Report: Arsenal 0-0 Fulham
By Randy Osae
Sorry times in the league failed to see an end today, as Arsenal fired yet more blanks against Fulham.
In three months time, the synopsis of 2008/09 might just bemoan this awkward 0-0 series. Wenger and his side now hardly have lingering hopes of top four status. ‘Ifs’ and ‘buts’ have been and will be all over that fate.
To be realistic, they are very much up against it.
Surprise, surprise, Carlos Vela began a league match off the dug-out and neither was Bendtner foiling Van Persie upfront today. Wenger intended shaking things up to the satisfaction of critical ones at the ground. Arshavin, nearly as tall as Nasri, was a support striker. Frankly, the attacking battalion was of average height.
West Ham and Sunderland had come to the Emirates with shop meanly shut on the trot. That had Wenger seeking a more enthusiastic approach from Roy Hodgon’s often shy travelers today.
Thus, Fulham would give Arsenal some game to defy that concept .
Within minutes after kick-off, Andy Johnson found himself a yard past Arsenal’s defense on two occasions, but he managed to miss inflicting a set-back on the hosts – scuffing both efforts past Almunia and his post.
Fulham were dictating momentum until Arshavin nicked a cross onto Van Persie’s head, but Schwarzer tipped the ball over. Soon after, the Dutchman could have made amends, but fired wide after a slick move between him and Vela had unlocked the visitors’ backline.
The entire Arsenal set-up were pulling strings – especially after the break – but it was always Van Persie who would be in the thick of the action.
He met Nasri’s corner kick well on 53 minutes, but the ball agonizingly floated onto the roof of goal. Indeed, being the tallest among Arsenal’s front-men today, Van Persie was in leaping mood – glancing a header onto Sagna’s cross later on. Fulham’s stopper had been beaten, but the post stood firm to meet the ball.
Make no mistake, the three points were at stake for both teams – not just Arsenal. And Fulham through Johnson and Zamora, proved very worrisome – demanding last ditch tackles and deflections from Sagna, Toure and Gallas to ensure safety from a devastating sucker punch.
Wenger did face the U-turn of reinstating the much-maligned duo of Bendtner and Eboue, but despite their rare endeavors which inspirited the Gunners, nothing could hit.
And so, Arsenal and an opponent canceled out each other yet again.