Fulham Preview: All Round Improvement Targetted

Fulham arrive at The Emirates today, facing an Arsenal side bouyed by their European adventures. Not that you would realise it with the negativity in the broadcast media, punditry apparently reaching its nadir. Which is why nobody should listen to stations such as Talksh*te who thrive and exist purely to create attention for themselves. Despite knowing this, you still do but hey ho. From what I have read about the comments, they have been making their print colleagues appear lucid and information. How low can you go?

It is the 83rd meeting between the two teams across all competitions, major and minor. Fulham have three victories at Arsenal, all in WW1 matches. Not a good record. Indeed they do not seem to like this part of North London at all; of the 25 senior matches, they have 3 draws with 22 defeats. Even in Arsenal’s dark days of the early to mid-60s, Fulham couldn’t win at Highbury. It is that sort of feelgood record that makes this match seem a straightforward occasion. One ripe for over-confidence. That, to me, is Arsène’s biggest test this evening.

Not that there is a hint of that from Andre Santos. In a Daily Express interview this morning, he speaks of the half-time at Stamford Bridge,

I sat down in the corner of the dressing room at half-time against Chelsea and thought about that. I focused on the fact I must be better. I thought about it and decided, ‘I have to go back and play much better’. Things have definitely got better for me since then and I am still trying to improve.

It is that sort of attitude we could have done with senior pros showing last season. It didn’t happen and it is a relief almost, to read an Arsenal player showing self-awareness without it seeming to be a soundbite. Wenger emphasised that this is the squad attitude,

I believe what turned the season around is the excellent attitude and mentality of the players. The players who came in have all shown excellent desire to do well and the right focus. That was the real turning point. I was always optimistic because every day the players wanted to improve. When you have that in the dressing room you have a chance.

He has never been slow to praise the mental attitude of previous squads but this time there seems to be more substance to it. The love-in since Dortmund has been fine and goodness knows that the squad is entitled to feel bouyant having turned the season around relatively quickly.

Santos’ comments identify a key aspect of that turnaround; desire. It is burning into their souls how quickly the club was written off as Arsenal hovered above the relegation zone after few games were played. Nobody, it seemed, believed that the squad was good enough to turn things around. Defeat this weekend for Chelsea and/or Manchester City will see them cement their positions as the Premier League’s crisis clubs. Already the heat is on Villas-Boas, especially with Abramovich’s public backing. The difference between the Chelsea manager’s Press Conferences and those of Wenger highlight the reality of both club’s philosophies. The media tried to get Arsène to put his own head on the block; Villas-Boas is being dragged there, kicking and screaming.

To end the day in the top four would require some outlandish luck but in a season of freakish results, Arsenal need to ensure that they win their matches to take full advantage. They have the personnel to do so, with more luck the small positive goal difference achieved might be larger. That is something of a concern; who scores if van Persie doesn’t? Gervinho is being targetted as that man and whilst there is an element of bad finishing, there is also bad luck. Perhaps he is trying too hard?

The equaliser at Carrow Road might have been his, an air flick of the heels allowed the ball to come through to van Persie. Ruddy saved well having been beaten whilst a late Hummels tackle denied him against Dortmund. He is not shy of shooting, perhaps not shooting early enough is the problem? Whatever the case, the manager rates his contribution,

At the moment Gervinho is a fantastic provider and he creates space for the other players because he always goes behind [the defence].  The problem with Gervinho is he is in the opposite position of Robin van Persie. He is desperate for a goal and once you are in that situation… well, you could see the other night he had the chance to score but he started to think.

That’s the answer: don’t think. Which if he is the archetypal footballer, shouldn’t be too hard and marks him out well for a broadcasting career when he retires.

So to this evening’s team. Options in defence are limited with Djourou and Squillaci the real options for change. Those two however, may be the experience saved for the visit of Manchester City in the Carling Cup. Perhaps the former for Koscielny at right back if Wenger decides he wants a strong central partnership in midweek. Ramsey in midfield might make way for Benayoun or Oxlade-Chamberlain. Arshavin must be chomping at the bit to take a place in the starting line-up. All of the Gervinho talk makes me wonder if he is being primed for a rest. Park and Chamakh may have to wait; the temptation might be there to make changes but Wenger is likely to make no more than two or three. I expect the line-up to be:

Szczesny; Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Santos; Arteta, Song, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Walcott, van Persie, Arshavin

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. ’til Tomorrow.

Posted on November 26, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 232 Comments.

  1. Today’s ACLF Christmas meet-up is at The Bailey on Holloway Road. Some will be there from 2-ish, most from 3 onwards. Laters.

  2. good morning all. hope the office move went without a glitch YW….

  3. Morning all.
    Fulham, though we usually beat them are always tough customers. I remember it took some heroics from Nasri at the emirates last season to beat them by 2 goals. No room for complacency at all today. I agree with your line up Yogi but I wonder if rvp could start from the bench?

  4. Yogi – how dare you outshine Big Bruv to position 1.

    If we start drinking at 2.00 pm – can we open a book on how many will actually make it into the stadium?

  5. feeling super excited and jealous of you guys this morning. hope you have a blast and that game and the win will make for great memories to remind you of for years to come.
    scream your heads off and make us proud .
    UP THE GUNS.!!!!!!

  6. These things never do GK, they never do.

  7. Darius

    I suspect you might have a few on the train on the way up…

  8. after the game ,have a shot of Tequila to our health and to the ARSENAL. hope to see DARIUS on TV with the floral red and white bonnet he purchased for this occasion. on second thought , cancel that and just take a ACLF sign with you to make us proud.
    🙂

  9. @Yogi – I’ll have to behave as I have a meeting for about an hour and I suspect being sober will be welcome at that meeting. Besides, the prices on the train are murder.

    At least if I arrive early I’ve got Maria’s sandwiches to look forward to.

  10. @Goonerkam – for the record, the floral red and white bonnet has been purchased for my mate who’s a Liverpool supporter. Unfortunately I have to spend the day with him and wearing that funky hat is his punishment for the privilige of getting into the Emirates. Or we might just give it to Maria.

  11. i hear you. part of me hates moving, but then the change might be good all around.
    fulham did give us a good game last year and part of the reason was we didn’t convert our early chances. i hope we make good and get closer to our goal today. put the original suger daddy team in their place..

  12. ok Darius.. serves him right for being a POOL fan. 🙂
    i have a cousin who is a die-hard pool fan and his most favored manager in all EPL is AW. he just loves the guy.

  13. is joseph stalin going to the game with you. ? lol

  14. Have fun today guys/gals.

  15. i was just reading some of the comments from yesterday. very nice. some very funny too. had a good laugh. sorry i missed it live. lots of fireworks.. 🙂

  16. I think Joseph is spending the week up in the North West, but then again, he is a resourceful man – I wouldn’t be surprised if he taps my floral hatted mates shoulder and asks him “Hey you, where the hell is Darius”.

    Only to be pointed at Jonny round the corner laughing his head off at Muppet and I drinking each other under the table.

  17. do you think fulham will come to play or park the bus.??

  18. Is Maria coming Darius? Haven’t heard from her in a while?

  19. I think Fulham are coming to play. Martin Jol is not a park the bus kind of manager – and I think it will be a difficult game. Fulham seem to be draw specialists too and they can create some difficulty – but then again, so can we.

    I think Theo will score today.

  20. Yes Bob – she mentioned last night that she’s coming for the shindig and bringing sandwiches with her. Though she was also desperately trying to get Passenal and FunGunner to join us and give the get-together some serious girl power.

  21. sounds great Darius. lol. stalin taping your friends shoulder. lol. probably stop his heart. lol. well serves him right to being a pool fan. 🙂

    in your opinions , which team we have played this year did come to just park it and go for the draw. all competitions included.??

  22. I was intrigued by Wenger’s comments on Arteta. He effectively said that Arteta was pretty close to being dropped, bar his defensive role. How do you read that?

    Is he saying that he’s not happy with Arteta’s offensive contribution and that his defensive work is all that’s saving him? Or is Wenger simply saying that he wants a more defensively minded midfielder in the middle and he doesn’t want expectation on him to contribute to attack?

  23. Stoke RFC came to do the nasty at the Emirates – with the classic suck it up and lets him them with set pieces strategy.

    Their set piece did actually catch us out and benefitted that Shawcross Redemption punk.

  24. A small selection of the mixtape being put together for the journey!

    Darius, got your mail – will do.

  25. Yogi – that Staple Singers’s hammer and nails tune reminds me of the sort of funky juke box track you’ll hear on a Friday night at the Briklayer’s Arms.

    I’m leaving in the next hour so catch up with you all soon.

  26. YW,
    I’d like your view and that of others on Mertesacker who, I’m sure, will
    soon adjust to the pace of the EPL. What is a bit worrying to me at the moment is that whenever he receives the ball, he releases it immediately, regardless of any empty space ahead of him. A confident
    fullback would normally advance up the pitch if space allows, but so far he doesn’t. Am I nitpicking or is this something that has been noticed and must be addressed?

  27. Which Bricklayer’s Arms would that be. I know a couple. I’m starting to move soon as well.

  28. Great post Yogi. Really hope RVP can get a hatrick today. Really want van Man to break Shearer’s record. Up Gunners!

  29. Consols – the one I had in mind is in Igtham near Sevenoaks. I used to frequent it about 12 years ago.

  30. Is that be the famed ‘Mad Maria from Malta’?

    Consol are you bringing the half time pasties?

    I’m bringing my close friend and flatmate Chris with me. He supports Leeds. If you feel like it you can bring sticks to poke him with. Though, to be honest, I think he’s starting to get a bit of a wet spot for The Arsenal – this is his second game. He was pretty vocal at the last one and admitted to having a jolly good day out.

  31. Same team as Wednesday again please M. Wenger, you can rest the whole lot of them against City in the League Cup.

    I think you’re being very kind to Gervinho regarding his finishing against Norwich YW, when he went round the keeper there’s no excuse for not putting it in. Maybe he does need to take it a bit early, it’s often a criticism levelled at Walcott also. When he hasn’t got time to think about it he’s great, when he has he seems to confuse himself, maybe running through too many ways to score in his head instead of just doing it.

    Hopefully Fulham will come to play, that will allow us to use the talents of our pacy forwards best.

    COYR!!

  32. Just watched Dortmund game. After the match finished I heard van Persie calling Santos Brazil. Did anyone notice? Do u think they call each other by nationality for fun?

    A request for guys who are going to the match this evening: Please have a banner which says “A Culture Left Foot” or “ACLF”. 😀 Just to make me (maybe others who are not going to the match) feel better.

  33. Blimey everyone’s bringing a non-Arsenal supporting mate with them! So am I actually…

  34. Make your own jonny.

    SAee you later!

  35. Its a bit lat in the day to be told about a shindig.
    Watch out for the realists. Some of them,having been expose as total idiots,will be feeling aggressive towards you smart Alec types.
    I hope you all have a great day and I am sad that I cant join you.

  36. Fantastic, that ACLF is hanging out at the Emirates. A wee bit jealous of you guys too, but as everyone above (who are not attending) suggested, please carry an ACLF banner with you, for it will make us feel much better and proud.

    Sing your lungs out guys.. Hoping to see a big victory, but I know it will be a hard fought victory.

    COYG!!!!

  37. Have a great day, everyone.

    You know we’ll all be relying on you to lead the other 60,000. The outcome of the match is in safe hands.

  38. have fun at the game, boys and girls.

    hope we win big.

  39. Can one of you carry a poster reading: “Hello Kenyan Gunner.”

  40. Aw George – I was really hoping you’d join us.

    We talked about it for some while now – surely you had an invite from Yogi?

  41. Kenyan – I promise to try.

    Can you translate these words for me – I want to sing my insults in Kenyan today.

    jinga, fala,shenzi wallahi billahi,aki ya ngai,nyasai kende mrembe mno ingoho

  42. Jonny,No. I have been excluded it seems.

  43. How will I know you lot if I pop round to the Bailey?

  44. Good morning to all.

    Hope everybody is in good health and happy about living life. Unlike the media who are so angry with Wenger, and his damn Arsenal…. In crisis lol!

    Seems like our “panic buys” are clicking. As I advised talkshit. It’s more a case of “they don’t know what Wenger is doing until it’s done”. They just can’t get to grips with his level of intelligence. They want him to be like harry and broadcast his boat on a daily basis.

    Have been waiting to see Mertesacker and Hangeland on the same pitch to compare positioning and movement. I believe Per is nearly there and in terms of reading the game he’s improving with every game. I also think he will be more dominating than Hangeland, and will enjoy himself facing a more old school CF like Bobby Z. Should be a great battle.

  45. I don’t see the Ox starting today. Would be a big surprise if the team isn’t the same as in the week.

  46. Has anybody noticed that Theo, has been trying to hit top right corner (near post) from just inside the penalty area when he cut’s in?

    I think he may get it bang on today and score a screamer.

  47. Since this is request day, please have a banner saying “Shotta-ACLF.”
    Maybe Jonny will do me the favor. LOL.
    Have fun girls and boys. I am very jealous.

    PS: Every time I mention a trip to London to see the mighty Arsenal, my missus reminds of the recession and the cutbacks in federal spending. But I will keep plugging away.

  48. George – an accident I am sure.

    Come down in New year for a game – I’d be delighted to meet up with you sir.

  49. Shotta – thanks for the good humour.

  50. I forgot smiley face to let you know that was sincere. 😀

  51. Spy – you’re a spy, you figure it out. 🙂

  52. Darius is bringing a Scouser in a floral hat, which shows extraordinary attention to detail: a carnation, it’s suddenly apparent, is just not good enough these days.

  53. @spy
    just look for the floral red&white bonnet wearer. he be the pool fan. the people drinking on either side of him will be our guys. you can also walk in and scream BOOBS!!!!
    the guy turning to you first will be Jonny… 🙂

  54. we have to contain the american clint….

    he can create space where there is none..

  55. That man Clint, is class. Vermaelen, will be looking forward to locking horns with him.

  56. hope we can put them away early so that the bench can get a run around. coyg, coyr.

  57. Have a good day everyone – I’m sorry I won’t be there. Let’s hope the boys give you a good game as well!

  58. Sorry to hear it Passenal – Lets hope the boys give everyone a good game.

    I think if we score early we’ll roll them. Otherwise a battle.

  59. Not sure if this has been posted before but I found it pretty interesting. Looks like we could be quids in when the stadium sponsorship changes…

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2011/nov/25/stadium-naming-rights-liverpool-chelsea-spurs

  60. YW – great read this morning……
    “The difference between the Chelsea manager’s Press Conferences and those of Wenger highlight the reality of both club’s philosophies. The media tried to get Arsène to put his own head on the block; Villas-Boas is being dragged there, kicking and screaming.”

    spot on…..

    I dread this match, history shows we struggle to find our game after CL matches.

    Fulham is at full strength and playing very well. Dembele, Dempsey, Zamora, can create something out of nothing.

    I’d prefer Benayoun to start in midfield over Ox. We need as much experience on the pitch as possible.

    Finishing in the top four is far more critical for the club v. the CC competition.

  61. Indeed. That’s one of the reasons they hate Wenger so much. They tried to put him on a pedestal but, he kindly refused. AVB, has now found that if they put you on a pedestal they can also take you off.

    I noted on bbc f focus. They said in AVBs defence that it’s because of transition, ageing players and the high line which he is trying to play and how barca like it is. Funny how when our patch up defence was getting bad results for such reasons we were just simply in crisis.

    Big game for a Big ****ing German!

  62. Arsesession | November 26, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Think of how the Fulham fans must feel then if you feel nervous for history reasons. It’s been over 100yrs or somthing ridiculous like that since they won at our place.

    Hearing Clint, in his interview it’s quite easy to see the other values that interested Wenger in him.

  63. I saw dembele tear man city’s midfield to shreds.he again did it against spurs.that lad is pure gold.here’s hoping he plays poorly today

  64. Heyyy FG, missed you girl!!

    I don’t have ticket for the game. So will try and pop in to say hi.

    Sandwiches were for the ladie of course. I may bring some doughnuts for you guys though.

  65. Where exactly is The Bailey?

  66. As everyone is requesting a “15 minutes of fame banner” could CBob please carry one saying “Essex Thanksgiving Pasties – 50% off”

  67. Anyone in the Bailey at the moment?

  68. This is a must win situation for the guys. We have to win this sucker. City-Liverpool will be an all out war. Man U-Toons will be a war tambem. This is why we need to come out flying. Attack. Let’s see if RVp can hit a third straight daily double.

  69. Near the town hall Maria

  70. YW,CBob, Jonny, Maria and anyone else getting together, hope you guys are treated to a massive win and have a great time. In saying that, maybe George and I will get an invite next year? It would sure as hell beat shopping with The Girlfriend!!! COYG!!!!!

    Oh yea and…….B 🙂 🙂 BS!!!!!!!!

  71. Johnny, looks like you’ve been too much time with Darius.

  72. I’m in the Bailey at the mo Irish, you are more then welcome to join me and some friends in Belfast next yr (50th) Great place great people

  73. have fun you guys. It would have been fun to al least come meet up at the pub but i’m in NY/NJ visiting the family. Stress. i’ll be looking out for the flower hat.

  74. thegeeman… EVERY GAME IS A MUST WIN! for the rest of the season.. simple as. no game is more important than another for a team that wants to improve from last year. It goes with the territory of being a big club. thought everyone knew that… its such an important feature of being a big club thats its not even a point up for debate. You win, simple…

  75. and i agree with arsss… Benny is a very good player indeed,. most of my liverpool mates reckon hes better than arsh(i would not know as i do not know bennys playstyle good enough). But if he indeed is as good as arsh he will be very good in the ramsey role thats for sure…

  76. Where is everyone sitting / standing in The Bailey?

  77. What??????????????????
    As good as Arsh?
    Not if Arsh is Andrei Arshavin he damn well isn’t.
    But then Scousers are not renowned for their knowledge.

  78. Goonerton – Fulham fans, born of frustration with Arsenal

    My sons follow Fulham (Dempsey in particular) ……primarily……..as American football fans we support any US player in the overseas leagues. McBride (b4)……Friedal – Howard etc.

    Anyway……whatever our line up today……COYGs.

    West Brom take 1-0 lead over tots….

  79. Where r u Matt?

  80. Standing just to left of door, navy blue jacket, looking like a right billy no mates. 🙂

  81. Sorry guys Im not going to be conservative ,,,We are going to win the league!!!!And Fulham is screwed.today.

    It has probably already been said but the midweek performance underlined what the experience of the New additons brings to the team. The obvious plaudits went to Song, RVp, Kos, Vermaelen and Shezza, But the three are unsung heroes. With Per I think he is just eager to make an impression and lets face it defenders mistakes are usually magnifed more because it often leads to conceding a goal. I was very impressed with Santos he seems to have found an euqilibrium , better defensively and offensively his crossing and distribution of the ball in the final thirs was exquisite and his party tricks when they work are a real crowd pleaser. Arteta is very disciplined and has probably sacrificed some of the offensive game we are more familiar with and been more defensive. And Ramseys distribution is geting even better.. Gervinho will come good. i remember Theo also trying too hard in the past but he has come good. COYG.

  82. I’m here. Where are you guys. Lets not do a Limestone.!

  83. Should be a great game today. Loved the quote from santos. Seems like that attitude is the difference comparing this years and previous squads. Interesting that the boss points to the new additions attitude as one of the turning points. Adding new players does a lot more for the squad then just adding new bodies. New players can really galvanize a squad. Unfortunate that it took an offseason crisis to make us jump in an use the transfer market to our best advantage. Hopefully we have learned something.

    This squad has much more physical strength which I think will really help us to stay strong at the business end of the season. Perhaps more important is the mental strength and the energ y and desire that seemed to be missing before. Now is not the time for complacency. We certainly have the talent to get a confident win today. Hope we get a couple of goals from someone not named robin.

  84. Are you the tall chap with the retro shirt Jonny?

  85. MDGunner, are you in the B’more area?

  86. Okay, so where is everyone sitting I’m nearly there. I’m a black jacket and a pink scarf.

  87. Can’t see anyone I’m off.

  88. By the door nr the Thai food sign

  89. What are you wearing?

  90. This is funnier. I guess I shall just stay home and watch how this meeting unfolds. So far, Maria and Matt, are approximately 1m away from each other and standing alone. Ha Ha.

    Sorry, Bob, I don’t think I’ll be able to make it. Caught a cold 2 days back and nursing a fever at the moment.

  91. I’m not alone, with spy, muppet & Jonny. 😉

    Jonny is easiest to spot, tall with a retro 1971 home shirt

  92. Hahaha. Muppet is there too? Man, I should be there.

  93. I’m lost someone meet me outside the ladies toilet.

  94. Jonny on his way

  95. Manutd and Newcastle 1:1 but can it end that way?

  96. anyone seen the Arsenal line up?

  97. Hey, anyone know of a good sopcast stream for this game?

  98. @Arsession

    JD and Arshavin for Koscielny and Gervinho

  99. thanks…….COYGs

  100. Hopefully the conspiracy theories will go away after the ManU Newcastle game.

  101. Manutd draw but the bloody spuds win.

  102. More than useless WBA 3-1. Ade scores two

  103. MD, you’re making me laugh!

  104. Arsenal: Szczesny, Djourou, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Andre Santos, Song, Arteta, Ramsey, Arshavin, Walcott, Van Persie (c)
    Substitutes: Fabianski, Koscielny, Diaby, Frimpong, Benayoun, Gervinho, Chamakh.

  105. any good link for the game? standed in a hotel in paris

  106. Targeted – not ‘targetted’ (unless that was some kind of in-joke) – not that it matters much, but we need standards on here!

  107. George better hide now. Pb is in a critical mood.

  108. Not before time,Arshavin in the team.

  109. As a glass completely empty fan I’m worried about this one. Fullham have not been an easy opponent for us recently, and after the big European game we may struggle physically. On the positive side, our bench looks strong.

    We need to stay well organised in the defence. Hope Djourou will have a decent game.

  110. @Mormand – pop over to the Arseblog ‘arses’ and you’ll find a Veetle link. Embedding disallowed, and don’t know how to do it anyway.

  111. Maryland Gunner – I’m in Silver Spring, just inside the Beltway off Georgia Avenue

  112. Anyone with a link

  113. It’s madness in my joint. Van Persie touches the ball and everyone expects a goal?

  114. Gunners should already be 3 up by now, good game, breaking fast, Walcott on fire, and Ramsey (but should have had two goals by now) The little russian looking good (George smiles) stupid tellow card for Santos and the Verm may be slightly injured………. good game so far but I haven’t seen the ACLF banner in the crowd 🙂

  115. Just need to keep simple and them on the back foot the breakthrough will come

  116. we are lacking a little something…

  117. The goal is coming. I think it will come from a quick break on the right side. Give that ball to Theo. Theo has put in 2 or 3 really dangerous crosses.

  118. Walcott walked off at HT looking like he may have suffered a knock.

    @Morand
    If you are in Paris the game is on Canal + Sport..

  119. I dont like the look of this

  120. Too many tired faces….

    Someone needs to put a spark in our play……

  121. very dissapointed with ramsey today

  122. Does not look good. No pace, no ideas.

    Time for subs?

    Ramsey was fouled.

  123. why is the Emirates so quiet??
    oh ,i forgot. they priced out the Rasers… well done…

  124. Here we go. Will be tough now.

  125. I think we had 10 or more corners already, and did not score. Ho many do we need?

  126. we need real width now against them

  127. GOOOOAAAAAALLL

    the VERMINATOR

  128. Vermarlen!!!!

  129. walcott vermealen goal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  130. Gerv is so much more dangerous than Arshavin.

    Vermalen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Come on now.

  131. vermalen!!!a half fit gerv is better than a fully fit arshavin

  132. Why don’t we play with the same urgency from the very start?

  133. fu$%

  134. mike dean hates arsenal.now i ve got no doubt

  135. sighs……………

  136. I should not have laughed at ManU dropping points then.

    Typical European hangover performance. Physically and emotionally tired. We needed to keep it tight at the back to take all 3 points.

    And the subs should have been made earlier.

  137. well. crap. shit happens. the BAB game had drained the crew two much. all we do is get back on the horse right away. keep on trotting ARSENAL!!!!

  138. Bollocks..bad result..but psychologically at least it was important to avoid defeat..TV really showed character to equalise, I thought the winner would arrive but heroic defending by fulham and schwarzer..

  139. That was very frustrating and disappointing….. Gervinho brought so much more to the game than the little Russian (sorry George)
    Should have won by 4-1.
    I think they were tired and AW should have rotated more……. but now they have a week off to recover.
    Onwards and upwards COYG

  140. it was a game to win 1-0, unfortunately we conceded..

  141. Well done walcott today, very lively energetic and an assist, looks miles better than he was before, clearly worked on his dribbling in training.

    Van persie should have done better with some of his chances, but overall he was still really good

    The team were very complacent at the begining, very slow but thats probably a hangover from the champions league.

    Overall unlucky but lesson today, take the game to them earlier.

  142. Sad to drop points to Fulham at home when we are 7th and tied with two others at 22 points. Couldn’t watch the game so I can’t guess what happened other than the usual derby atmosphere that leads Fulham to play us tough despite never winning away to us. Did we seem tired? It was an intense week with a tough away match and a huge CL group game. Ramsey, Walcott, RvP, Song, Arteta might be feeling it.

    Unfortunate Arshavin didn’t make create or score goal and ended up going off. How was his game? We are going to need him when Gervinho goes to the cup of nations.

    Hopefully others will drop more points.

  143. what is the point of chamack?

  144. Djourou looked good. Great to have Diaby back. Onwards…

  145. Arshavin is really not good enough – if he ever was. Ramsey.. trying too hard. However, Fulham are a proper team; just glad we didn’t lose. RvP needs a rest.

  146. Our manager bares the brunt of criticism for this loss of points.

    What is the point of a 25 player roster and never rotate?

    Props to our players……gave a good effort and deserved more.

  147. Chamakh did alright, in the time he was allowed. Drop the fat Russian; he’s not a game winner anymore. (If he ever was!)

  148. dembele toyed with our players.he is a footballer.

  149. clicks my fingers…..right i have some ammo now.. now let me see who shall i slag off first…..hopefully suga will pop in tonight..he must be bursting to spread his doom.

  150. @Anirhud
    We didn’t concede, the Verminator scored for Fulham………..

  151. seriously though Arshavin looks like he has a cl hangover….sorry i meant hangover.

  152. chamack was actually pretty good

    Ramsey was off his game today, his touch needs to improve

    Arteta looks very tired, so does van persie.

    come on people, they didnt even score, we scored for them

  153. @limestone
    we were denied a penalty by mr. dean ,Again. how the hell is that not called.. add points to the ‘ lost to ref. calls’ column..

  154. Schwarzer – the bastard child of Clytemnestra. The goalkeeping bastard!

  155. Gervinho – second name on the team sheet.

  156. It was interesting, but not in a good way, how all the players looked so tired ~ Theo excepted, and maybe the Verm..and Santos..and Chezzer.. – Arteta needs a rest for sure.

  157. Goonerkam, was it Arshavin’s appeal that wasn’t awarded? We have an incredibly bad record with Mike ManU Dean as referee, so I suppose that fits into a historic pattern. Still, it seems we didn’t play with the same urgency or sharpness. I can only think it is a hangover from a big game earlier this week and some jaded players. Song, Ramsey and Arteta have all played a great deal recently.

    How did Diaby do for the few minutes he had? He could be a big help in this department. Was Rosicky fit; he could have spelled Ramsey? Ramsey in particular needs to have regular rest as a young player coming back from a long-term injury.

  158. Is it a bad enough result to attract the doomers from their slumber?

  159. Aclf meet up. Well some of us made it before. Where are you chaos monkeys now?

  160. Our midfield was poor today.
    Arteta in particular.Hardly surprising the amount he has played.Ramsey was a bit off the pace as well.
    It was slow play and that meant our front 3 did not get any quick ball.
    Still.Onward and upward.

  161. I’ll take the draw after the dortmund game, yes it was tough and the conceded goal a bit sloppy but tired as they were the players showed a lot heart . The doomers can’t wait to moan but then they never stop. This team has spunk and never lets their head drop, and unlike last year I can’t see them falling apart. With diabby getting his fitness back and lill jack on the way back we should have better options in such games.

  162. @limestone
    gervinho cut it back to Santos to strike. the ball hit Breda andno call was made. I’m not 100% twas intentional, but in the FUCKING box that shouldnt matter. it still effected the play, nay a clear goal scoring opportunity. the crew looked tired and drained, except for a few. notably Theo.

  163. darn.

  164. The moaners are at it again. All it takes is hard won draw.

  165. This has been our best November in a long while, we now have a chance to rest players with the cc coming up and winning the cl group gives us a breather. I hope wenger sticks the youngsters v city regardless. Even if they loose it will be invaluable experience. The first tema needs to focus on the premiership. Aside from city there is really nothing separating the rest of the challengers, Newcastle will wilt but spuds, chavs n Liverpool are nothing to shout about. United are loosing their footing and in jan we are better placed to capitalise in the transfer window. Spuds have no money as do united , chavs can splash a bit but it will be a gamble, Liverpool spent all their eggs on rubbish. With a few players like bendy still to be traded we may just get that crafty signing that will spur us on. The keys thing is compared to all the others our squad needs the least tinkering. My bet is arsenal in the top three come April next year.

  166. Good to meet Jonny, Chris, Muppet, Spy and the lovely Maria earlier, shame I missed you guys – Yogi, Darius & Bob.

    Game was a bit disappointing and the effects of last night still lingering so going home fed up. Have a good night!

  167. Unfortunately we can’t win every game, but a draw is better than a defeat. It’s important that we don’t let this slight disappointment throw us off our stride. It’s going to be a long hard season and there will be other setbacks along the way. I’m sure the team will bounce back as they’ve come back from worse this season already!

  168. What makes the home draw against a mid table opposition more bearable is the fact that we came from behind.

    Want the Pool to lose tomorrow.

  169. Special thanks to Matt,who I hooked up with first, many thanks to Johnny ,and friend
    Muppet and Maria for a good eve before game

  170. @NB69

    Thats still conceding in my book 😀

    but the pedestrian pace was sort of expected after midweek, and fulham are defensively very well drilled, credit where its due..

    It was a game which is won 1-0 , unfortunately we did not..but no worries, we are still in a decent enough position, the fixtures will get to everyone

  171. On a separate note anyone in India able to recommend a dental surgeon I need to get some teeth implants n the prices in uk are eye watering

  172. Good post, Runebreaker (not the one about the dental implants!). I had no idea of the score, but I had a funny feeling all the way home on the train. Ah well. Still on an unbeaten run. And a nice rest for some people coming up.

    Sorry I missed the sandwiches, Maria. glad everyone seems to have had a good time.

  173. I think this draw probably feels worse because we’ve been on such a high after our little winning run.

  174. “You have to accept that football is played by human beings and even if you prepare well you can be a bit less sharp. You can drop points against anybody in the League.”

    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/-we-showed-exceptional-spirit-and-desire-

  175. Ok. Someone explain this to me.

    Consolbob. Darius. Yogi. Where were you?

    We were there before and after.

    Lovely to meet Muppet, Matt, Spy & Maria.

    Limestone and Irish: permission to gloat.

  176. Matt – good stuff sir. Chris says hello too.

    The bartenders? Well I’ll let Irish call the catchphrase.

  177. Sorry to say it but Arshavin was poor today. Expected more hunger.

    Gerv was a hungry handful.

  178. Diabby was indeed a positive and he did look full of spirit, theo now has confidence to drive in. He’s been absolutely brilliant and has nailed his spot in the first 11. A lot of blame going Arshavins way but many people are blinkered when it comes to the little Russian. Any player in his position would struggle. He needs games to build his confidence and he is the kind of player that needs the team to play for him. Unfortunately with the way things shaped this season arshavin cannot be accommodated, I feel we are seeing the end of his time with arsenal. If not in jan certainly he will be off next season.
    I feel today’s game would have been very different if we had rosicky in the middle of the park with Ramsey dropping to the bench. Hindsight is great but gervinho starting would have been ideal.
    I can’t wait for sagna to return he and theo will form a devastating duo in the right. I am really looking forward to the CC especially coquelin this boy will be a star mark my words. Hope Aneke gets a ran, would have loved to see afobe too. Arsene is moulding a team that hacks back to 2006, strength size pace if the players make the grade we are in for interesting times. Hope progba does not extend his contract with united n we nab him.

  179. Runebreaker, Aneke has gone on loan to Stevenage along with Luke Freeman.

  180. Right time to support Stevenage with every sinew

  181. “@limestone
    gervinho cut it back to Santos to strike. the ball hit Breda andno call was made. I’m not 100% twas intentional, but in the FUCKING box that shouldnt matter. it still effected the play, nay a clear goal scoring opportunity.”

    Probably needs to hit the guy’s hand – unless you’ve got the lino from the Man Utd game!

  182. Arshavin and Ramsey were substandard today. we looked miles better when Gervinho and Diaby came on,

    I’m surprised by how good Diaby looks already. Can’t be a bad thing for us if he comes in and hits form immediately.

  183. Also, Diaby is spelled D-I-A-B-Y.

  184. not the scoreline i was expecting. specialy at home in front of our own fans. Johan did himself proud with that performance. no good to look back now. we pickup where we left off , starting a strong run at the top three. hopefully the rest will do some of our players good. and we can start rotating the players we have on bench so that we can avoid turnout like today….

  185. i agree that ramsey looked a bit off the mark. He had the desire to get himself into promising attacking positions, but a more deft touch could have led to some goals. He attempted quite a few cross field passes that went horribly awry.

  186. avoid burnouts that is.
    @james M . not just me but many at the Emirates also felt the ball came off the defenders ARM. i think it was Brede H. but Dean would have none of it. he probably felt the intent wasnt there.

    im saying that sometimes a handball is a handball in the box even without intent, as it turn the game . that ball Santos struck was headed in the right general direction.

  187. @wtt
    he should have at least one of the three chances presented to him. just too tired and not Sharp enough.

  188. “and we can start rotating the players we have on bench so that we can avoid turnout like today….”

    As far as I can see it was rotating Gervinho for Arshavin that played a major part in us looking toothless for most of the game.

    The fat little russian pudding offered nothing today.

  189. “@james M . not just me but many at the Emirates also felt the ball came off the defenders ARM. i think it was Brede H. but Dean would have none of it. he probably felt the intent wasnt there.”

    At first I thought it was handball but the replay looked like it hit his chest.

  190. i think a 1-1 or any tie would be my preference for tomorrows pool/shitty game..

  191. maybe your right James. when needing a goal sometimes the heart sees something there that the brain doesn’t.
    AA will come good as we need him to for the rest of this season. a game or two to find himself and he will have his breakout and start contributing with assists and goals. i have no doubts. he gave us good production last year and i expect he will do the same again this year….

  192. Just finished watching the game, have to say AA was not as bad as some of the comments would have you believe. No he was not as sharp as he could/should have been but still gave Fulham a few scares. Thought it was great to see Diaby back and settling straight in. Theo was immense, RVP played well but just lacked a bit of luck. I think the next few weeks will work wonders for both of them as they can sit back and only play 1 game a week. Chamakh actually impressed me as his positioning was excellent for the most part which tells me he is zoned in and reading the game well but I think he just needs that 1 goal to really spark his confidence. As for TV, what can I say? The man is a rock!! There are very few players who respond to making such an unlucky mistake, most put their head down and do not instantly recover. His reaction to the owngoal said it all, he was furious with himself. Well done to the lad. Gervinho must be getting a bit of a reputation by defenders throughout the league as he just loves to run at them and they hate that. Let’s just say that if this is what we look back on as a bad result, I/we should take it with a big smile as it was only a short time ago we were consistantly losing games like these.

    Jonny – Gloating is childish and immature. So all I will say is B 🙂 🙂 BS!!!!!!!!!!!

  193. Fulham had one quality look at our goal. Even then, Djourou was centimeters away from the block and Wojeich made a fine save.

    We on the other hand, had many shots directly at goal. Ramsey had 2 or 3, Theo had a few, RVP….

    I think that the ball did not roll in our favour today. Take this draw on the chin, and let us start making up some the space between us and the Spudz.

  194. well maybe that had more than one quality look at our goal, but not shots on our goal.

  195. William – Well said mate. RVP had his shot cleared off the line by Baird(?) when the keeper was well beat too, just one of those days. But like I said, one of those days where before we would have lost but today we fought back and deserved a draw at least. Have to also point out that the few media write-ups of the game were not the usual crap articles.

    This from of all papers, the Daily Mail: “Truly, there are times when Arsenal are the nearest thing to Barcelona that the English league can offer, and for the opening 20 minutes, their football held the same joyous fascination.
    So great is their belief in their own skills and touch that they look to play through the heart of the opposition rather than seek the wider options.
    Against a pair of hulking central defenders in Philippe Senderos and Brede Hangeland, it seemed that Arsenal’s methods would ultimately enjoy success.
    Inside four minutes, Andrey Arshavin was sent scuttling through to stroke in a chance which was ruled offside.”

    If such an article can appear in the Mail, it surely speaks volumes as to how this team has improved and indeed gelled. Fulham maybe near the bottom of the table but I have watched a few of their games and, though they lost, they played a lot better than their results would suggest.

  196. Barca lost 1-0 to Getafe today by the way. I would be happy with that result if it were not for the fact that Jose is manager at Real Madrid, now 6 points clear. Maybe Valencia can break the stranglehold ut I doubt it.

  197. how are your legs feeling irish, after all day carrying stuff.? 🙂

  198. Was also nice to see Djourou playing well again. Christ the Doomers must be soooooo disappointed as I am sure they thought we had lost today. Doomers are stupid!!!

  199. Better now that I am sat on the sofa eating pizza and watching crappy tv!!!

  200. We should ban the ACLF crew from attending games en masse.

    I bet Irish’s GF has control of the remote!

  201. Watched the end of a replay of Dortmund v. Schalke, 2-0 to BVB and I have to say we did very well to defeat them convincingly. Gotze was back playing, so his injury knock wasn’t serious. Good luck to them–they play with flair and went top of their league after starting as low as 11th. Not as far back as us, but unfortunately we haven’t been able to make up much ground on the top teams so far. Hopefully Liverpool loses tomorrow, which would put us ahead by a point and in 6th.

    Ditto, Irish–no gloating, just a bit of a chuckle, Jonny… ACLF meet up indeed!

  202. MDGunner – Of course she has control of the remote man, I may be crazy but I am not stupid!!

    LSG – I am not quite gloating but I did have a good long laugh at some of the posts:

    Jonny @ 3:36pm – I’m here. Where are you guys. Lets not do a Limestone.!
    Matt @ 3:41pm – Are you the tall chap with the retro shirt Jonny?
    (apparently Jonny and Matt and Spy and Muppet meet)
    Maria @ 3:50pm – Okay, so where is everyone sitting I’m nearly there. I’m a black jacket and a pink scarf. (brilliant description of self Maria!)
    Maria @ 3:58pm – Can’t see anyone I’m off.
    Matt @ 4:03pm – By the door nr the Thai food sign
    Maria @ 4:07pm – What are you wearing? (kinky little so-and-so isn’t she?)
    Ateeb @ 4:09pm – This is funnier. I guess I shall just stay home and watch how this meeting unfolds. So far, Maria and Matt, are approximately 1m away from each other and standing alone. Ha Ha
    Matt @ 4:12pm – I’m not alone, with Spy, Muppet & Jonny. 🙂 Jonny is easiest to spot, tall with a retro 1971 home shirt.
    Maria @ 4:16pm – I’m lost someone meet me outside the ladies toilet.
    Matt @ 4:19pm – Jonny on his way (I bet he was!!)

    and drumroll PLEASE………….here’s Jonny!!!!

    Jonny @ 9:30pm – Ok. Someone explain this to me.

    Consolbob. Darius. Yogi. Where were you?

    We were there before and after.

    Lovely to meet Muppet, Matt, Spy & Maria.

    Limestone and Irish: permission to gloat.

    Priceless Jonny my man, priceless!!!! B 🙂 🙂 BS!!!

  203. MDGunner – As to your request to ban the ACLFers from attending en masse, I think it would be a redundant gesture as they(myself included!) seem unable to “masse” in the first place.

  204. runebreaker@9.07

    try searching dental hospitals in the city of coimbatore… excellent hospitals and you can plan a tour of kerala (we call it gods own country) which is very close by

  205. Genius, Irish–it’s a literary gift! Doing a Limestone?! I thought it was doing an Irish!!!

  206. Definitely “Doing a Limestone” mate 🙂

  207. Mumbaigooner- Some one talking about my city eh?! Awesome!

    It was a tough game, the fatigue really showed, game was slow paced. We lacked the tempo!
    But my word goes to Vermaelen, a mistake here and he goes on to score at the other end to rectify it, fucking fantastic!

    And Irish on Jonny! Priceless B 🙂 🙂 B S!!!!

  208. Mmmmm……looks like Yogi has done a ‘Limestone’ on us boys and girls, so I am off to bed.

  209. Hi Irishgray,

    LOL.

    Anyway… I did turn up. Sorry to miss YW, Consols, Darius, Ateeb, Passenal and any others.

    It was quite hilarious as I stood in the entrance, trying to match YW’s description of somebody with an arsenal scarf and blue coat. I was guessing YW is between 35 and 45. Well – guess what ? Everybody in the pub looked between 35 and 45 and had an Arsenal scarf or hat.

    Anyway, finally saw Jonny ask somebody about ACLF and it went from there.

    The Maria turned up. Saw Spy and Matt too.

    Went back after the game, but only Jonny was there with his friend Chris. Didn’t stay for much longer.

    Nice to meet up, but it would have been nice to see a few more regulars.

  210. Muppet, Where were you?

    Great to meet Darius and Bob, lovely company for the day as you would expect. Even Darius’ mate turned out to be OK. For a scouser…

    Looks like it’s going have to be a rolled-up copy of the FT and red rose in the lapel for the next one.

  211. We were in the pub YW !! In one of the corners. The one with the side door. !

  212. Aaah, we were outside for a while ’til we found Darius and Bob. In the opposite corner to you…Mind you, I must have walked past you half a dozen times en route to the bar. I thought the bar staff were…

  213. Might I make a humble suggestion? Next time maybe we could exchange phone numbers? From an organisational perspective this might be helpful! 🙂

    I’m not saying you couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery but, my word, I did four laps of that pub and going by your confident email –

    “Identifying the group will be easy. Look for anyone who is nervously glancing around the room looking like they are looking for people they don’t know. Failing that, shaven-headed 40-something yob-lite in a grey coat with an altogether more respectable looking friend sort of sums me up”

    you’ve come might close!

    Maybe I was just distracted by the bar staff.

    BOOBS! All round.

  214. Jonny, that was so scarily accurate I’m not sure how you missed me in the crowd of Arsenal shirts.

  215. Lol. I refer you back to my learned colleague Muppet’s words –

    “Well – guess what ? Everybody in the pub looked between 35 and 45 and had an Arsenal scarf or hat”

    You had an advantage too – as Spy very politely put it “You look like your photo. Except older”.

    Which went rather nicely with his other ‘compliment’, “I’m not vain enough to put a picture of myself up”.

    And his other ‘compliment’ “I prefer to let others talk and to comment infrequently. You have the opposite problem”

    How is that for scary accuracy?!

    LOL!
    😀

  216. Todays effort http://wp.me/p1aPg-1Xq

    Jonny – Probably stood next to you at one point. Well, if you’d been short that is. Most people are at my height.

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