PMR: Arsenal vs Fulham (H) - Arsenal’s Mistakes eclipse impact subs!
With a promising line-up, with Trossard in front and Kiwior in defence, everything else remained the same, yet poor performances eclipsed us. Arsenal are into the record books for conceding three separate goals in under 1 minute at their last three home matches in one calendar year. It’s certainly not a record we want, and I’m sure everyone would agree that this needs to stop. If our start last week against Palace was electric. Our game against Fulham had an opposite start. What should have been a dominant win at Home became a 2-2 draw with a bittersweet taste of defeat. A mistake on the pass back to White, Saka made an error, and the pass landed in front of Pereira, who carried it forward, narrowly beating Ramsdale for a goal. Fulham were 1-0 up at Emirates, giving them an early lead, which meant we played catch up.
Was that one little mistake by Saka enough to put us in a downward spiral? No, cause if that’s the case, he converted the penalty into a goal, which should have been our redemption story. It kick-started a chain reaction, which nearly got us the win, but my answer is no overall. Our downward spiral resulted from poor team performance. For those who have not seen the game, I urge you to catch up to understand what I mean. Did we deserve to win? Yes, if we were to judge by our last 20 minutes of the game. If we were to judge by the first 60 minutes, the stats wouldn’t matter because we were not up to the mark.
With a bold line-up and though it wasn't a valiant effort, we could have gone up by 3-4 goals, especially when Fulham went down to 10 men after Bassey was booked twice in the game. There were too many individual efforts, but none seemed to matter. Ødegaard did his best, but it wasn’t enough to put it past through Leno. He had a solid performance against us. It was almost as if he had figured us out. Too predictable. Judging by individual efforts, Havertz and Trossard had a poor game, and The German should have done better, with a couple of crucial missed opportunities. Had he converted, we would have walked away with 3 points.
Now, on to the positives. Stats were in our favour; there were 19 shots taken by the team, 11 of them on Target, some tremendous long balls to Martinelli, but the left side didn’t click, Martinelli and Havertz struggled to get along. We became too predictable. Trossard was subbed off at half-time as he struggled for Eddie, who, along with Fabio, was our impact Substitution. Most of our play originated from the right side of the field, but the predictability meant that Fulham's defence had managed to stop our attacks.
Arteta made early substitutions, and the 56th minute saw Zinchenko come on for Partey, whose impact on the game as an RB player didn’t flair out so well. He was good but not on point. Fabio was subbed on for Havertz, who, along with Trossard, had an unforgettable afternoon. Havertz looked dejected as he sat down on the bench. Still focusing on the positives, the last 20 minutes mattered, and for a second, I thought we would win this. At the 70th-minute mark, I told myself, it's on now, Arsenal is back. Boy, we nearly had them. Thanks to our impact, Sub Fabio who won us a penalty. When he was brought on, you could see a sense of purpose on his face, and he had his game face on. He had already made a difference in his mind, so he did on the field. A reckless challenge on Vieira inside the box saw us get a Penalty. Determined to correct his mistake, Saka converts the penalty by slotting the ball into the bottom right corner. The score was now level, and Arsenal and Emirates fired up.
Two minutes later, Eddie put us in the lead, a beautiful cross from Vieira into the box. Eddie was surgical with his finish, outstretched past the keeper, and he made no mistake. Fantastic assist from Vieira. Today, Vieira outshone some of the players and made a difference. He only goes upwards from here. Maybe he will start soon for us. While we scored, there was a skirmish as Bassey was down throughout the counter. Arsenal played and scored. Referee Paul Tierney didn’t stop the play. This meant Fulham players and manager were frustrated, and a couple of Yellow cards were shown.
Eddie’s goal gave us the lead we needed, and we should have gone for the 3rd. We were going for the counter when Bassey was booked by the referee for stopping the counter. He was already booked earlier in the first half, and a 2nd booking meant he was now shown a Red Card and off the field. This should have made things easier for us, but it did not; our performance overall suffered today, even a fantastic shot by Vieira (reminded me of the shot Rooney took) flipping around a powerful strike (picture at the bottom). Sadly, Leno was able to save it.
87th minute and Palhinha levelled it for Fulham. A mistake from Zinchenko saw us lose the ball, and Fulham got a corner, a perfect cross into the box, and the ideal first touch meant Ramsdale had no chance to save this one. 2-2, and even with ten men, Fulham could hold us onto a draw.
There were mistakes on individual levels and team levels. We had already given away the Clean Sheet. We allowed Fulham to press us in the first half, and we were giving away the ball far too often rather than controlling it. Our passes were not accurate. Fulham's press forced us into errors.
The Fulham corner, which resulted in a goal, shouldn’t have happened. Arsenal should have better defended that. Our back line seemed weak in this performance. Something is wrong, but a back line that was strong last season and one of the reasons why we were able to stay dominant for 32 game weeks and challenge for the title suddenly struggles to hold itself seems wrong. We miss Gabriel in the backline; he and Saliba elevate our game.
Yes, individual performances did impact our game. The miss from Kai and poor midfield performance did impact our game, something Arteta would stress upon back in training, and I hope we see a different Havertz vs United now. Does he start for us or come off the bench next week? It is yet to be seen. But TrustTheProcess, the comments and opinions against Kai are pretty harsh. Yes, you would have spotted me screaming at Kai when he missed the opportunity for a goal. It originated from a beautiful cross from Saka into the 6-yard box. But I am confident in his ability to deliver for us. Hey, he wears our shirt. I have got his back.
There were opportunities to keep a clean sheet in this game, but sadly we could not. But we still have 17 more chances to go. Should we wallow them away just because Match Day 3 didn’t go as planned, or shall we aim to dominate the match next week against United and keep a clean sheet, which would add to our confidence?
Add to that, covering up our goal difference. We missed the opportunity to cover up our goal difference, but WK 4 against United, one can hope to take them head-on and hopefully repeat the result they had against Liverpool last season. What a morale boast would that be for us? One can only imagine, but protecting our Goal Difference and keeping clean sheets at the Emirates is becoming crucial.
To conclude: Should we raise questions at Arteta for this performance? Shall we point fingers at the players? I would say none. Let's put this down to poor execution. There is a difference, and it’s not like they woke up yesterday, and Arteta decided this is the system we play with and went clueless. If Arteta is changing the system and being bold, credit him. After all that man has played in our shirt, he knows the pressure and what needs to be done. If this system started working tomorrow, we would sing the Super Mik Arteta Song. The match's outcome resulted from poor execution, too many mistakes and individual errors and maybe some fractures in the system, which Arteta would work on in training. I reiterate I am not technically sound yet, but I TrustTheProcess and our manager. If he feels he needs to change the line-up and style of play, I back him. Whatever he decides, we support him.
This week, he will find a solution and determine what went wrong. All I ask from the Gooners is to back our manager. Yes, it’s frustrating, but your frustration does not help the team. But I leave your reactions to you. This is my piece, and that’s how I feel. I hope we have Big Gabi back in the squad. For now, this was a damage limitation. I see it as two points dropped. Moving on, I want us to control the narration. 17 more clean sheets to get. Let’s aim for that and be our Best against United. COYG.
Until Next Time | Up The Arsenal
Live Long & Prosper🖖