Fulham 1 – 0 Arsenal: A few issues must be solved…

Don't get me wrong, I've been surprised by Eboue's recent form in pre-season and have to say that he had one of best games against West Brom last Saturday. However, to play the defensive midfield position requires a certain discipline and positional sense. The central midfield partnership is one that needs to gel well in order for the team to play well, it's the engine room. The creation starts from the middle and the defenders are protected by their midfield.

The Toure-Gallas partnership was restored today and the same questions have to be asked defensively. Can these two players play together? Do they compliment each other or is their lack of physical presence a problem for us? Djourou and Senderos do seem to be better in the air, but Toure and Gallas have experience in abundance. It's a tough one. Toure was substituted for Song today, does that mean that Toure isn't fit? Why didn't Djourou come on, especially after his good performance the week before? Questions that can only be answered by Arsene. There is a little bit of worry in me about what's going on. Too much change and not enough focus on the targets in hand. We need a defensive midfielder, without a doubt. We do have Cesc and Diaby to come back and when both fit, they will make a huge difference. The tenacious expose of Flamini is much missed and potentially only Diaby will fit the bill.

The game lined up as follows:

Almunia

Sagna – Toure – Gallas – Clichy

Walcott – Eboue – Denilson – Nasri

Adebayor – Van Persie

After Ade’s lacklustre performance against West Brom last week, many people thought he may be rested with Bendtner taking his place, but Ade started and continued in his 2006 form, which as we all know wasn’t that great.

Brede Hangeland scored the only goal of the game for a Fulham side which looked decent, but a side we should have beaten. A Jimmy Bullard cross wasn’t handled by the defence and the giant Fulham defender stabbed home what turned out to be the winner.

Arsene has a few quotes after the game, and the first was:

“They had a corner and they took advantage from it. That illustrates the first half. We were not sharp enough. We were not first enough on the ball. The corner showed that and we were punished. When you are focussed you can stop them scoring like that from the middle of the goal.”

Early on, John Pantsil challenged Eboue and was lucky to escape a red card on a day where Fulham adopted the physical approach and we seemed fazed by it. It was one of those games where we were so lacklustre, it’s hard to pick out individual moments where we were close. It was an inevitable miss every time we went forward, with Ade missing everything possible. Van Persie still seemed rusty. Theo Walcott looked strangely subdued and our midfield definitely wasn’t firing on any cylinder. Young Samir Nasri was again impressive, and that’s definitely a positive note. Our substitutes were Bendtner for Walcott, Song for Toure.

“After that we tried to come back in the second half but I feel we were too nervous in the last 25 minutes and wanted to create on our own rather than keeping our vision around the box. That is we missed a lot today. We lacked a bit more quality in our passing. We you look at the possession we had and what we did with it that is always a sign it is only down power but vision and technical quality. That was there today. I don’t know why. You have to credit to Fulham as well. You need to keep a balance. When I brought on Bendtner we already had Van Persie, Nasri and Adebayor. You needed to win the ball back so you needed to keep three midfielders.”

And finally Arsene talked about the defensive mistakes and the focus on Wednesday.

“It was the kind of game where you could not afford to make a mistake and we made a massive one. It was a game where if you get to half-time at 0-0 then you would win the game. That is the biggest regret I have. The result is there and we have to cope with it. We have a big game on Wednesday night and we have to respond with a top class performance because was we did today was just not good enough.”

A few issues to be resolved, a few questions to be asked… Arsene, a few days to think hard before the transfer window closes… a few days for Ade to get his sharpness back. Maybe the 31st August (now 1st Sept) will be a useful point to know who’s in and who’s out and what we have to do this season…

More tomorrow…]]>

  • khai

    will it be okay if u add like a chat box here?

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog Kieran Delaney

    < ![CDATA[I know Arsene is thinking that we have Rosicky, Fabregas and Diaby all injured and that the midfield is covered a bit better when they are not all out, but with Arsenals luck, surely you've got to assume that we'll be in this position again towards the middle of the season.

    There are some really talented youngsters about to break through but he really needs to lay down some cash and fill the gap that we have now with experience and ball winning skill.

    I'm getting a little tired of hearing about the stadium as an excuse for not spending - we've made some good money from transfers, including a wedge from Tottenham for DBentley (who actually looks like the only 'player' in their team incidentally)and I think now's about the time to spend that on the missing link in the middle.

    With a proven ball winner in midfield at least we'll have some cover for the somewhat shakey defence.]]>

  • die hard arsenal fan

    I am fustrated becaues I think Arsene is trying to prove a point at the expense of thropys. He said we have a bright future but if every time we develop players and win nothing the player thinks I have to move on to succeed. We will be constructing temas for our opponents. I am distraught at the loss but at the same time hope it shakes the foundation. Arsene needs to wake up smell the roses. We need to buy at least two players. A creative midfielder for if Fab is out and a defensive midfielder.

  • die hard arsenal fan

    Cese has expressed my desire which is Xabi Alonso we need him and we need him fast . He would help in bith departments as the defensive midfielder adns if Cese is out in the creative midfielder role come on Arsene get your thumb out. Also the kids from the Olympics Thiago Neves, Obasi of Nigeria, and Angel Di Maria as soon as. Lets not lose them as we have lost Kompany.

  • MiKeL

    Frankly.. Really ‘ve been a very ardent arsenal fan 4 the past few years.. but yesterdays performance was really really disappointing.. I felt we lacked in every area be it defense, or midfield or in the accuracy in passing or even be it in keeping possession of the ball.. i honestly felt that the mid field really did not have the “Cesc” factor yesterday.. Nasri was good but still more to come from him.. and plus adebayor was not in his best form.. and i guess walcott created some pretty decent chances.. WE NEED A NEW SIGNING DESPERATELY for defensive midfield or even midfield cause we really need to step up the pressure on the other top 3 teams.. and defense too needs to have a major thought at.. i just hope Wenger buys a good player b4 1st sept.

  • jedrury

    < ![CDATA[RVP had 4 set pieces; three into the wall and one way off to the fans. Rubbish, not rusty. Quit evaluating him on
    his pre injury form, he has had months to recover. Excuses, excuses.
    With Cesc out, thank heaven for Clichy and Sagna, they were the only ones with spark. This Fulham game marked the loss of Flamini and Hleb.
    This is going to be a long sad season for the Gunners. Sadly, I say this, they could very easily fall out of the top four.]]>

  • LEON

    i feel there is no dought in midfield we need at least one more player,but wenger should take his time and buy the wight player for team is he cant find the wright player then he waite until january but we just hope we dont pick up any injuries i am bit worried about the sharpness of our strikers, but when we do get more players in we are still need to play alot better, are strkers still dont look very sharp. kompany is very good but still has alot of rough edges and i feel that song and dijouro are just as good plus we have tow expetional and more experienced defenders in toure and gallas but still dont play that well together.

  • Pingback: Monday Round Up, Senderos moves to Milan, Arsene still not close to signing anyone… « The World of Arsenal