Monday, May 10, 2010

Arsenal 4-0 Fulham: Third place secured, frustrating season put to bed



by Rachid

The performance we've been looking for since losing the Barcelona game in March finally came yesterday. You could say we went up against a makeshift Fulham side that couldn't care less about playing yesterday because their focus was squarely on Wednesday's Europa League final but it's the result that's important. A win was needed to secure third place and a solid 4-0 win is what we got. It was a game where we still missed important faces but managed to put on a performance that you'd expect from us at full strength.

We started the match pretty gung ho and apart from an error on Fabianski's part early on where he came out to claim a loose ball and dropped it in the area, the first half was all about Arsenal attacking the Fulham goal. The opener came in the 21st minute when Mark Schwarzer uncharacteristically left his goal to collect a backpass but was beaten to it by Andrey Arshavin. The Russian skipped over him, went down by the byline and saw van Persie begging for the ball just in front of the goal mouth. He decided to ignore him and continued from the tight angle and slammed the ball into the net after a deflection off John Pantsil. If he'd missed that chance van Persie would've had every right to be pissed off but it just goes to show how sure Arshavin is of his ability. You could even argue that that was perhaps an intent to silence his critics who have labeled him as lazy lately. There was certainly no laziness about that goal and the effort he put into keeping the ball in play as it almost crossed over the byline, and all the power he put into the shot to ensure that it would hit the back of the net even if a defender had gotten a touch - as Panstil did.

We doubled our lead not long after as in the 26th minute Sagna played Walcott through into space. Theo looked up and saw van Persie waiting in the box and played the ball square to him. It took him two bites of the cherry to score as the first shot was tipped by Schwarzer unto the underside of the bar but the Dutchman made no mistake in converting the rebound.

Eleven minutes later we were three up. Walcott played the ball in from the right and it went to Eboue. He flicked it on but it bobbled between Pantsil's legs and Chris Baird's unfortunate touch took the ball into his own net.

In the 39th minute van Persie, playing deep, found Eboue. The Ivorian made a simply sublime flick off the back of his heel to find Walcott on the edge of the area. Theo left his marker standing and went through on goal from an angle but only had Schwarzer to beat and put the ball wide of the far post. It would've been an absolutely breath taking goal had he finished it. He won't receive a more perfect pass in his whole career. That would've definitely been one of the Arsenal goals of the season, a definite highlight reel moment missed.

The second half saw Arsenal attacking much like they did in the first half. The final goal came in the 84 minute when Carlos Vela made his way into the box and produced a sublime chip over Schwarzer for his second goal of the season. While watching him celebrate I had mixed emotions. I was happy he scored such an awesome goal but at the same time I was a bit frustrated. Vela has so much technical ability but to be honest, he's failed to take his chances when they've been granted to him this season. I've argued in the past that it's partly due to him not settling in England but after the uninterested performance he gave at Blackburn last week I'm beginning to think the amount of passion needed for him to make it in this team just isn't there. I also wondered if that was to be his last goal in an Arsenal shirt.

The victory meant we secured 3rd place as Tottenham stubbed their toes at Turf Moor against Burnley, losing 4-2. You have to say though that it shouldn't have come down to this. It would've been unthinkable for Spurs to finish ahead of us and the fact that we found ourselves in a situation where we were in a battle with them for who'd finish higher on the final day makes me a bit disappointed, even though the danger was averted.

The players went on their lap of appreciation but unlike in previous seasons many fans left before it took place and it sends a message to show how displeased Arsenal fans are in general with the way the season ended. It also went a long way in showing the growing skepticism surrounding Arsene Wenger and his ability to lead this team to victory. He'll no doubt have noticed the scantiness of the crowd and realised that he'll be under intense scrutiny this summer to improve the team in all the areas needed.

It means there'll be countless transfer rumours for us to wade through as the summer rolls along and I'll be back on here blogging about the rumours that have some ounce of credibility in them. Also, expect an in depth rundown of the season that was in the coming days.

Oh, one more thing: for all you cunts hoping for Spurs to finish above us...put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Until next time, fellow Gooners, have a good one!

3 comments:

  1. Fair calls in there.
    Great to see Spurs cover themselves in glory.
    Out in the qualifying round to Ajax or like team.

    Transfer time.
    Buffon is the only target I have identified in my mind. Maybe not realistic though.

    I'll keep an eye out for the blogs.
    Go gooooners

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  2. You bring up a strong point. Everyone's acting as though Spurs have actually made it into the group stages when they still have qualifiers to play. No one remembers what happened to Everton at the start of the 05/06 season when they finished 4th. They got bounced out of the qualifiers by Villarreal.

    Now there's a higher chance of it happening to Spurs since Platini removed the seeding from qualifying. I hope they meet the likes of Juventus, Lyon or Valencia when the draw's made. Lets see how they handle such a challenge.

    Yeah my goalkeeper of choice has become an unrealistic target too since he was named in the Premiership team of the year. I'm hearing word we're interested in Diego Lopez. I haven't seen him play yet but from what I've heard he's very good and has pushed Victor Valdez out of the Spanish squad. I'm interested in whether this rumour will be further developed in the coming weeks.

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  3. Unfortunately it would be a world gone topsy-turvey for wenger to sign an ageing player for HUGE money.

    Long story short, I'd say Buffon is a less than 1 % possibility.

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