Arsenal Win Swimmingly at The Cottage--The View From South Texas

Discussion in 'Fulham FC News and Notes' started by HatterDon, Aug 24, 2013.

  1. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

    Mar 18, 2006
    Peoples Republic of South Texas
    Arsenal Win Swimmingly at The CottageWell, it took me about five minutes to identify what was falling from the skies in SW London this morning – it’s been a while since we’ve had any meaningful rain, you see – but once I did realize that November had made an early visit to England’s Green and Pleasant Land, I was able to see what was going to be the telling factor in the match. When playing in conditions like that, your keepers and back four are always going to be on unsure footing. Whichever team tried to unsettle the opposing defense early and often was likely to walk away with the three points. The Gunners attacked from the beginning; Fulham didn’t. Fulham lose 1-3 and can have no grumbles about it.

    The thing is that our defense had played a well organized fluent match against Sunderland last weekend, while Arsenal had fallen apart against Villa. The Gunners also had a mid-week “must win” Champions League qualifier and some key defensive injuries and suspensions. With a shaken Sczcesny in goal and Bacary Sagna miscast as a central defender, the stage was set for Fulham to cause a little havoc, but with Dimitar Berbatov apparently unwilling to get into Arsenal’s penalty area, there was little or no pressure on Sagna throughout the match. Arsenal, on the other hand, attacked with width and depth and in waves. Making a series of quick crisp passes each time they appeared in or near the Fulham penalty area, it was inevitable that there would be openings. When Olivier Giroud scored in the 14th minute, it was pretty much all over. Lukas Podolski’s goal just before half time sealed the deal, and Arsenal were then happy to put as many players behind the ball as possible and play for the counter.

    Fulham looked dangerous periodically – primarily through Adel Taarabt and Pajtim Kasami. Playing in a 4-5-1 with the “1” uninterested in playing the spearhead role, Kasami’s aggression and Taarabt’s ball skills kept Arsenal on their toes. This formation is toothless without a relentless front runner, and so – basically – Fulham were toothless all day. The Whites attacked, of course, but the thing is that the only threat they ever possessed was down the right wing with both Duff/Kacaniklic and Riether going forward. This left the back THREE pretty naked, and from a quick counter, Arsenal got their third and Podolski’s second in the 68th minute.

    Scott Parker also had a very promising match. Along with Riether, Kasami, and Taarabt, he would have been a contender for Man of the Match if such things were awarded after a 1-3 home defeat – which they ain’t. I suppose it’s hard to fault Berbatov for his play today. On the one hand, he was content to stay well out of the penalty area on Fulham’s rare attacks – and thus, did not trouble Arsenal’s makeshift and shell-shocked defensive 5 – but, on the other hand, this “tactic” of his seems to be just what his manager wants, so I guess you could say he executed well today.

    My enjoyment of Fulham’s play under Martin Jol has become more aligned with how we play than how many points we win on the day. Martin Jol Sexy Football has still not won me over, but I must say that I was pleased to see us harrying Arsenal’s defenders when we lost possession. Kasami – certainly he wasn’t really the “second striker” today – was all over the pitch, pressuring, winning possession, starting counters. His performance would have been more fruitful had their been someone hanging on the last defender. There wasn’t. But we looked pretty good in the rain. We didn’t make a lot of serious mistakes, but we didn’t take a lot of chances either. Oh, and can we pleasefind one player who can take a free kick?

    Ah, what the hell, two matches = 3 points. Repeat that 19 times and you got 57. On the other hand, last season we lost more matches at home than on the road. So far this season, … well, it’s early days yet.

    No HatterDon Man of the Match. Next up Burton Albion, and can we PLEASE try to get to Wembley? Please?

    Link to article
  2. Clevelandmo

    Clevelandmo Active Member

    Sep 13, 2007
    Re: Arsenal Win Swimmingly at The Cottage--The View From Sou

    Haven't read the view yet because the title was too funny I had to respond to it immediately. Hahahaaaaa. Well done Don
  3. AggieMatt

    AggieMatt Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2008
    Alamo City, Texas
    Re: Arsenal Win Swimmingly at The Cottage--The View From Sou

    Great writing, as usual Don. Ignoring the errors, only disagreed with 2 of your conclusions. Can you really class 3 of the back 4's defending as excellent when we concede 3 goals? And Scott Parker. Thought he was good going forward, but thought he was subpar defensively. That could have been a byproduct of the score and partially by design, but he was jogging back behind the ball a few too many times for my liking.
  4. BarryWhite

    BarryWhite Well-Known Member

    Sep 24, 2011
    Newburgh, IN
    Re: Arsenal Win Swimmingly at The Cottage--The View From Sou

    Nice summary Don. I've been trying to get some perspective on this match and this helps a bit.
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