Is a match report going to make you feel better? No, I thought not, me neither. Is there any point in revisiting a game where we were 2-0 up after twenty-three minutes and then contrived to throw that lead away by the 40th minute going in to the break 2-2.
Were we undone by two amazing bits of skill from Fulham for their two goals? Well, it would be a comfort to say yes, but no is the answer to that too. Seriously poor defending and static zonal marking handed Fulham their two goals and it’s not the first time we have delivered these kind of gifts to opposing teams.
It’s seven weeks since, against the run of play, we allowed Lescott to nod home from a corner for Man City and take the lead and in those seven weeks we have conceded too many goals in a similar fashion. I can’t see any evidence of work having been done on the training ground to stem the tide, surely in seven weeks some improvement should be visible. Even if we just worked on defending corners there would be some improvement? Why are we still making the same errors?
I have always firmly believed in the ‘we’re gonna score one more than you’ ethos, the gung ho approach, the ‘we don’t really have to care about defending because we’re a full on attacking team’ but holy cow, the time must have come to put some practice in on the simple things. Go back to basics, think about defending and what it means for the team, stop stroking the ball around in front of our goal mouth when a row Z is needed, stop an attack high up the pitch, don’t wait until the opposition are bearing down on us, take a yellow card for the team.
It’s time to take defending seriously even if that means more bore draws, the foundation of a great team cannot be built on such repetition of errors, they have to be stamped out for this team to have any credibility.
Anyway rant over about the defending, there were some good points to share with you.
Theo started the match and although I have slated his inability to be the footballer I hoped he would be, I do think he’s getting close to that now …………. I’m still hoping he’ll stay. He whipped in a fine corner for Giroud’s first goal and his lofted cross for Giroud’s second was sublime, in addition he made sure he was there when Giroud’s attempt hit the post.
Giroud is impressing me now, he works really hard to get his head on whatever he can and today he could have scored a hatful. How must he feel finally getting the ball in the back of the net and then to be part of a team that throws a lead away?
When Fulham scored their third the ground went nuts. It felt like ages between Berb’s penalty and Giroud’s goal to make it 3-3 but I’ve just seen it was only 2 minutes. From then on we had our tails up and the supporters played their part but time was running out. A dubious hand-ball decision gave us a penalty in the 4th minute of extra time – who would take it? Arteta stepped up and Schwarzer saved. It was not to be.
Throwing away two two goal leads in the space of four days is a disgrace for a so-called top team and so even if Arteta had scored the penalty I would feel the same about the defending. Although I have to say it was a bit of a bonus being two up in the first place.
There are so many things not going right for this disjointed, unbalanced team. Playing football can’t be this difficult, what is making it so difficult for them? Other teams with less ability than ours manage to play football, to hold onto leads, to string passes together and to look like they’re enjoying it. Come on Arsene, sort it out please or hand the reigns over to someone else.
Over to you all now, if anyone wants to supply some player ratings I’ll be happy to add them on.
This is what Arsène had to say about the game.
Written by peachesgooner