4 Things We Learned From Arsenal’s Fortunate Win Over Fulham

By on April 21, 2013

Arsenal beat Fulham 1-0 at Craven Cottage on Saturday afternoon thanks to a Per Mertesacker header just before half-time. Here, Arsenal fan ‘Gunner333’ looks at 4 things we’ve learned from the game.

Olivier_Giroud Arsenal

With Giroud suspended, our lack of strikers is exposed

The Gunners went to Craven Cottage with the aim of collecting another three points after a goalless set-back against Everton on Tuesday night. Boss Arsene Wenger decided to rest Jack Wilshere for the game while Lukas Podolski and Thomas Vermaelen were once again among the substitutes.

Arsenal had some half-chances in the opening stages before Fulham went down to ten men when Steve Sidwell was sent off for a lunge on Mikel Arteta ater just 12 minutes.

Despite the man advantage, we struggled to create many clear-cut opportunities but the deadlock was finally broken just before the break when a Walcott free kick met the head of Laurent Koscielny who found Per Mertesacker at the far post and the big German powered home a close-range header.

Not many chances in the second half as Arsenal seemed to be playing with the ‘handbrake’ on and Fulham couldn’t make the most of their chances. Olivier Giroud joined Steven Sidwell for an early bath when he was sent off in the final minutes, but the Gunners held on to put themselves in poll position to finish in the top four once again.

Here are 4 key positives and improvements for us as we go into the final four games of the season.

1. A goal from a set piece

I’ve spoken in previous games about the need for us to attack free-kicks and use the height advantage of the likes of Giroud and Mertesacker. This was certainly something we did against Fulham as the goal came from an unlikely set piece. There may have been some lack-luster defending/marking from Bryan Ruiz, but we got the vital goal and attacked the ball with venom. Let’s improve the deliveries and I’m confident we’ll see more goals coming from set pieces.

2. Play players where they want to play

Arsene Wenger has a habit of playing players in unnatural positions. Cazorla is among these and once again played on the wing on Saturday. Surely we should get back to playing him through the centre rather than out on the flank, where he’s less likely to create opportunities for the team? Cazorla’s influence is far greater in the centre of midfield, where he’s played the majority of the season, so let’s get him back in there. Giroud’s upcoming suspension also opens the door for Lukas Podolski to be given a run of games in his preferred central striker role, let’s hope Wenger gives him that chance.

3. Defence is clearly improving

We have now only conceded twice in our last 360 minutes of football. The back four looks stronger than ever and was once again able to resist late pressure. In the past we’ve seen an Arsenal back-line buckle late in games, but we look much stronger in defence these days. This is something that will be crucial if we’re to reach the top four this season and we’ll have to be rock solid when United come to the Emirates next weekend.

4. We need more Strikers!!!

It’s clear for all to see that Arsene Wenger needs to invest in a striker this summer. We’ve distributed the goal-scoring burden around the team pretty well this season and it’s lucky we have the likes of Podolski, Cazorla and Walcott to share the load as Giroud hasn’t been reliable at all. The lack of depth up front is now going to be exposed after Giroud’s sending off and we’re left with only Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott as potential replacements, neither of which have played enough minutes through the middle this year. A top quality front man is a must this summer.

Overall, a great result and now we can look forward to Sunday’s action hoping our rivals drop points.

You can see player ratings from the game and watch highlights from the game.

What did you think of the Fulham game? Have your say in the comments section below.

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2 Comments

  1. Arsenal fan

    April 21, 2013 at 11:51 am

    t was indeed a lucky win. Against Mu,I’m afraid the gunners will pay the price for overpassing or ever elaboration.
    The gunners indulge in a series of short passes to reach the box. When confronted by a massed defence they try Barcelona style to thread a ball through often with fatal results.
    I don’t know but when you see how Sunderland scored against Everton,you often wonder why Arsenal can’t or are unwilling to shoot.Until this changes ,they will be unable to beat MU.
    Btw the Sunderland striker was chased by three Everton players and still managed to shoot and score.

  2. Arsenal fan

    April 21, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    Agree with the point players shd be played in their natural position. Wenger has a penchant for playing guys out of position in contrast to other top managers.
    When i read reporst the fm is going to sign youngsters it made me wince.If hee wants to seriously challenge for the trophies next season,surely he must know the gunners need proven quality players. If not I fear for the gunners future.The cl spot is not assured asyet.

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