Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Arsenal 1-1 Fulham...It'll Have to Do

It proved a frustrating night for the Gunners as goals from Thomas Vermalen on both ends saw the Cottagers escape Emirates with a point.  The draw has checked the progress of Arsenal's upward gait but all things considered, it could have been worse.

Arsenal controlled the pace early on, with Arshavin netting an offside goal around four minutes.  Dempsey & Co. countered with efforts of their own and the Fulham midfield proved bullish on the evening.  Walcott soon ignited a burst of pressure from the hosts but the Cottagers were able to cope.  A Fulham strike five minutes from time forced a full-stretch save from Szczesny and Arsenal responded with a ball headed just wide at the half.  It was not convincing football from Gunners and the visitors began sniffing for all three points, discontent with the prospect of sharing them.  

The American nearly found the net ten minutes after the break but Dempsey's touch was weighty.  Van Persie leveled a good cross on the hour but a tight defense soon scurried it away.  The midfield tangle had abated and Fulham found themselves a goal to the good, thanks to a ill cleared ball whiffed right into the net by Vermalen.  The Professor shifted to attack mode and curious fans were left wondering what could have been as Schwarzer greedily quenched several good chances by the Gunners.  Santos had been a touchline threat all evening and at 80 minutes combined with Gervinho to supply the resident Dutch wonder.  Surprisingly, Van Persie's trademark touch had abandoned him tonight and he hacked the ball skyward.  Encouraging signs at least, and a goal to follow.  The persistent Walcott lifted a powerful cross that smacked clean off the face of Vermalen besting Schwarzer in the process.  It was a villain to hero performance for the Belgian whose countenance glowed red even after the final whistle, attesting to the ferocity of Walcott's cross.  Arsenal should've been awarded a penalty in stoppage time as an obvious handball in front of goal was casually dismissed.  Such was the quality of officiating on the night, but the Arsenal pressed the offensive to the final whistle.  It wasn't enough and the Gunners were forced to settle for a point a piece, Fulham at least earning their share of the spoil.  

No time to sulk, its two games a week til Christmas and the Gunners go toe to toe with Man City in the Carling Cup.  Next is a trip to Wigan in the League on Saturday.  A feverish pace, but thats how it is in the quest for four different trophies.  Come on you Gooners!!  Teach Mancini's men a thing or two!!

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