Good morning, few little bits and bobs to get to before the match. First off, congratulations to the Carling Cup Kids for drawing Liverpool in the next round. At the start of the season I openly hoped that they got an easy schedule but the reality is that unless you get insanely lucky, you’re going to have to play a top club on the way to any trophy. Since you will eventually play a big club, then what you really hope for is a home draw. So, the congratulations are not because they drew a top club, but because they drew another home match.
By a strange set of coincidence, that Carling Cup match falls just in front of the home leg of the North London Derby and that game is followed by another home match to AZ Alkamaar in the Champions League. So, if someone was inclined to spend a week and a half in London on a trip, and they wanted to see a maximum number of Arsenal matches, I really can’t think of a better home stand than this. In fact, I’ve looked and this is the best home stand this season and I can’t remember a better chance, any year, for a foreigner to get over and see a Carling Cup, a League Match (Tottenham to boot), and a Champions League match.
If I had the money my flight would be booked right now!
Back in a minute…
Well, crazy match results today. 6-1 to Liverpool, 5-0 to Tottenham, 3-1 to Wigan over Chelsea, Blackburn over Villa, it’s a crazy day! Arsenal need to take maximum points and gain some space back on Chelsea.
Question of the day, will Phil Brown be back to selling used cars now that his team has only won 2 matches in 29? 9 wins in 44? Ugly!
Oh hey, you can either comment in the traditional manner or use the chat room over to the right. Try it out.
Lineups according to the Telegraph:
Starting for Arsenal: Mannone, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy, Diaby, Song, Cesc, Arshavin, Robin, Bendtner
Bench for Arsenal: Szczesny, Rosicky, Vela, Ramsey, Silvestre, Eboue, Gibbs
Starting for Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Duff, Etuhu, Murphy, Dempsey, Zamora, Andrew Johnson
Bench for Fulham: Zuberbuhler, Baird, Gera, Kamara, Riise, Smalling, Greening
Of course, the Telegraph also has us listed as playing a 4-5-1 so take the fact that Eduardo and Walcott aren’t in the lineup with a grain of salt.
Matt, Denilson should return in early October. It’s a back injury though and we know Arsene’s record predicting returns on back injuries.
Arsenal get us started…
1′ — Arshavin wins a free kick and all the cameras focus on TV5. In the end nothing comes from it, but the threat is there and everyone knows it.
4′ — nervous seconds there as Fulham puts some pressure on our young keeper. He does well to smother and cover.
7′ — Arsenal are starting to find their feet and moving the ball around quite well, still no shots but the right side and Konchesky looks ripe for a plucking. Some injury is forcing a change for Fulham already. Gera on for Duff… Uhhh, Charlie on Facebook predicted Gera would get the first.
10′ — Crap. Gallas and Mannone collide trying to cover a Gera cross. Gallas is down and needs treatment. Come on Willie… I don’t have to remind everyone that SILVESTRE is backup.
13′ — Gallas back on the field, Song back in midfield.
15′ — GREAT SAVE MANNONE! Two saves actually, first off and Andy Johnson header, and then he picks himself up and claws away a second shot. I didn’t think he had it in him. Get in SON!
18′ — Cesc with a wide open shot 10 yards out, blazes it high over the goal. He should have done better, Arshavin was waiting.
20′ — Patient build up from Arsenal, probing passes lead to a 1-2 with Bendtner and Cesc, nipped away by Fulham defender for a corner. The corner doesn’t clear the first defender. Oh my. Diaby needs to show some industry damnit.
Another 1-2 between Cesc and this time Arshavin, looks like Gera got a foot in and cleared the shot, but ref gives a goal kick. Arsenal look really dangerous.
24′ — Bendtner with a shot straight at the keeper.
25′ — Song gives a way a cheap free kick in a dangerous position and Danny Murphy takes a free kick too early and earns a yellow. Song should have done better on the first challenge, it was lazy defending on his part.
29′ — Arsenal getting all the calls at the moment but that’s because Fulham are committing all the fouls! Robin gets a free kick in a dangerous area and just loops it over the goal. Attacking set plays look very poor so far for the Arsenal.
33′ — Arsenal very tidy in the midfield at the moment, Fulham can’t get anything started and are playing route one football at the moment.
36′ — GREAT SAVE MANNONE! Johnson slots in Gera who has a good shot saved by the brilliant Mannone. I have to say that that’s three saves that Almunia might have let in.
41′ — HA! Arshavin gives Clichy the death stare for not getting forward fast enough. Though exactly why Arshaving didn’t have a shot I can’t figure. Fulham are putting two men on Song. Is that a credit to him?
43′ — OK, who is marking Gera? He’s been left wide open to put in crosses all day. He’s got to be someone’s man…
45′ — 3 minutes of added time, is this being played at Old Trafford?
47′ — Well done, Yellow to Zamora for a dangerous tackle. Arsenal are scrambling in front of the Fulham goal — COME ON YOU GUNNERS! Ugh… Fabregas with a SHIT corner followed by a decent attempt. And that ends the half.
This match reminds me so much of the Arsenal of last year it’s not even funny. Arsenal with loads of possession, plenty of chances, and no teeth up front. Meanwhile at the back, the high line is being exposed by a team who couldn’t care less about playing the ball through the midfield. Frankly, the only think keeping this match tied is Mannone’s Man of the Match performance.
For Arsenal’s part we need to find a way to get Arshavin in the game a little more, someone needs to kick Diaby up the ass, the whole team needs to pressure Fulham so that they don’t have time to make the long pass, and Wenger needs to put a marker on Gera who is floating in behind the defense after the first ball over the top.
We can do it. We are the better team but we need to step up all over the pitch and protect our young keeper and Center Backs.
46′ — Second half starts like the first, with Diaby jogging back as Zamora has a wide open shot. FOR FUCK’S SAKE DIABY.
49′ — I do want to mention that whenever Diaby has a nightmare, he scores.
52′ — And that’s all it takes. Cesc sees Robin making a fantastic diagonal run, picks him out perfectly, and Robin finishes low and around the keeper. With his chocolate leg! One-nil to the Arsenal. Now, let’s break this shit open boys.
55′ — This is possibly the best job I have seen from an Arsenal keeper since Seaman had a blinder against the Blades in the 2003 FA Cup semi-final.
62′ — Bendtner takes the ball and turns into Fulham’s non-existent midfield, but his shot is poor and doesn’t bother the keeper. We’ve got to get Arshavin in the game.
65′ — Diaby dribbles across the end line, and I have now officially seen enough Abou for the day. Put on Rosicky NOW.
67′ — Mannone comes and punches on a Fulham corner, continuing his absolute dominance in the box. Rosicky comes on… for Arshavin, meaning Diaby is going to get to stroll around for another 25 minutes.
69′ — HA! The announcer says Rosicky is LIKEANEWSIGNING!
71′ — Rosicky has a shot off a lot of hard work from Robin. Diaby has officially been moved back to the “holding” midfield spot. Lol, I’m pretty sure that’s what he was supposed to have been doing the whole time. Of course as soon as I say that he’s up front having a shot.
75′ — Cheap shot by Andy Johnson “challenging” for a header sends Gallas tumbling and onto his back.
77′ — Diaby caught in possession in our final 3rd and then gives up the stupid foul for a really good chance to Fulham.
HOLY INCREDIBLE SAVE! I am speechless over the performance that Mannone has put in. Andy Johnson has a shot at the near post well saved by the Godfather. No doubt about MotM at this point.
79′ — ho hum, another great save from Mannone of the Match.
83′ — @Kevin, it was Diaby’s piss poor marking on Zamora that left him wide open for the header that Mannone pawed off the line. Robin off, Eboue on .
87′ — Eboue misses a good chance, credit to Schwarzer with the good save.
90′ — 5 minutes of Old Trafford time. Nervous final minutes as Clichy has his traditional moment of madness. At least nothing came from it. Meanwhile Bendtner has missed two good chances in the last minute. All the stuff that everyone complains about!
94′ — Eboue inexplicably dribbles into the teeth of the defense and the result is a good counter by Fulham. Fortunately, nothing comes of it!
96′ — Eboue gets the last “shot” of the game, as Cesc sets him up with a perfect pass, which he predictably screws wide. And that’s it folks: one-nil to the Arsenal.
If you wanted Arsenal to win ugly games, you got your wish today! Anyway, I’ve got to take the family to the fair today so this is me signing off. See you all tomorrow for the Good, Bad, and Ugly.
Have fun tonight!