Sunday, January 20, 2008

Fulham 0 Arsenal 3 - A walk in the park, a mountain to climb

Last week I took a few people to task on the message boards about giving up on Fulham with so much of the season still to play. Yesterday I realised I was wrong. This was like watching a Sunday football team (in fact a Sunday football team that I could play in) facing Brazil. We were never in it. Arsenal were nowhere near top gear and yet they cruised passed us without raising a sweat. In the past I've been able to enjoy our games against Arsenal, even in defeat I've appreciated their ability to play football, but Saturday was one of the most depressing matches I've seen for some time.

Regular readers will be aware that my eldest, Little Chop Senior is an Arsenal fan. He came along with us and so I watched the first half from the extra seat I'd bought him which was only four rows from the front. It gave a very different perspective of the game. Much closer to the action but more difficult to see the pattern of the game. Despite that it wasn't hard to work out that we weren't having much of the ball. Arsenal passed it around with consummate ease. Fulham struggled to close them down and at times were made to look like school boys chasing shadows. Two crosses from opposite flanks both found Adebayor in the box, where he was able to rise, almost unchallenged, and head home twice to give the Gunners a 2-0 lead at half time. Breda Hangeland, watching from the Cottage balcony will probably surmise from this that it won't take a great deal for him to walk straight into our starting eleven.

I moved back up to my normal seat for the second half, where it turned out there were a few spare seats. It didn't get much better. Jimmy Bullard came on for Steven Davis and, despite being short of match practice and surely not fully fit, managed to completely outshine any other player in a white shirt. We huffed a puffed for a bit. Bizarrely stuck with our five man midfield, with Simon Davies and Seol Ki-Hyeon on the wrong wings and poor old Clint ploughing a lone furlow up front. Nothing came of it, and Roy eventually conceded we needed a change bringing on Healy & Kuqi. At least this should some endeavour but unsurprisingly it was still fruitless. With ten minutes to go Eduardo twisted and turned past Dempsey (now playing right wing) fired a ball back across the penalty area to where a late arriving Rosicky was able to slot home the third goal and put us all out of our misery. LCSr was generous in victory and restrained his obvious glee at the win.


Colin said...

Couldn't help but to think that Hangeland would have been *the* player to have out there for both Adebayor goals. If it were still 0-0 at half time, it might have been a different story...or we might have just lost 0-1.

Chopper said...

We've been shocking at defending balls in the air all season, I'm amazed Arsenal didn't manage to score more via the same ploy. Hangeland is going to walk into this team! I'm not sure we'd have managed a much better result though as we looked so ineffective up front as well. Ho-hum, roll on the F.A. Cup ... not that that's going to be any easier.

Rob said...

two words: soul destroying. i have never felt so despondent during a football match in my life. we were totally outclassed, and perhaps more annoyingly, went down without a fight.

chopper said...

Agree Rob - You were right about us after the West Ham game, we are doomed. I'm just hoping we can get some sort of form together before the end of the season to give us a bit of hope for next season.