Fulham 2-2 Arsenal

How strange. As time ran out on this most odd season, the Arsenal fans got angry. It’s hard to be sure what this was about, but perhaps there was a clue in last week’s ‘lap of appreciation’ at the Emirates, during which the team was booed.

Booed for finishing fourth. What kind of fans are these people? It just seems like simple bad manners, bad form (for an example of good manners I present myself on the 220 bus on the way home: I sat on my seat, stepped on something, then turned round with a sincere apology… to a half eaten corn on the cob on the floor). Something has gone horribly wrong with Arsenal, the beautiful girl who, once so nice, became a bitch.

They were lucky not to have been beaten by an increasingly strong Fulham side. Everywhere you looked on the pitch a Fulham player was winning his individual battle. The defence was in good form (although Wenger really should have attacked young Matthew Briggs more than he did; leaving Walcott out may have been a mistake), the midfield (with Sidwell playing how I like to imagine Graeme Souness might have done in those great Liverpool sides) was every bit as good as it’s illustrious opponent’s, and Zamora was by some distance the best forward on the pitch.

Sidwell it was who scored first, Dempsey combining cleverly with Zamora (who strayed towards the right a good deal today), who squared for Sidwell to score.  Robin van Persie equalised quite quickly with a typically neat goal, but at no point did Arsenal take control, the excellent Wilshere’s efforts notwithstanding.

Fulham scored again in the second half after some more fabulous work on the left by Jonathan Greening. It was great fun to see Greening take Birmingham apart on the flank at half-pace, and here he did it again, twisting and turning before sending over a lovely cross for Zamora to head home. Three assists in two games from our hairy midfielder now: good work that man.

We might have had a few more, AJ scampering clear but again showing that he has lost those vital few yards of pace (pace measured in yards doesn’t feel right but we’ll go with it) required to get in good strikes. Simon Davies nearly scored during a good spell of “bombard the Arsenal defence”, and a few more quick transitions through the midfield might have caused them bother had we been a bit slicker. Briggs might have won a penalty after a fine slalom through the Arsenal defence was ended clumsily, too.

The game turned when Zoltan Gera came on for what might have been his last Fulham game. He had a few half touches then launched into a studs-up challenge that drew a straight red from Martin Atkinson (who had a horribly fussy game but couldn’t say no to this one). From then on Arsenal, with four forwards on the field (not including Nasri) took it to us, and AJ as a lone striker wasn’t enough to make the ball stick.  It was then no surprise when Walcott nicked an equaliser, the heretofore brilliant Schwarzer beaten with a low shot across him.

2-2. A decent end to a decent season. In many ways it’s hard to assess the team’s performance:  it feels like we’ve progressed, but perhaps next term is the time to judge this.  Hughes, by then, will have had the time to really imprint himself on the team, and if the glass is as full as it might be then good things could happen.

18 thoughts on “Fulham 2-2 Arsenal

    1. No-one really knows. There’s a silly story in the Daily Mail suggesting it might happen, which we all know it might, but I have a feeling they might have been erroneously basing that on the disciplinary table, rather than the Fair Play one.
      It would be horribly Fulmish though – the player who helped more than any other get Fulham to the Europa league final, now inadvertently knocks them out.

  1. That’s why fans of the big teams – and Spurs – are always so annoying when they visit: they don’t just hope to win; they expect to. And I resent that.
    Nick Hornby made the point in Fever Pitch – the old fans who watched Arsenal in the 70s and 80s watched because that was what they did, the new ones in the 90s watched because they expected to win something most years, and so would be much more unforgiving of perceived failure. You can argue that that’s stupid – and I would do – but if someone’s paying £2k+ for a season ticket, then they’re going to get angry at 6 years of winning nothing.
    The stats today look great for them – 69% possession apparently – but no-one at the game would claim that they looked a better team than us.

  2. I’ll tell ya why they’re upset: rooting for Arsenal has become the equivalent of rooting the post office. Or the Maple Leafs. Money is continually going in from the fans, but nothing is coming out; just the same cheap crap year after year. And, more importantly, nothing WILL be coming out as long as the powers that be remain in power.

    Arsenal’s big summer signing, (Chamakh, played more horrid than Eddie Johnson) was a flop. Their darling captain missed 50% of the season (or something therein) and yet will moan about moving to Barcelona in a few weeks. They refused to spend more than 4mil on a proven international GK. Their issues heading in to the season are the same coming out. What year is this, 2007?

    Oh, right, back to this match. Really, really should have won it. Hate to have it all end like that, especially for Gera, but this bizarre season has finally come to an end. An eighth place finish, second highest ever, after being one point off bottom 5 months ago? Wow. Simply stunning. All hail Sparky.

    1. A bizarre season? Yes and no. We beat the teams we should have and lost to the teams we should have, and above all we drew. It was our most vanilla-flavoured premier season in that sense, with only a brief flirtation with danger and a single cup tie to ruffle feathers. Emotionally it was closer to flat than roller-coaster. However, it’s no small achievement for a club our size off the pitch to have arrived at such a state on the pitch: the prem average as near as matters. And there’s the big payoff for spectators that the football’s reliably classy. Those with pre-Fayed memories are entitled to pinch themselves and find the overall situation almost unbelievable — bizarre in that sense.

      1. I think it was bizarre in that we seemed to be in genuine trouble at one point, then absolutely flying not long afterwards. Those of you going back to the good old days will have seen this sort of thing to an even greater extent, but it still feels a bit weird.

      2. It’s true there was barely an ‘unexpected’ result all season. The Racing Post publishes a P/L for each team (a level stake to win each match*) and only two teams returned a bigger loss than Fulham – both of those (Birmingham and West Ham) were relegated.

        (*The obvious weakness is that drawing can also be a ‘positive’ result – in Fulham’s case the home matches against Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd – and is not accounted for here)

  3. Back to our game….. Based on a dodgy stream, we looked great whilst Bobby was on the field, except the defence at times nervous. Briggs got done a few times, and, being harsh as I am won’t to be, he was responsible for their second. Though I’d probably blame Gera for the loss of 2 points. Clint was quiet. Dickson again looked like an uncaged animal when he came on – but unlike Gera knows how to channel it. Schwarzer at least 2 world class saves, especially one from a Nasri free kick which was almost miraculous.

    1. Not sure I agree that Clint was quiet. He was a key creator in both of the goals and made plenty of dangerous runs into the box for crosses that were overhit or blocked or just didn’t materialize. I felt he had a solid, if unspectacular game. Sidwell, on the other hand, was like a red headed tornado out there. I like him more and more after each game. I’ll be very annoyed if Fulham miss the Europa over such a stupid challenge in a more or less meaningless game. Fulham fans owe a lot to Gera, but he’s mostly been a disaster this season. Just a few weeks ago, I couldn’t believe how fortunate Fulham was to have Davies back in such form, and now Greening has come on and been incredible as well. Can’t wait to see next season unfold.

      1. Wasn’t Gera sent out there to get the red card that would keep the club out of the Europa League?! A player at the end of his contract whose disciplinary suspension will be of no consequence to the club.

    2. Mike, did you use foxsoccer.tv? If so, holy crap was that awful! It was extremely choppy and then would just randomly skip 3 solid minutes ahead. First time I’ve had a problem with it, but can’t wait to cancel my monthly subscription tomorrow.

      1. No it was some French stream that kept going off to other grounds whenever a goal was scored somewhere else, and managed to be away at another ground for our second goal and the sending off, so take my comments with a grain of salt. Having seen the brief MOTD highlights, Clint was involved in both goals. However, someone, somewhere said he didn’t have a single shot on goal. If correct, that must be a record.

  4. OK – so lets talk the banter about who’s heading out the door. For me :
    From the 25 this year – Gera, Pantsil, Kamara, Johnson (E), Riise, Salcido and I wouldn’t be absolutely gutted if Arsenal came in again for Schwarzer and he wanted to go … for a couple of million.
    As to who I’d like to bring in – I’d be happy to have Gudjohnsen in the squad and bring Konch back into the fold. Other then that not really sure who’s available…

    1. Scott Parker’s available? Need back-up for Danny Murphy. A cheaper alternative might be Mark Davies of Bolton. Every time I see this guy he impresses with the quickness of his play (touch and pass); surprised he ended up out of the Bolton side again at the end of the season.

      1. Doubt Parker would be willing to come here to back up Danny…I would think if Scotty were willing to come over, he’d start with Danny coming off the bench (and yes, I understand the ramifications of putting your captain on the bench!). Although they both have had their share of nicks the past few years, you’d have two gentlemen to pull the strings at the ready at all times…of course if they aren’t both injured at the same time!

        O’Hara may be the better option there, and maybe Bradley if he doesn’t head off to Roma.

        1. I’d love to see Bradley wind up with Fulham. I’ve enjoyed Gera and Pantsil’s time here, but agree that it’s time to move on. Salcido has grown on me throughout the season – more confidence going forward, fewer defensive stumbles – but he’s another one that if they find a replacement for, I wouldn’t complain.

          Really hope Sidwell is back. Wouldn’t mind Gudjohnsen on the bench either, though I definitely prefer the Zamora/Dembele combination to start. Do we need to find another pace bench player to replace Johnson?

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