Arsenal 2 Fulham 1
By Peter ORourke
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The French ace struck deep in injury time to end Fulham's brave resistance and leave The Gunners six points clear.
Arsenal started off like the proverbial house on fire and opened the scoring on 17 minutes with Pires netting a rare headed goal from Thierry Henry's cross.
Fulham stunned the Highbury faithful with Steed Malbranque cancelling out Pires' opener after 29 minutes with his fifth goal in three games.
The Gunners pushed forward in search of a winner in the second half but Fulham continued to frustrate them with some resolute defending.
Brazilian ace Gilberto Silva came close to restoring the lead for the home side, but he was unlucky to see his shot rebound off the post.
The game looked set to end all-square until Pires grabbed his second from close-range in injury-time after good work by substitute Francis Jeffers.
The win was cruel on Fulham, but the victory keeps Arsenal in pole position to maintain their title.