Arsenal once again let a two goal lead slip to eventually draw 3-3 at home to Fulham, the hapless Gunners pressing the self destruct button not once, not twice, but three times, allowing to Cottagers to come away from the Emirates with a more than deserved point. It was an enthralling game to watch, with Arsenal’s inexplicable defensive errors once again costing the team the three points.
However, the game got off to a rather good start, with Giroud and Podolski both scoring, putting us in cruise control. It was obvious that we were leaning back and relaxing after that two goal cushion, once again proving the utter arrogance of the team, letting Fulham come back into the game far too easily. It seems that every player in the club believes that they have some kind of god given right to win games against less fancied opponents, especially at home. This attitude reeks of unprofessionalism and it’s not the first time that we’ve seen such a bottling by the team.
Fulham’s first goal was ridiculous. It was cringeworthy. The way we conceded the corner was utterly stupid in itself, Koscielny immediately losing the ball after Coquelin had won it back. I wanted to laugh, but instead just gaped at how genuinely awful our marking and anticipation was from that particular set piece. I mean, the ball literally landed on Dimitar Berbatov’s smug little head, and it plopped into the goal. Basic, simple stuff. As usual, this goal illustrated Arsenal’s brittle confidence, completely losing their way after being in such a comfortable position, and once again we have to put it down to incompetent defending.
If Fulham’s first goal was ridiculous, the next one was totally unavoidable. Berbatov was released down the right, crossed the ball in, and Kacaniklic (easy for you to say) somehow managed to head the ball down from near the edge of the penalty area, and it should have been a relatively easy save for Vito Mannone – who instead chose to help the ball on into the back of the net. I haven’t been critical of Mannone for his performances so far this season, but if anyone needed one reason why he isn’t of Arsenal class – there you have it. The return of Wojciech Szczesny cannot come quick enough.
And Fulhams third goal was equally as comedic, Arteta trying to waltz out of danger, turning the ball over to Ruiz who eventually went to ground, leaving Berbatov to finish well from the spot.
We did have the chance to win it in the end with Arteta, but let’s not kid ourselves – it was an incredibly harsh penalty. And had he scored it would have been the most flattering of results, masking every one of Arsenal’s inadequacies. A little anecdote if I may – I don’t often go to ground, get on both knees and pray that something I want to happen will. But this was one of those rare occasions, where an Arsenal win was so crucial to the morale of everyone involved in the club, it was absolutely essential that we scored from the spot. Needless to say, I remained on the floor for around fifteen minutes, head in hands, utterly horrified at what Arsenal football club is becoming. I think it’s fairly safe to say that all Gooner’s around the world were in my position, and every single one of us held our heads in our hands in utter dissatisfaction.
And that’s football. You cannot complain about a missed penalty. It’s time for us to get up of the floor, dust ourselves off, think things over, get things into perspective, and… get back down on the floor, and stay there, because there is nothing uplifting about our beloved Arsenal at the moment. There is a problem so deep rooted within our proud club, and it will take an absolute and utter miracle for us to move forward after what has been an emphatically dire start to the season.
The moment from the game which sums up everything that is wrong with Arsenal is when Thomas Vermaelen went to retrieve the ball for a throw. The scores were locked at 3-3 at this time, and it was around the 83rd minute, when the ball went out of play for an Arsenal throw. It was Thomas Vermaelen who trudged over, took about fifteen seconds to get the ball back into play, showing no urgency, no desire, and no leadership at a time when we needed it most. Thomas Vermaelen is the captain of this team. Doesn’t that say it all?
As I said earlier, Arsenal head into games where they are favoured to win, and it is as clear as day that every single player thinks that all they have to do is turn up, make a few passes, we’ll score a few goals, we might concede one but it won’t matter, three points, you beauty. This dire complacency, this rank unprofessionalism perfectly typifies this Arsenal team. If I can briefly go back two year to the Carling Cup final against Birmingham to reiterate my point – all the build up to the game was whether or not our injured captain would be able to come on and lift the trophy after we had won. All the talk was that this cup win would prove to be a springboard for future success, setting the team up to win future trophies. It was an awfully complacent performance from Arsenal, and we all know what happened next.
Arsenal’s performances have been so staggering and bewildering lately, you genuinely have no idea of where we’re at as a team. We concede five goals away at Reading, yet come back and win in extra time. Obviously, this shows that we have togetherness and belief in the squad. Why then, do we continually second guess ourselves like yesterday against Fulham? In the last two games we’ve taken two goal leads and blown them both, something that sides with a desire to win simply do not do. You can talk about character and team spirit and every other cliche but we simply don’t show it on a consistent basis. Arsenal just do not do the basics right.
There were a few good performances on the day by Oliver Giroud and Theo Walcott but ultimately the result overshadows any positive contributions made by individuals. However I will say that Giroud played superbly well, as did Walcott, and surely by now both have cemented a spot in the regular XI.
Arsenal are languishing in mid-table, looking every inch a mid-table side, and there is nothing to suggest that things will be turned around. I remember in a previous article saying that we were slipping faster and faster. We may as well just have fallen over. The players, the fans and Arsenal football club itself are on their knees, with their heads in their hands.
Depressing stuff as usual, hopefully we can turn it around next week against Spurs. I highly doubt it though. I’ll be back to preview the game later on in the week, until then, enjoy your week.
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