Arsenal 2 – 1 Fulham match report: We go top! A deserved win!

December 4, 2010

Another shaky performance as we come out with three points this time. We go top of the league and it doesn’t matter how we got there. What matters is we have to stay there.

The game had elements similar to what we have seen in the past few matches. Complete domination by us in the start, we score the goals but miss a lot more that should literally finish the game.  We then succumb to I don’t know what and concede goals. Then we look panicked and forget what we are supposed to do as the game opens up and it is for anyone’s to take.

The start as usual was very bright by us as we dominated Fulham. Arshavin was clearly on fire as he set up some beautiful balls and himself got chances to score. Arshavin had an early Volley saved by Schwarzer when we got a free kick. Rosicky had an opening to shoot but he chose to pass the ball to Chamakh and the chance was lost. Arshavin was involved in this move also.  Nasri then went just wide on a through ball from Arshavin. The breakthrough was not far behind though. Arshavin again picked up Nasri with a wonderful ball and he sidestepped two challenges before smashing the ball past Schwarzer. It was a goal to watch. Simply amazing as we got our early goal.

We didn’t stop there and Arshavin again picked up Chamakh with a great lobbed ball. Chamakh should have gone for goal but he chose to pass the ball back and the chance was spurred. Arshavin a few minutes later himself had a shot that was saved by Schwarzer. Nasri then made a brilliant run down the right and he squared the ball. Somehow Fulham kept the ball out of goal as the score remained one nil. Song then went wide with an open header from an excellent cross by Sagna.

By now not even 30 minutes had passed and we had created half a dozen chances of which three should have been scored on at least. As it was we were leading by a goal only. Then the moment of madness occurred at the back as Squillaci collided with Koscielny and Dempsey got the ball. He passed it to Kamara who made no mistake to put it past Fabianski as the score leveled up. Koscielny was stretchered off due to injury from the collision as Djourou came on for him.

The final 15 minutes of the first half were equally contested. We went flat after conceding the goal and started doing uncharacteristic mistakes. We were too casual with the ball. Our defence was opened up far too many times which weren’t good to see.

Near the end Chamakh headed the ball straight to Schwarzer. Fulham went close to taking lead themselves but Fabianski brilliantly denied Kamara in a one-on-one. We went into the break with the scores leveled.

The second half start was uncharacteristic by us. No one was holding onto the ball for long as Fulham were pressing nicely. However, slowly we started getting into good positions. Rosicky had a first time shot on goal that went just wide when Song found him on the edge of the area. Arshavin, similar to Nasri, did brilliantly to open up space for himself and had a shot that was again stopped by Schwarzer. These chances raised the tempo of the game as Fulham also looked dangerous on the break. They got a couple of half chances as we survived the pressure.

Van Persie was brought on by Wenger in place of Wilshere. Arshavin and Van Persie combined to set up Nasri.  He wriggled past challenges, the keeper and slotted home from the by line. Simply an amazing goal.

Fulham, however, were not to be stopped as they pushed for the equalizer. Etuhu had a shot that went just wide of the post. Chamakh at the other end had a chance to kill the game when Clichy found him with a cross. Chamakh although shot the ball over. Fabianski did his part near the end as he saved Gera’s shot that was heading towards goal. Near the end we did enough to keep Fulham from scoring as we ended the match with the three points secured.

Well one thing is confirmed from the match; we love to live dangerously and never go for the easy kill. These last few games have been really tense. However the spirit that the team is showing is worth the mention. We could have easily lost today had we not held our nerves. Although, we need to do it more convincingly. We could have easily finished the game in the first half had we taken our chances. We also could have easily conceded a couple after the scores got leveled. We survived the pressure and that was good to see. Let’s carry on with this on to the next games with more improvement.


Wenger on Almunia’s setback, Fabregas’ return, new keeper and Schwarzer’s deal extension

December 4, 2010

Speaking ahead of the match against Fulham, Arsene Wenger in his pre-match press conference gave his update on the squad. Everyone is available for tomorrow except Almunia. Almunia, he said, has suffered a setback in training and is out. The other injured players are still not back including Diaby, Vermaelen and Fabregas.

“The team news is that we have everybody available and not Almunia who had a little setback in training yesterday and is out of it. But apart from that, of course Fabregas, Vermaelen, Diaby are out.”

About Fabregas he said that it is still two weeks at the most before he can return. The initial sign for Fabregas are good but Wenger is unsure if he will be available for the Man Utd game. 

“The first signs [for Fabregas] look quite good. I still think two weeks. I don’t know [whether he will be available for the Manchester United game].”

On Vermaelen he said that he is with a protective boot on and it will have to wait before it can be confirmed if it helps and how early he can be back.

“At the moment [Vermaelen] is in a boot and we have to wait until he comes out of that to see if he has a reaction.”

Wenger also made it clear that there will be no new player or keeper coming in January unless injury forced him. When asked about a new keeper in January, Wenger responded that he has already come out on that. He said that they are not on the market for any player. The current keepers are all performing. Fabianski, he said, has shown quality in the last couple of months and that he has the ability. Szczesny also has done well in his appearances. As for Almunia he said that injury won’t keep him out for long and he will return soon.  

“No, I came out already on that.

That [Almunia’s injury] will not be for a long time, we have Szczesny coming up very quickly and we have Fabianski who has proven in the last two months that he has the quality.

At the moment we are not on the market.”

When asked about Schwarzer’s deal extension he said that he is pleased for him. He said that the deal doesn’t bother him as he has his own squad to focus on. He also said that he can understand the decision made by Schwarzer as a two year deal at his age is good and that it shows the club values him. On the interest of Arsenal he said that it is history and he would like it to remain discreet.

 “I can understand that decision. At his age a two-year contract is a great deal for him and it shows great confidence of the club for him. I don’t have a problem with that.
 
It is important that we focus on our players and the squad we have. I am pleased for him [Schwarzer] that he got an extension to his contract but all the rest is history that has to be a little bit discreet.”


Nasri is going to make it while Van Persie is a doubt for Fulham, Ipswich in Cup semi, Vermaelen should be captain and Schwarzer is not coming to Arsenal

December 2, 2010

Nasri: He is going to make it

Arsene Wenger has given the latest on the team’s status today. Speaking to Arsenal TV online he said that he has the same squad available for the Fulham game as it was against Villa last weekend. The only concern is of Nasri. On Nasri Wenger said that he got a knock on his knee in the Wigan game. Still he believes that Nasri will be alright and ready to face Fulham as it is a minor injury. Apart from this he said there are no new fresh injury concerns.

“Nasri has got a knock from Tuesday night. It is a knee problem but he should be alright. Apart from that, we do not have any fresh players injured.”

He further added that there will be no new players returning from injury as Vermaelen and Diaby are still out along with Fabregas. The squad he said will remain unchanged from the Villa game.

“There are no other ins or out. Diaby and Vermaelen are not available. Fabregas (hamstring) is still injured so it will be a similar squad to the Aston Villa game.”

Persie: Wenger unsure about whether to play him

As for Van Persie, Wenger is yet unsure on whether to give him another start. He said that he will look in to his recovery from the Wigan game before deciding. He said that with a strong squad available he is going to rotate his players from game to game to keep the players fresh.

“I will see how Robin recovers [before deciding whether to start him]. I rotate a bit from game to game at the moment. So I’ll see. But we have quite a strong squad available.”

Carling Cup Semi-final Draws: Arsenal to face Ipswich town

In other news we are to face Ipswich Town in the two legged semi-final of the Carling Cup. The semi finals first leg is going to be played on the 11th or 12th of January at their home with the return leg on 25th or 26th.  Ipswich town overcame West Brom in the quarters to face us. Birmingham has been drawn against West Ham in the other semi final.

Ipswich’s manager, Roy Keane, commented about the draw. He said that they have got the toughest of the draws. He further elaborated that Birmingham and West Ham would be delighted to have avoided Arsenal and play each other. As for the tie he said that they will look forward to it when it comes. About Arsenal he said that they are a top team and they will be happy with the draw.

“I think it is the toughest draw we could have had. Put it this way, West Ham and Birmingham will have been delighted to have avoided Arsenal. We will look forward to that when it comes. Arsenal are a top team and will be delighted with the draw.”

On his own teams performance against West Brom he said that they played well and was pleased for the fans and his team. He said that the players responded positively after Sunday’s loss in their local derby. The match he said would have been over before they scored had the West Brom keeper not made some great saves.

 “The performance was pretty good. That does not always guarantee the right result but we should have won by three or four goals. I am pleased for the players and the supporters because it has been a frustrating time. All the players did very well and responded well after Sunday. The game should have been over by the time we scored but their keeper made some great saves.”

No match is easy and as we have seen this season none of the teams can be taken granted for. It will be a good match no doubt but I believe we will win the tie and the tournament. Fingers crossed!

Vermaelen: Will he be a good Captain?

On to Other matters. Our former player, Ray Parlour, has spoken about Vermaelen to be given the captaincy of the team. Speaking on this he asks questions regarding Squillaci, Koscielny and Djourou that if they can deliver for the whole season and be leaders along with that on the pitch. He said that the centre backs position is very important to a team. They have a bird’s eye view of everything and as a result they can direct a team effectively from there.

On Vermaelen’s return from injury, Parlour wants that Wenger should give him the captain’s armband as he is a good player and that he has the leadership qualities. He believes that Vermaelen can learn from Tony Adams and Viera’s time at Arsenal to drive the team to success.    

“You look at the situation. You’ve got Squillaci, Koscielny, Djourou – are these good enough to go through the whole season and pick you points up. We all know goalkeepers can save you 12 points a year so can centre-halves. It’s a very important position, they can see everything happening, they’re the ones who can demand from other players. That’s why they’re so important. I think Vermaelen is going to be very important because he’s a good player. He’s got a great leap on him for 5ft 11, usually centre-halves are 6ft plus. I think it’s one of these times where if he thinks Vermaelen can do the job give him the skipper’s armband and say to him ‘these are skipper’s we use to have, Tony Adams, Patrick Vieira, who used to drive the team on, can you do that’ and see if he can do it.”

Schwarzer: He has extended his contarct at Fulham

We can also forget signing Schwarzer in the January window as he has signed a new contract at Fulham.

Schwarzer has said this on fulhamfc.com:

“Delighted to have finally signed a contract extension with Fulham after a great deal of speculation surrounding my future in recent months.”

Mark Hughes had this to say on Schwarzer signing a contract extension:

 “[Schwarzer] is an important part of my plans for the future and I am delighted to see one of the game’s finest current goalkeepers commit his future to the Club.”

Personnally I am not bothered with the news as much  as currently Fabianski and Szczesny are doing good. Although if we need to sign for improvement , we can have plenty better keepers than Schwarzer.  As a matter of fact I am delighted myself that at least one speculation has been settled.


If we were to have new signings…!!!??

October 15, 2010

Every day that passes we have at least a couple of players linked with us. By now I think the people should have realised that we don’t buy until and unless we are seriously short of players. Nonetheless every player on this planet is linked with us in one way or another, an exaggeration you would say but still close to reality.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Message, Shortcomings and Transfer Window Closes

August 31, 2010

Its been three days since our win over Blackburn. A win that most were saying would make our title challenge more real. A win we did get but has it really created the effect that it should have. Has it really created some fear in the minds of all the Arsenal doubters? For me, this win has given a message to all the anti-arsenal people out there that this season we mean business and we will not be bullied by the thugs and that we can carve our own fortunes. Three points against Big Sam’s team in their own backyard with their no-football-but-only-rugby tactics speaks volumes that we are not to be intimidated this season. Read the rest of this entry »


Arsenal Moving In The Right Direction

August 24, 2010

Arsenal are finally set to sign a defender. It was reported that Sebastien Squillaci had flown to London for a medical at Arsenal FC yesterday. A deal might be signed today and it will cost around £6.5 million. Read the rest of this entry »