Arsenal show “exceptional spirit” and lack of quality.
I partied all through last night but I can assure you that the title of this post is not alcohol-induced.
Yesterday’s draw against Fulham was more of one point gained than two points lost. Why jump the gun though? Allow me to take you through how events unfolded.
Arsene made two changes to the team that beat Dortmund at the Emirates, Djourou and Arshavin coming in for Koscielny and Gervinho. I’m sure we can now understand why Arshavin has not played a lot of games this season.
Fulham defended well from the start of the game. Senderos stuck to RVP and rarely gave him any sniff on goal. We had to use the wings and while Walcott was having a good game, Arshavin struggled.
We had a couple of good chances early in the game, both of which fell to Ramsey, another player who’s had better games. He forced a wonderful save from Schwarzer for the first but couldn’t hit the target for the second.
That was as close as we came in the first half. We were a tad slow and struggled to get into rhythm.
The half time break did not change much, Fulham defended, we could not break them down. We enjoyed possession though and looked more likely to go ahead than behind. Van Persie even had a shot cleared off the line by a defender!
Football is one helluva crazy game though. Danny Murphy’s delightful chip found Arne Riise in our box, and as he struggled to control the ball, Vermaelen’s interception ended at the back of our net!
We were now staring at a loss and needed something special on a day we have been quite flat. A sense of urgency returned to the game. We pushed players forward and Djourou almost scored from a corner only to be thwarted by Schwarzer.
Diaby, Gervinho, Chamakh came on for Ramsey, Mertesacker and Arshavin. And with just over ten minutes left, Walcott whipped in ANOTHER wonderful cross. It met the head of Vermaelen who took it past the goalkeeper.
We were back level, he had atoned for his mistake at the other end. I still ask myself how he got into that position.
The Arsenal players gave one final push for all 3 points, but it was not to be. One point was all we would get. In his post match interview, Arsene reckoned we showed “exceptional spirit” and I totally agree with him.
This was a game a “normal” team would have lost, but we dug deep and refused to accept defeat. And on a day when we faced a team that defended so deep, we could really do with Gervinho’s trickery and unpredictability from the start.
Arshavin looked really out of sorts, hardly did anything right. Ramsey kept going for difficult options and should have buried at least one of those chances. Diaby gave us a new dimension, good to have him back.
Is it a mere coincidence that the one game in which we did not start our first choice front three is the one we struggled to get a goal? It makes me wonder how we will cope when Gervinho leaves for the AFCON in January.
Chamakh also came on yesterday and for the umpteenth time, he did nothing of note! What happens if RVP isn’t also available in January? We’ll be stuck with a front three that comprises Walcott, Chamakh and Arshavin.
In all, it was not the best of performances but at least we still have our unbeaten run going. Man City visit on Tuesday and we will need to rotate. Don’t let me get ahead of myself again, a preview to that game will be up tomorrow.
Have a great Sunday wherever you read this from.