Arsenal v Fulham
Barclays Premier League
Kick off: January 18, 2014 3.00 PM BST
A wavering performance at times, but an overall deserved 2-0 win. Another fantastic defensive display, and of course in typical Arsenal fashion, moments of attacking brilliance. Here are the player ratings:
Wojciech Szczesny | 8.0: Szczesny was absolutely fantastic today. He played the sweeper keeper role superbly, coming out to claim long balls early. And made a couple of fantastic saves, one against Sidwell in particular standing out. He spilled a ball late on, but was quick to react and pounce on it.
Bacary Sagna | 7.5: Put in some good crosses in the first half, quietened down a bit in the second. Was decent defensively throughout.
Per Mertesacker | 7.75: Yet again the Mertscielny axis was superb today. He went to sleep a couple of times, letting Berbatov and then Bent in behind, but was extremely solid for the most part. He read the game well and I saw him charging into midfield on occasions to cut out dangerous looking balls.
Laurent Koscielny | 8.5: The French centre back was outstanding in many ways today. He made clearance after clearance, a number of good defensive headers, and very importantly put Bent off in the dying minutes to preserve the clean sheet. His passing out of the back was also good.
Nacho Monreal | 7.5: A constant threat and outlet going forward, despite only putting one or two decent balls into the box. Santi’s second goal was a result of a poor clearance off Monreal cross. His defending was adequate.
Mathieu Flamini | 7.25: Nothing spectacular from the French enforcer. Kept his game fairly simple, broke up play and laid the ball off to Wilshere to start attacks.
Jack Wilshere | 7.25: A mixed game from Jack. We saw moments of magic from the young Englishmen, good link up play, dribbling, and he provided the assist for the first goal. He was also sloppy at times though, making the wrong decision, holding on to the ball too long, and not reacting quickly enough after being dispossessed.
Mesut Özil| 7.25: He doesn’t seem to trust himself to shoot at the moment. He played his way into good positions several times, but always looked for the pass rather than the shot, regardless of whether it was on. Once again decent, but not outstanding.
Santi Cazorla | 7.75: (MotM) Despite not being the best player on the pitch, I gave Santi Man of the Match because he stepped up and scored two good goals when we desperately needed someone to do so. Even with his brace today, we are still not seeing anything like the Santi Cazorla of last season. He was involved in a lot of the good work by Arsenal today, but his passing radar is still way off for some reason.
Serge Gnabry | 7.5: Gnabry was one of our more offensive minded players today, driving into space and taking regular long shots. The young German had one of those games where everything was perfect except for the final product. He took players on, got into good shooting positions, and tried to pick out team mates in the box. He needed to keep his position wide at times rather than coming infield, but he is quickly growing into a superstar for Arsenal.
Olivier Giroud | 7.25: Giroud was a great target for the players around him to bounce off today, but he rarely got into good shooting positions. His hold up play was decent, his passing wasn’t the best though.
Lukas Podolski | 7.5: A brilliant impact from the German forward late on. He almost scored from his first involvement, his shot blocked by the defender. And then came close moments later, Stekelenburg pushing a thunderous drive from distance onto the post.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain | 6.5: Was barely on the pitch, but the time he was on saw him miss a good chance at the back post, and put Szczesny under pressure by conceding a needless free kick in a dangerous area. Nonetheless it’s good to see him back from injury, and when fit he gives us a good option.