair Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double scull final (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· As second-fastest qualifier for the final, Team GB's James Wilby is among the medal contenders in the men's 200m breaststroke (2.44am)
· Alys Thomas takes part in the women's 200m butterfly final, although he faces a difficult task to challenge for the medals (3.28am)
· Caeleb Dressel of the USA has been touted by some as the successor to Michael Phelps, and he has the chance to notch up a fourth Olympic gold in the men's 100m freestyle final (3.37am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· After Team GB's men narrowly missed out on a medal, the women get their campaign underway against the Russian Olympic Committee (3am) and New Zealand (10.30am)

HOCKEY
· It is a Great Britain vs. Netherlands double-header, with the men up first in Pool B (4.15am)
· Most eyes will be on the women's showdown between the two nations, though, as Netherlands - the world's best team - look to gain revenge on GB for defeat in the 2016 Olympic final (11am)

CANOE SLALOM
· Mallory Franklin takes part in the women's canoe semi-final, and will hope to do enough to qualify for the final later in the day (6am-8.45am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· With Simone Biles now out of the women's all-around final, the competition has been blown wide open. Team GB twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova are among those taking part (11.50am-2.05pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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