EPL: Day 14 (Arsenal 0 – Fulham 0 and Chelsea 1 – Manchester United 0)

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Football
November 30th, 2003 • 4:19 am

Mixed emotions today at the top of the English Premier League…

First, a so-called London derby at Highbury with Arsenal on a high after their demolition of Inter Milan in Italy in mid-week in the Champions’ League. Fulham has often been a fun team to watch, especially this year. So it was hard to wish them bad luck against Arsenal. As it turns out, they got all the luck that they needed, with over 20 goals attempts against them by the Arsenal attacking armada. Their goalkeeper was in great form, but Arsenal really should have put at least a couple in the back of the net. It was just “one of those days”, as they say. It was also a remarkably un-derby-like game, with very little physical nastiness on display. Players such as Robert Pirès appeared to be in great form. But it ended in a nil-nil draw just the same… It had been ages since Arsenal had failed to score at home in the EPL — but every record has to come to an end. In addition, it wasn’t really a disappointing performance by them today, as opposed to several games that they won somewhat undeservedly earlier this season. I guess it all evens itself out in the end.

As for the Chelsea vs. Manchester United clash at Stamford Bridge, following the disappointment at Highbury, the best possible outcome for Arsenal was obviously a draw between the two teams, and it nearly happened — had it not been for a somewhat controversial penalty decision against Roy Keane transformed by Frank Lampard. It was also a rather boring game, coming right after all the sterile excitement at Highbury. Neither team played like champions, either past or future. After Chelsea took the lead, I should have felt like encouraging Manchester to come back — but I just couldn’t bring myself to it. And so it ended 1-0, and Chelsea is top of the table, one point ahead of Arsenal and three points ahead of Manchester.

There is still a long way to go, but based on today’s display, Arsenal should take comfort in the fact that they were the most impressive team of the lot, even if they didn’t get the result that they were hoping for.

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