Tag Archives: Fulham

Match Report: Arsenal 4 – 1 Fulham

Arsenal (1) 4 Fulham (0) 1
Premier League
Emirates Stadium, Drayton Park, London N5 1BU
Tuesday, 1st January 2019. Kick-off time: 3.00pm

(4-2-3-1) Leno; Sokratis, Koscielny, Mustafi, Maitland-Niles; Guendouzi, Xhaka; Kolašinac, Iwobi, Aubameyang; Lacazette.
Substitutes: Čech, Elneny, Ramsey, Torreira, Lichtsteiner, Nketiah, Saka.
Scorers: Xhaka, Lacazette, Ramsey, Aubameyang
Referee: Graham Scott
Attendance: 59,887

After the debacle of the match at Anfield three days ago, a win today is imperative; nothing less will do. Hopefully Mr. Emery will have used the time wisely to speak to the players and stress to them that their performance in the last match is not acceptable for a club such as Arsenal – it is now obvious that the funds must be made available for the January transfer window in order to bring new blood into the club, and quickly too. Thirty days and counting.

Unfortunately Mesut Özil is missing from the squad today, due to a knee injury; it would be interesting to see how he would perform against Fulham, who at the moment look like relegation candidates, but he joins the ever-growing injury list that includes Nacho Monreal, Rob Holding, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Danny Welbeck. By taking a quick glance at the line-up today, it is indeed rare that both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette take their respective places at the very start of the match, but desperate measures lead to a different throw of the dice somehow. We started the match quite nervously, but under the circumstnaces, it it to be understood these days. Ryan Sessegnon (for the visitors) came dangerously close to opening the scoring, but all doubts and nerves were dispelled on the 25th minute, when Granit Xhaka opened our account with a well-taken finish after some great work by Alex Iwobi, who is continually evolving into a fine professional footballer. What a difference a goal makes! Unlike the match at Anfield, we not only opened the scoring, but today we were determined to hold on to it as well. Our first half play was confident, and before the break, Granit Xhaka almost grabbed his second goal of the day, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette also coming close to scoring as the minutes of the first half ebbed away.

Shkodran Mustafi was substituted for Lucas Torreira, and so the second half began again in earnest. Arsenal’s pressure was impressive, and as such they were rewarded with a goal ten minutes after the restart. Again, young Alex Iwobi was involved, and after some clever inter-play between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sead Kolašinac, Alexandre Lacazette moved into position and ensured that the ball found the back of the net. Amazingly, after referee Graham Scott denied a clear-cut penalty for the home side when Alexandre Lacazette was brought down inside the 18-yard box, Fulham counter-attacked and were indeed fortunate to grab one back when Aboubakar Kamara scored for the visitors. With fifteen minutes left on the clock, Alexandre Lacazette was substituted for Aaron Ramsey and within minutes had scored the third of the day after a shot from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had hit the post, but fortunately Aaron Ramsey capitalised on the rebound. Of course by now we were in total command, and as soon as Alex Iwobi was substituted for Bukayo Saka, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored his 14th goal of the season, having collected an inch-perfect pass from Sokratis. Three points won, fifth place in the table attained, all in all a good New Year’s Day for everyone associated with the club.

Okay, we got three points, but there were some pretty hairy moments along the way, particularly in the first half. The defence still looks wobbly and Mr. Emery desperately needs top class players to shore up the noticeable gaps at the back; since Rob Holding has been absent with his long-term injury, the defence is extremely porous indeed. Still, January is now here and let’s hope beyond hope that we can sign new players  at some point in the next thirty days. Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as these early days are going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Victoria Concordia Crescit.

Steve

Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon.

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Momentum continues to boost Arsenal

“What an arrogant team selection” I saw someone comment just before kick off on Sunday.

90 minutes later Arsenal had won 5-1.

No Mesut Ozil; Aaron Ramsey, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sokratis on the bench.

I can see why some were a little worried about a “weak” side prior to kick off, but it perhaps showed a lack of faith in the manager who has had a fabulous start to his Arsenal’s career.

I saw some people compare it to an Arsene Wenger-era line up. This baffled me. Wenger is gone. Support the new regime. The new team.

The reality of the starting XI was it only 3 or 4 players shy of its strongest line up (depending on if you think Ramsey is in the strongest XI).

Ozil was out with a back strain, and Aubameyang and Ramsey both also missed mid week (there has been a cold flying about). Sokratis has also been managing a slight knee injury that he picked up against Everton a couple of weeks ago.

So the XI that Emery put out was the strongest, fittest XI available.

The fact that the side brushed away an albeit poor Fulham side without key players shows the confidence flowing through the side right now. And it is not just the first team that is riding high.

Momentum is such a big thing in sport.

At the weekend Lewis Hamilton won the Japanese Grand Prix. It was his 4th win in a row. Meanwhile Sebastian Vettel finished 6th, and has failed to make the top 2 in the last 4 races. It puts the British driver in a position where he could win the title at next race at Austin.

Hamilton has all the momentum, Vettel has none of it.

Arsenal are similar at this moment in time. We are not particularly playing much better than last season, but the momentum is with the side, leading us to 9 wins in a row.

Last season, conceding just before half-time to go in at 1-1, we would have capitulated in the second half. Just like we would not have hung on against Cardiff, Newcastle and Everton to take the victory. But winning breeds confidence, and the momentum that go’s with that is as important as any tactics and motivational pre-game speeches.

8 games into the season and we sit in 4th place; just 2 points off top.

Up next is a two week international break. Hopefully this does not break our momentum. When we return on October the 22nd, it will be Leicester at home, a good opportunity to make it 10 wins in a row. Sporting, Crystal Palace and Blackpool in the League Cup follow that before a home game against Liverpool.

That Liverpool game will really show where we are this season and what we can expect. Win, and we can start looking higher than top 4. Perhaps not fully in the title race as Manchester City look fantastic, but certainly in the race to be “best of the rest”.

Lose and the media will jump on top of us. Point out that our 3 games against the top sides have ended in defeat. Our target then realistically is 4th.

If we can go into that Liverpool game still on the coat tails of Manchester City, we will still be brimming in confidence.

What we are learning in recent weeks is that we need to trust the new manager. We need to trust his team selection. And we need to trust that he knows what he is doing.

Remove the negativity of years gone past and jump aboard the new Arsenal train. We are a club going places.

It feels good being an Arsenal fan again.

Keenos

Match Report: Fulham 1 – 5 Arsenal

Fulham (1) 1 Arsenal (1) 5
Premier League

Craven Cottage, London SW6
Sunday, 7th October 2018. Kick-off time:12.00 noon

(4-2-3-1) Leno; Bellerín, Mustafi, Holding, Monreal; Torreira, Xhaka; Mkhitaryan, Iwobi, Welbeck; Lacazette.
Substitutes: Martínez, Sokratis, Ramsey, Guendouzi, Lichtsteiner, Aubameyang, Kolašinac.
Scorers: Lacazette (2), Ramsey, Aubameyang (2)

Referee: Paul Tierney
Attendance: 25.401

Good to visit the newly-promoted Cottagers again after a four year hiatus when they lost their Premiership status at the end of the 2013-14 season after a series of unfortunate results. Of course, older supporters will remember their salad days when Johnny Haynes and 1966 World Cup winner George Cohen graced their ranks; and it is not to be forgotten either by those of us who both know and care when star striker Ronnie Rooke was signed from the West London club at the grand old age of 35. Not only did he help Arsenal keep their First Division status in a difficult season, but more importantly, his 33 goals in 42 matches (which is still a post-war record that holds firm today) propelled us to our sixth championship win in eleven peace-time seasons back in 1948. Indeed, his amazing overall goalscoring tally of 70 goals in 94 matches is surely one that our modern strikers should rightly aspire to.

Despite the absence of Mesut Özil from the team today due to a back spasm, the omens looked good for us in this autumnal Sunday lunchtime by the Thames in leafy SW6, and sure enough everything started off looking as a typical London derby should look to us all. At first The Cottagers looked confident on the ball, but they appeared to have no final product, therefore Bernd Leno had no particular issues in dealing with the shots that came his way in the first quarter of an hour or so. Slowly the tables were turning. Our midfield men were starting to pick up the Fulham stragglers that were hanging around looking for spare balls that never came their way, and within no time at all we left our mark on the match with a superb goal of movement that involved speed of thought and action. Alex Iwobi collected the ball on the left, slotted it to the overlapping Nacho Monreal who wasted no time in getting it across to the waiting Alexandre Lacazette, who held off the Fulham defender, span around and put the ball in the back of the net in the space between the goalkeeper and the near post. We then started to dominate the match; but unfortunately an error in midfield led to Fulham bringing the scores even just before half-time. Within five minutes of the restart, Alexandre Lacazette got his second of the match with an absolute peach of a goal that came about from a botched throw-in from the home team. Lucas Torreira won the ball, placed it high for Danny Welbeck to nod it down into the path of Alexandre Lacazette, who struck it sweetly for 20 yards into the back of the net. And from then on, it was Arsenal all the way home. Aaron Ramsey and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were the substitution pairing after the hour, and the game changed yet again; Aaron Ramsey arguably got the goal of the game after a series of clever headers and neat flicks from his team-mates found him just outside the six-yard box and he nonchalantly himself flicked the ball past the goalkeeper into the net. Now the turn of our other star striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. He collected the ball from a cross by Hector Bellerín, pirouetted and smashed our spherical friend into the net for Arsenal’s fourth of the day. After more sterling work in the midfield, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang got the final goal of the day, with a low shot into the corner of the net. Fulham 1, Arsenal 5. Nine wins in a row, six in the Premiership. Wow.

At last, the genie is out of the bottle, as the real Arsenal have finally stepped up to the plate with style and class. Utterly ruthless, this is the mark of performance that we need to see from now on. Every man played their part, every man was well drilled and completely professional. So many great performances across the pitch, it is almost impossible to pick out an outstanding player, but it has to be said that Alexandre Lacazette was immense today. He was coming back to assist in midfield, collecting the ball in the channels and running with oppostion defenders taking them out of position for his colleagues to have a chance to shoot at the goal; a wizard, a true star. A message for the Premiership; Arsenal are back. Be scared, be very scared. Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as these early days are going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners.

Victoria Concordia Crescit.

Steve