A well deserved draw for Fulham will be considered two dropped points for Arsene Wenger’s men as the gunners couldn’t capitalise on plenty of second half pressure with Vermaelen netting both goals at each end of the park.
With the win in midweek against Dortmund, a few questions were raised about fatigue and it was a little surprising to only see two changes to the side that faced the Germans with only Arshavin and Djourou getting the call-up. It leaves you wondering how the likes of Park, Benayoun and Oxlade-Chamberlain are ever going to get their chance.
It is a shame to say though that when talking about the displays of the two players that got their chance only one produced a good performance. Andrei Arshavin was playing exceptionally in the first ten minutes of his performance, but for some reason or another he just became anonymous and never got back into the game. Given a rare chance I expected the little Russian to show his worth, but this performance only raises more questions about his hunger and credentials as a Arsenal player, which is a real shame to say.
On a positive note though, I was pleasantly surprised with Djourou’s performance. With Koscielny most likely rested due to fatigue, it was great to see the Swiss international take his chance and bounce back well after his dreadful performance against Chelsea. Was defensively solid on the flank and even surged forward on occasions. Was extremely unlucky not to score with his header and overall repaid the faith Wenger put in him.
While only a draw, looking on the positive side at least it extends our unbeaten streak and hopefully doesn’t stifle our momentum after five consecutive Premier League victories. We look forward to midweek now as Arsenal go up against heavyweights Manchester City in the Carling Cup and look forward to seeing what team Arsene Wenger puts forward in our quest for silverware.
on the result…
The positive again is that we have shown exceptional spirit, desire and refusal to lose the game. Many players were on the fringe today and we had not completely digested the Champions League game on Wednesday night. We needed to dig deep.
The circumstances went against us on top of that because when Fulham scored I didn’t see them crossing the halfway line too much in the second half. It was very unfortunate to be 1-0 down but we refused to lose the game can came back to 1-1. It’s disappointing because we dropped two points but at least it keeps our unbeaten run going.
on the late penalty shout…
Honestly I didn’t see it, I will have to look at it again. I felt the referee was in a good position, I don’t know.
on converting just the one chance…
Maybe [it was down to] the sharpness of the mind, mental fatigue and a bit of physical fatigue as well. We haven’t recovered completely from the Champions League game – that happens sometimes. But we still had the potential to win 1-0 and if not 2-0 because early on in the game we could have scored. Maybe once or twice we were offside when we should not have been. We also lacked a bit of accuracy in our passing.
on Thomas Vermaelen’s eventful afternoon…
I believe he scored unfortunately [at his own end] – left-footed players many times refuse to play with their right foot. But he has shown enough character to come back and score a great goal. On crosses he is very good, he reads the ball well. Overall he had a very good game.
It’s unfortunate to drop two points today because overall I thought we did enough to win it.
on circumstances in the game…
It was the type of game where you didn’t want to be 1-0 down. We scored an own goal at 0-0 at a moment where it was all us. If we went into the final 20 minutes at 0-0 we had more chance to win the game than lose it. You feel that scoring two would have been difficult today.
Djourou Mertesacker Vermaelen Santos
Walcott Van Persie (c) Arshavin
Wojciech Szczesny | 7.0: Although it was a quiet game for the young Pole, when he was called into action he made great saves especially from Dempsey’s strike
Johan Djourou | 7.0: This performance was a good confidence booster for the Swiss defender. Had a good black early in the match and was defensively solid. Was very unlucky to not get on the score-sheet with a great header.
Thomas Vermaelen | 6.0: An uncharacteristic performance by the usual solid centre-back. Was beaten too easily a couple of times in the first half and perhaps should have used his right foot to clear for his own goal but responded well with goal to equalise in the 81st minute.
Per Mertesacker | 6.5: It was a solid performance from the tall German who was substituted in the 68th minute after Arsene decided to go all-out attack.
Andre Santos | 7.0: Started well but was at times looked suspect against Bryan Ruiz and in turn got a yellow for diving in. On attack though the Brazilian was always comfortable putting in good crosses and always making himself available going forward.
Alex Song | 6.5: Did very well to screen the back-four but was guilty of giving away possession to cheaply on some occasions. Should work on rectifying this in coming weeks.
Mikel Arteta | 5.5: It wasn’t his passing game that took centre stage today but his tracking back and interceptions. I feel the Spaniard is starting to show signs of tiredness and may need some rest in the coming weeks.
Aaron Ramsey | 5.5: It is a shame the young Welshman can’t finish the great opportunities he gets himself into. A bit wasteful today and will look to improve his finishing.
Theo Walcott | 8.0: It is great to see the Englishman consistently performing at a high level. Made a number of great runs and crosses and terrorised the Fulham defence all night. The one to provide the cross for Arsenal’s goal but overall wWill be disappointed to not get more that one assist after producing such great service to his team-mates.
Andrei Arshavin | 5.0: It was a shame the little Russian didn’t continue his fine start in the opening ten minutes. Raises questions over his credentials with the January window looming.
Robin van Persie| 6.5: The run had to end sooner or later. Solid performance from the Dutchman who had a shot cleared off the line and was heavily involved in Arsenal’s late rally.
- Notable Substitutions