Fulham (1) - (0) Arsenal
Craven Cottage, London
What can you say about that? Arsenal just didn’t turn up - and make no bones about it, Fulham were nothing special this afternoon.
It was agonising to watch.
You can only hide the cracks for so long and Eboue and Denilson in central midfield is just pathetic when you think of a club of Arsenal’s stature. We lost 3 games last season and still didn’t win the league, so losing a game so early in the season really is a bitter pill to swallow.
There are so many issues which will once again come up among Arsenal fans. Is Arsene the right man to take Arsenal forward? Why haven’t we added to a squad which is so obviously threatbare? Why did we let go of Gilberto when we so badly need him? The questions go on and on.
Only the most optimistic Arsenal fan would think we could win the league this season.
I’ve always been hopeful of this season, and like most of you believe in Arsene Wenger. But when you see a performance like this so early on in the campaign you can’t help but feel depressed. We’ve brought in Silvestre (who funnily enough is injured until mid September) and we’re waiting on a new midfielder.
The problem is Arsenal need more than one extra player.
Today at Fulham, a slow start was taken advantage of and the home side took the lead on 21 minutes. Literally seconds before, Nasri setup Arsenal’s best chance of the game which Van Persie blasted wide. A defining moment in the match - you can get away with substandard performances if you get the three points but this afternoon we weren’t at the races at all.
For the goal, captain William Gallas let Hangeland go to easily score from 4 yards out. A shocking bit of defending and no doubt he’ll be blaming his teammates for that mistake.
Arsene will blame the international week as usual, but the squad is his responsibilty and our central midfield was a nightmare. I wouldn’t expect Wigan to field a midfield like that nevermind Arsenal Football Club. The hub of the team wasn’t there and the last time I’ve seen Arsenal pass so badly and perform so poorly was against Sheffield United away a couple of seasons ago.
We laughed about Manchester United being a one man team after they only drew with Newcastle without Ronaldo last week but without Fabregas we are ten times worse. We are weak. We coped when the little spaniard was out for a few games last season but at this moment at time we just can’t go on.
Arsenal stuggled last season with injuries at important times in the campaign and you would think that would give Arsene a wake up call. Obviously that hasn’t happened and we already trail Liverpool by 3 points only a week into the season.
A lot more questions than answers after this performance and result.
Player & Manager Ratings
Manuel Almunia: 7/10
Apart from the goal and the chance from Zamora, didn’t have anything to do. Couldn’t be blamed for the goal since his defence left him completely exposed.
Bacary Sagna: 7/10
Once again gave everything for the team. Never stopped running up and down the flank and couldn’t have given any more. Delivered a fantastic cross for Adebayor’s header which hit the post. Let down by the poor performance from the majority in red today.
Kolo Toure: 7/10
Was hardly exposed and coped well this afternoon. Made an excellent recovery tackle on Zamora in the first half which could have been costly.
William Gallas: 4/10
Talks the talk but disappointed again today. Let Hangeland go for the first goal with virtually a free shot at goal from 4 yards out. Needs to take more responsibility as captain but I only ever see him having a go at the younger players. Learnt from last season? I don’t think so.
Gael Clichy: 7/10
Full of running again and put in some good crosses and made some important tackles. Like Sagna was playing as a winger in the second half.
Theo Walcott: 6/10
Looked bright at times but wasn’t given much service. Needs to be more confident and take on defenders with his pace. Replaced by Bendtner on 62 minutes.
Very poor in the middle. Gave the ball away far too many times and couldn’t get his game going at all. Struggled alongside Eboue and couldn’t impose himself on the game.
Emmanuel Eboue: 6/10
Asked to play in the middle which shows how desperate we are numbers-wise this season. Did okay considering he’s playing out of position but times are bad when Eboue is in central midfield. Why on earth did we let go of Gilberto?
Samir Nasri: 6/10
Suffered from the teams overall poor performance. Looked bright in spells taking on a few players but had nothing to target. Too many times had the ball but no-one would show for him.
Robin Van Persie: 5/10
Another player who couldn’t get into the game. Involved in the defining moment of the game when he missed a golden opportunity to give Arsenal the lead. Moments later Fulham scored and you know the rest. Had several decent freekick positions but failed to test the goalkeeper once.
Emmanuel Adebayor: 6/10
Tried to get involved more in the second half but with no service struggled to be any sort of threat. Had a decent header hit the post in the first half but ineffective after that.
Arsene Wenger: 5/10
Will point to the international break as the reason we dropped points but the fact is Arsenal’s squad is so thin. Emmanuel Eboue in central midfield? Times are desperate and we all know Fabregas is out injured but the thought of Cesc playing alongside either Eboue or Denilson sends shivers down my spine. The performance was terrible and Gallas is not a leader - sometimes I think he’s just at Arsenal to pick up his wages.