EPL 2007-2008: Fulham 0 – Arsenal 3

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Football
January 20th, 2008 • 2:40 pm

It was a very good win indeed. If I had to sum up the performance in one word, I woud say that it was utterly “professional”—in the sense that the Gunners had a job to do, and they did it in a perfectly convincing manner, which was required following the loss of two points at home last week against Birmingham.

There is now little doubt that the current top three will all be title contenders this year until the very end. Points will be dropped, but the games that they have to play against each other will probably play the most crucial role.

We are not quite there yet, and in the English calendar the new year always begins with a strange mix of league and cup contests, which can make it hard to build or maintain momentum. But the Gunners had no trouble restoring their utter dominance yesterday with a very convincing win at Craven Cottage.

While it is true that Fulham is a team in very serious trouble, it is also true that they have had their moments, although usually without any end product to show for it (hence their current position). But they did not have any moments yesterday, the disallowed goal being their only shot on target and a very clear offside decision.

Adebayor was obviously the star of the day with his two perfect headers, but I was especially impressed with Clichy, who created the opener, and who completely ruled his side of the pitch. Although he didn’t score, Eduardo was also quite good, with a couple of excellent mazy runs, the second one resulting in the third “cherry-on-the-cake” goal by Rosicky. It showed that he’s more than just a cool finisher, and it’s promising for the rest of the season.

The rest of team had (obviously) a very good day too, although Fábregas still needs to progress to regain his form of earlier in the season. Almunia had absolutely nothing to do, which of course will have pleased everyone with the possible exception of Jens Lehmann.

Speaking of whom, the latest news is that he will stay at the club and continue to fight for his place. I am not sure what this will do to his chances to play for Germany at Euro 2008, but it is obviously good news for the club, because it means that we don’t have to worry about finding a replacement in the middle of the season.

The only disappointing news of recent weeks is the departure of Diarra, who did not even stay six months at Arsenal and elected to move to Portsmouth, of all places, without doing much to convince his new supporters that he really cares much about his new destination. It is a decision that really shows a lack of patience and maturity. Yes, not getting regular first team action at Arsenal right away might have endangered his immediate prospects for the France squad at Euro 2008, but surely he realizes that at 22, he still has a long career ahead of him if he makes the right choices, and Arsène Wenger has a long history of producing top-class French internationals. But he has made the choice, and now he’ll have to live with it, which will probably be much harder than Arsenal having to live without him.

I still hope that Arsène Wenger might sign a winger before the end of the transfer window, but I am not raising my hopes too high. The main priority right now is probably to get van Persie fit again and provide some support on the attacking front. We are doing reasonably well at the moment, but with Walcott still far from being the finished article, we still need a top-class striker such as the Dutchman in our squad.

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