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?