Fulham 1-0 Arsenal – Match Report

Arsenal’s second game of the season ended in defeat at the hands of Fulham.  A lifeless Arsenal display has left many questioning where the team is heading.

Wenger made two changes to the team brining in Toure and van Persie for Djourou and Bendtner.  Vela did not make the bench as he only arrived back from Mexico late on Thursday, so Gibbs was given a place on the bench.

Arsenal started the game at a ground that has been a happy hunting ground in recent years, they started knowing that a win will propel their season forward.   It was to be a very disappointing and frustrating afternoon for the fans.  Had we woken up at the fag end reign of George Graham, was this really Arsenal and Wengerball?

How poor were Arsenal, well our first shot on target was not until the 85th minute, and that was a 35 yard tame shot from Adebayor.  It could have all been so different had Adebayor’s first half header gone in rather than hit the post. 

Instead Arsenal fell behind after a Fulham corner found Gallas sleeping as he allowed Hangelland to meet the ball and tap in Fulham’s goal from their only meaningful attack in the firs half.

What followed was a complete disaster.  Where can we start?

Clichy had a poor game, too often giving the ball away and not getting forward enough.  The recent signing of Silvestre should have been the inspiration for Clichy to produce his best ever display, but on current form he will end up on the bench.

The midfield was a calamity.  This has not surprised anyone, except Wenger.  You cannot lose Diarra, Flamini, Gilberto and Hleb and expect to survive.  With your two creative players injured, Fabregas and Rosicky, a manager needs to look at the squad in pre-season and acquire players of class.  This has not happened at Arsenal. We have to make do with Eboue making aimless runs and no tackles in midfield.  This is a defender, not good enough to play at right back and given a chance in midfield and found wanting there too.  Alongside we have a youngster in Denilson.  The young Brazilian is too young to be expected to hold the midfield together. Between these two, they rarely made a pass of quality and too often they were out-muscled. 

As the game went on, we looked to the bench to see what we have in reserve, and the answer was nothing.  We had Ramsey and Wilshere as alternatives.  This is purely down to our transfers in the summer.  The summer is the time improve the squad, and we failed to do that, so now two games into the season we are scratching around for a signing. 

Walcott had another poor game, his strength is pace, running at defenders, but everytime, Theo kept on cutting in, where there were many Fulham players to thwart him.

Adebayor and van Persie played like strangers.  Van Persie is not the same player he was last a season, and is desperate for a goal, this was evident in his attempted shots from anywhere.  He had four free kicks and his aim never improved from the first to the last.

What was strange was that Eboue and Denilson were not substituted, and when we needed to attack, Wenger sent on Song to replace Toure.

All is not lost as we are still only two games in and we will recover, but relying upon Fabregas is not correct and is also unfair on the Spaniard.  The reserves are too young and not up to it, Arsene must have realised this by now.  Three games have seen three hopeless performances from the midfield, the strikers cannot  score if they are not given the proper supplies.  

Winning the league or a good run in the Champions League is worth £30M – £50M to the club, yet we are not prepared to offer more than £10M for Alonso to achieve either, where is our ambition? We need not only a central midfielder but also a winger otherwise we will struggle this season to get into the top four.

Posted on August 24, 2008, in Match Reports and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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