Fulham 0 – 1 Arsenal, a good old fashioned “ugly” win…

Morning all…

Yesterday saw us win away at Craven Cottage and it was one of those good old fashioned ugly wins. I caught the game on BBC radio five as I travelled up north to Birmingham after watching the pre-match on ESPN. A very different experience listening to the game comparably to a stream, live tv or of course going to the actual game… with Graham Taylor not my preferred commenter to listen to… but it kept me very entertained on my travels and was ultimately I was a happy man by the time I got there!

Fulham 0 – 1 Arsenal

Van Persie 52

Despite reports that Theo Walcott was going to return to the squad, we went into the game without him or Eduardo included in the squad. I’m not sure why Eduardo wasn’t included, but we did see Vela on the bench alongside Rosicky so we did have options on the bench if required.

Mannone

Sagna – Gallas – Vermaelen – Clichy

Song Billong – Diaby

Bendtner – Fabregas – Arshavin

Van Persie

The game itself was a very good spectacle of football… my report comes from the MOTD highlights… which happened to be one of the last games shown!

Mannone was our man of the match and the first major talking point was a fantastic double save from the Italian keeper as he kept out Johnson and then the follow up from Dempsey – albeit it hit the keepers face for the second save. Arshavin was next to have an attempt and some brilliant play by Van Persie and especially Cesc Fabregas put the Russian in – but the ball took a nasty bobble and Arshavin skyed it. Fulham were pressing and Mannone pulled off a great save from Zera with an outstretched arm. That was all I got from MOTD of the first half!

The second half highlights kicked off the the goal coming minutes into the half as Cesc floated the ball into the path of Van Persie, who finished very well with his right foot. But then it was Fulham’s turn to have a go and another brilliant save from Mannone from an Andy Johnson header. Next a Konchesky free kick and a Zamora header and our keeper pulled off another great save.

That’s all we got from MOTD of the second half… I can assure you we played better and had a host of other chances, but between the radio and Match of The Day, that’s all I can report.

Let’s hear from Arsene:

“The three points are the most important thing because we played against a very good Fulham side today. I believe we had problems in the first half, especially to find our game. They stopped us from playing, they played a very good game today – committed, aggressive, well organised. You needed to be special to come out with three points. In the second half we had plenty of opportunities but we took one of them very well after a very good pass from Cesc Fabregas to Robin Van Persie. After that we had many opportunities to score a second goal. We were more dominant in the second half but Fulham always looked dangerous on set pieces, on the counter attack and they did try down to the last second.”

And on the performance of the keeper, he said:

“I believe we will give him 10 out of 10 because everything he did was right. For a goalkeeper that is most important. He stopped everything he had to stop, didn’t make any wrong decisions and overall he has shown he has the potential to be a very good goalkeeper. He is goalkeeper No 3 but goalkeeper No 4 is exceptional as well. I believe Wojciech is quality and he has shown that against West Brom and I gave Mannone the advantage because he’s three or four years older and has more experience. Until the next game he is No 1. In this job you have to go from game to game. He has played a fantastic game today and the consistency is the first sign of quality. He kept us in the game in some unbelievable situations. You say that keeper sometimes look unbeatable. Today he looked like he could make the save needed every time. He comes from Italy that means he is a lover of the game. He is a quiet boy but he has outstanding physical qualities  and fantastic reflexes. You saw that today. He deeply wants to improve every day. He is passionate about the game.”

It looks like Almunia won’t be back for Tuesday’s game and Mannone will continue in goal. The three points were obviously very important. We’re now 5th in the table and have a game in hand which would put us third. We’ve played two of our four toughest games of the season and we’ll see next weekend when we play Blackburn if we can gain further ground as Liverpool play Chelsea.

Okie dokie… That’s a wrap…

Mannone for England?

x

  • Debs

    That’s funny Dev, because it actually crossed my mind during the match, Mannone for England! Lol. Maybe Italy’ll call him up?
    How good to actually be able to sing, ‘One nil, to the Arsenal!’?

  • devday

    Tell me about it… it’s always a bit edgy at 1-0… but all credit to Fulham!! Mannone was inspired… more of the same on Tues!

  • jien

    ugly win is still a win, rather than beautiful lost… lol
    Any news why eduardo wasn’t involved? vela was the back up striker on the bench.

  • zohaib

    How disappointing was Diaby yesterday ! Absolutely woeful. Kept giving possession away. That was a big part of why we weren’t dominant as we usually are, in the midfield. Arshavin was pretty invisible for large chunks of the game, as usual. Maybe he needs more time to adjust. He’s also just come back from his injury. Bendtner and Fabregas had a few clear shots at goal but they didn’t hit the target, which was frustrating. VanPersie took his goal well and it was a delightful pass by Cesc to split the defence. But it was one hell of an edgy game. Fulham seemed to have more shots at goal and Mannone was absolutely fantastic. Heroic performance. He quite possibly saved us from getting beat and scoring 0 points as opposed to the 3 that we got in the end. Song’s performance was excellent too. Running around trying to win the ball back everywhere. Brilliant stuff. And he looks like his stamina has increased. He’s also starting to make some penetrating runs. And one bit of skill I remember from yesterday was when he was near the centre line, surrounded by Fulham players and he showed super-quick feet and dribbled the ball and just before falling over he managed to pass it to a team-mate. That was sublime skill. Just sick. I thought Bendtner played well but he should’ve finished at least one chance of the few that he got. Our defence wasn’t flawless as it has been in the past but they did well most of the time. Fulham’s Gera gave us a bit of trouble on our left side though. We probably looked a little off the pace with a week’s break. Hopefully we should be better against Olympiacos on Tuesday.

    Hoping to see Rosicky, Arshavin, Vela and Walcott too !

  • wills

    @Zohaib, yes Diaby was extremely disappointing yesterday! He gave the ball away every other pass and seemed to keep falling over. I also noticed that he kept wanting to run forward, leaving Song as the only player back, meaning Cesc had to come back and cover, the sooner Denilson is back the better!

    I agree with Arshavin being poor, I do think it’s the first time he’s come up against a team like Fulham away though, and on a small pitch with some tough tackles he seemed a bit off. Rosicky looked a lot better when he came on in Arshavin’s place.

    Gotta say…Mannone was superb! The only thing that worried me was his positioning a few times but other than that he was great! I watched him in the Emirates Cup and he really didn’t impress, and after Szczesny’s performance on Tuesday I expected Mannone to be on the bench.

    Overall, we didn’t play too well, but got the 3 points and these are the kind of 3 points that will win us the league, or at least put us up there. Getting the win yesterday was a big improvement on last season, which would probably have seen us loose that by a couple of goals. Fulham and Everton away both looked like tough games at the start of the year, yet we’ve got 6 points where we got 1 last year. Well done boys!!

    Looking forward to Olympiacos on Tuesday, Shouldn’t have too much trouble, get an early goal then play them on the counter, should be able to score a fair few. And hopefully see Theo back in action!

  • pissed off

    zohaib your analysis of the match is quiet commendable. you realy need a place in the Arsenal’s tactical team.

    @ Will – u ave to go it easy with the players

  • zohaib

    I forgot to give credit to Fulham. They were absolutely fantastic. It wasn’t that we played poorly. We were a bit unlucky to not finish off the several chances we had. Arshavin had a bad wobble just before he took the shot at the end of a wonderful move in the first half. Bendtner and Fabregas had a few shots that could’ve gone in. But Fulham really played well. In a way, it’s good experience, matches like these, where we’re not dominating, to teach the boys how to play when they can’t keep most of the possession. It’s good education, Wenger would say. I just hope we learn from it. We don’t need to keep dominating the possession, just make sure we’re solid at the back and that we take whatever chances we get. We missed quite a few against Fulham and we were lucky to get away with a win in the end.

    But let’s not read too much into this. Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t. It’s a game and let’s just be positive and try to give our best in the next game.

    Although I’d probably have substituted Diaby for Ramsey or Rosicky in the first half after what he was doing. Murinho would’ve done it. Sometimes I feel Wenger needs to be a little more aggressive and flexible in the timing of his substitutions.

  • jien

    Just a thing that come across my mind, about our corner kicks…While Van persie takes his corner kicks well, corners from the other side of the pitch (taken by Fab or Arshavin)is frustrating. It seems every corner taken by fab is easilly intercepted by defenders stationed at the near post. It never goes beyond the 1st defender, and it’s been like that ever since he played for us as a teenage….Why can’t he swings it a little harder and higher? And 9 out of 10 corners from Arsha will go straingt into the keeper’s hands, as if he was aiming to put the ball into the pair of gloves rather than a teammate’s head….Can’t Arsene sees it? We are wasting potential scoring chances unneccesarily….maybe van persie should take some out-swinging ones from there..

  • harry

    Win pretty, lose pretty, win ugly, lose ugly, what order would you put those? I think a win is a win and we should always be happy with a win. Some folks won’t be happy until we win every match 6-1. Sorry but this isn’t playstation. Fulham are a damn good team, well organized, and they will fight for all 100 minutes so a 1-0 win is a damn good result.

    It’s an even better result when you take into account the fact that Diaby had a nightmare, that Arshavin looked rusty, and that Cesc had to carry the midfield load.

    Yesterday’s result proved that this team just needs one or two stellar performances and we can win. Hopefully they can carry that belief forward and grind out more wins, because we’ll need that belief when we go to play those famous “committed Northern teams.”

  • Debs

    Bendtner out of tomorrow’s game after minor car accident. And Denilson out for two months!?!

  • wills

    @Debs, just read that too! More worried about Denilson then Nik but neither are good news!

    Maybe if Bendtner is out tomorrow Vela might finally get a chance! SSN were reporting today that he may move to Xerez on loan in January as he want’s more first team football and apparently Xerez have no strikers! Hopefully Wenger won’t let it happen as he really does look like a quality player.

  • Leeroy.N

    It is time to give Vela more chances, without a doubt. I hope he doesn’t get disillusioned and want to leave like Lassana Diarra did. He is one prospect for the future we really need to keep. Sad to hear about Bendtner and I hope Denilson makes a speedy recovery. I guess our war with injuries will NEVER be over!!

    Win, Lose or Draw.. Gooner Til I Die!!