Saturday, November 26, 2011

Minor blip: Arsenal drop points to Fulham's bald army

Well we didn't expect that. Last evening's performance was an aberration, a departure from the norm, a game to be forgotten and hopefully in the big scheme of things, the dropped two points will average out. Arsenal looked lethargic at the start and overall showed little desire to take the game to Fulham in the first half. To cut the supply line to Robin, Martin Jol resorted to a packed midfield. With Ramsey having one of those days, it meant that we spent a lot of time passing the ball around in our half of the pitch. Any tempo whatsoever in the game was due to Santos' and Theo's runs on either flank. Arshavin remained anonymous and his profligacy on the pitch was exasperating. He has bundles of talent and nobody has ever doubted that. But whenever he's on the pitch, we can see that his heart is not in it. Yesterday when Shava was about to take a corner, he remembered that now Arteta is the assigned guy and very reluctantly put the ball at the spot for him. I feel for Shava who is clearly unhappy over his drop in the Arsenal ranks. I'm a big fan of him, he's an awesome guy off the pitch too but I think he needs few good one-on-one sessions with Arsene where he can open up and discuss his issues. If there's a guy who can revive him, Arsene is that guy.

Despite our lack of zeal, we created decent chances and Ramsey should have done better when Theo laid a perfect ball only for him to shoot skyward. By this time, that uneasy feeling crept up inside but it was difficult to spot the channel from where Fulham could score a goal. Sticking to our principle of making our life difficult, a defensive mixup led to a Vermaelen own goal. Theo could be blamed for not tracking the run of Riise who led to the confusion in the area. But even in that case, our defence should have dealt with it. Vermaelen had an average game until the time he surged forward to place his face at the end of another brilliant Theo cross which resulted in the equaliser. From villain to hero. The goal came about only after the much needed substitutions: Gervinho, Diaby and yes, Chamakh. The tempo of the game was instantly raised and passing was crisper. Gervinho and Theo made numerous forays in the Fulham area and we were rewarded for our effort with Vermaelen's goal.

The last 10 minutes saw us pushing for the winner but Fulham's time wasting tactics, throughout the match, made it difficult to come by. They were helped by Mike Dean who paid no notice to Mark Schwarzer's multiple delayed goal kicks. He deserved at least a yellow. But in a game where Dean ignored any foul on a Arsenal player you wouldn't expect him to notice anything wrong in deliberate time wasting. It's now 10 games on the trot when we have dropped points with Mike Dean as the referee. And what's with Fulham's hairline, starting from Jol to Bobby Zamora, there are bald galore, they're a disgusting team to watch (I like Gerv's hairdo).

Coming back to football, Arsene needs to find the right combination for his team B because there will be frequent personnel rotations running till New Year. Carling Cup QF will allow him another evening of experiment and I hope that our players prove Le Boss right the next time.

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