Sunday, 27 September 2009
Fulham 0 - 1 Arsenal
The game still contained plenty of positives. Zoltan Gera really took hold of the chance to shine by, well, shining. He replaced Damien Duff early in the game and put himself about making lots of tackles, including a key one in defence, and generally looked busy - which is more than he usually does in a white shirt. He could well have played him into the starting 11, which paradoxically means he will probably be dropped for the Europa League game on Thursday.
One of the few Arsenal players I'd not seen before was Andrei Arshavin. He didn't have the best of games after a few tussle with Johnny Paintsil, but he looks so out of place on a football pitch with other adults. The guy isn't just small - he looks incredibly young. It's like the mascot has somehow stayed on the pitch and is getting involved in the game.
The only Fulham player who had an off day is Clint Dempsey and he was closest to scoring, although his shot came back off the keeper's face. Another indication that a game isn't going to go your way. If any of Fulham's front line were as clinical as RvP then all three points would have remained at the Cottage, but as it goes all we have to take from the game is a positive performance and plenty of plaudits in the papers. Quite percussive.
The referee had an odd match. He seemed to give Arsenal every foul they fell over for and his bookings of Danny Murphy and Paul Konchesky were very harsh indeed. It wasn't that dirty a game (although Johnny P was a little wild at times) yet four Fulham players got carded and no Arsenal players did. Very odd.
Fulham now sit just above the relegation zone, although they have played a game fewer than most other teams. Is this a fair reflection on how the team has played? Not really, but they have had games against Everton, Chelsea, Arsenal and Villa already and compared to last season they are two points lighter. Yet they already have an extra two points from Fratton Park compared to last year. The only thing letting the side down was the away game at Wolves, but Fulham didn't exactly shine away from home last season. It's way too early to panic, although a point at West Ham on Sunday would be nice.
Attendance: Me and Ish