Arsenal report: On the fringe, muscle-wise

Arsenal 1-1 Fulham

So Arsenal’s five-match league winning run comes to a close. Churlish to moan too much, given how – until recently – we’d not strung two league wins together for donkey’s years. And overall, our recent form in all competitions remains nigh-on impeccable.

If you’re one of those glass-totally-overfilling types who still maintain we can catch Man City then yes, we’ve dented that ambition. But if you, like me, expect a challenge for a Champions League place to be a more realistic goal then a draw at home to Fulham is not a terrible result. It is, after all, only November.

I think we could and perhaps should have won it (Ramsey had a great, chance, Djourou and van Persie in a hectic finale too), but at the same time, Fulham played very well and really took the game to us. They no doubt would have felt hard done to have come away with no points at all.

Enough positives too, notably the will to come back into the game having gone 1-0 down after 65 minutes. Naturally, Wenger seized upon this as a reason to be cheerful. “The positive again is that we have shown exceptional spirit, desire and refusal to lose the game”, said le Boss. “We needed to dig deep.”

And the double substitution made all the difference, Diaby & Gervinho coming on for Mertesacker and Ramsey. Both added a dynamism we had lacked a bit, and for Gervinho it was a very decent way to prove his doubters wrong. He might be dithering a bit in front of goal but he caused havoc attacking down the left.

Diaby, in that 20-minute cameo, showed why Wenger still loves him so. I suspect he won’t be kept back for the bench, either, with both Ramsey and Arteta seemingly in need of a breather. Ramsey has played 12 of 13 league games this term: remarkable given his injury, I think.

Redemption in the end for Vermaelen, whose two-goal salvo was not the kind of brace he’d have liked. But it was a delicious cross from Walcott, whose form (particularly his crossing, I think) improves with every passing game. He used to be subbed all the time. Not so much these days.

Overall, a slightly tired performance, no doubt, but a spirited one, especially at the end.

Onwards to Man City on Tuesday. Will Wenger change things around?

“I will have to”.

5 thoughts on “Arsenal report: On the fringe, muscle-wise

  1. Maybe I’m always a glass half-empty kind of guy but I was disgusted with yesterday’s performance. What really grated over the last few years with Arsenal has been the culture of arrogance from players who had won nothing & yet thought they just had to turn up to win most games. Which was totally the manager’s fault in my opinion for consitently telling everyone (including themselves) how great they were.
    That seemed to have disappeared (unavoidable given the defeats we had) but given Arsene’s slightly smug ‘I always knew I was right’ look over the last few weeks, there was always the fear it would return. And for me it did. This team this season have repaired the damage done to their relationship with the fans – not through the brilliance of their performances, but through their application & desire. If that’s right, I will never slate a team regardless of results.
    We simply didn’t pay Fulham the respect they deserved & lost 2 stupid points as a result.

    If it was all about fatigue, then why were we able to step up a gear at 1-0 down ? Because we woke up when we had no choice but to accept we were in a game.
    Bitterly disappointing. I sincerely hope it’s a massive wake-up call.

    (And in terms of finishing in the top 4 it now leaves us potentially 8 points behind the Totts. Which is exactly where we were when we lost at thir shithole.)

  2. Jesus, I’ve been out all day & hadn’t seen the news re: Gary Speed before posting earlier. Forget my rant, how irrelevant is a poor performance today.
    He was always one of those players I had the height of respect for regardless of who he was playing for. A player who made the very most of his talent & always came across as intelligent & decent. (2 things increasingly lacking in modern football)
    Always looked like he’d be a decent manager & what he’s done with Wales to now was very, very impressive.
    My heart goes out to his family & friends.
    RIP Gary.

  3. The RVP of blogging, not to be risked for the kids cup?  Maybe just a bit jaded from years of blogging and needing a rest.

    I was somewhat of a dissenter when you aired concerns about Park and Chamakh’s footwear. “Too early to say on Park,” I thought, but I can see it now.  Surely they’re wearing the wrong size entirely.

  4. Haha – in actual fact, for one reason and another I didn’t even see the game. On that basis I thought a match report might be a little cheeky…

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