Arsene in the post match conference talked about how such a late victory could change our season. I really hope it does since we looked pretty ordinary out there against Fulham.
I have seen many matches when Arsenal keep shooting and don’t score. But there was one thing unique to this match. Fulham was creating chances at will, expecially in the second half and hence, we never held the high line in defence that we generally manage to hold just some yards of the half line. There were many instances that the attacks by Fulham, which were essentially on the break, were keeping us close to our D. This is what frightens me the most. And I for one do not think it is a coincidence that goalkeepers come up with great performances against us. If you look at our chances and see the number of shots towards the near post it is astounding. At this level, I don’t think we can expect keepers to be bet at their near post. (Exception- Almunia, especially when he is in Paris)
To the positives, I must say part of our poor performance was probably down to sheer rustiness. Probably this was the first time in his career that Fabregas might have managed to clock passing percentages below 95%. Yet the champion footballer that he is, an inspiring bit of understanding between him and Hleb led to the goal. Rosicky was also looking a bit short on pace which should be rectified with some games into the season. Bendtner was particularly impressive. I think he is a far better target man than Ade. And I am ready to stick my neck out on this. If he and Ade get comparable match time by the end of the season, Nicklas would score atleast 5 more goals than Ade. And a special mention about Hleb. It was not his desire to shoot in the box, but his composure in all the three shots made him look as comfortable as Robert Pires when he was. Hleb’s good performance also means that when Dudu comes back from his niggle they can combine very well as Dudu likes to drop into the wing and Hleb likes to take up the strikers position.
Walcott still does not convince me as a winger. He absolutely runs out of ideas, when he is not in a position to run at the defender. I like him but surely wing play is not something he is cut out for. Go and get Gamst please, Arsene! I am not convinced of Flamini having a position in the team. He is too slight to give us the steel we need to add to our existing creativity in midfield.
I hope we win big at Sparta, so that we are not forced to play a proper first team when they come back home. Here is hoping for ruthlessness instead of Hitchcock thrillers at Sparta.