After that disgrace at Anfield against the country’s best team, a decent result was essential heading into a New Year against a Fulham side also struggling for confidence.
Both sides showed some nerves early on and it was a bit scrappy. Thankfully Sessegnon left his shooting boots at home. Suddenly Granit decided to risk a nosebleed by moving into the rarefied heights of the penalty area. Wobbly’s pass was cleverly left by Laca and the big Swiss had a fairly simple toe poke finish.
Arsenal’s play picked up from there and we should have added to the lead before half time.
The second goal was a thing of beauty with incisive work filleting Fulham’s left flank. Auba’s clever pass to the Wardrobe put him in the ideal position to lay one on a plate for Laca.
After a couple of chances to extend our lead the Tinkerman brought on two forwards with a gambler’s throw of the dice. A sloppy pass out to the Terrier and a barge in the back won Fulham the ball and the inevitable, ‘brown trousers watching The Arsenal’ period of the game came as the lead was halved by a sub. Fulham scented a wounded animal, so the next goal would be crucial.
Thankfully Rambo came on as sub and almost immediately followed up an Auba pinger against the post and we could breathe easy once again. Auba then missed a little dink finish over the keeper before finally getting his goal via a deflection and a Papa assist.
4-1 and game over for a Fulham team which probably expected no less.
A fine result considering the less than perfect performance, though why we can’t see out winning positions without giving everyone kittens will, seemingly, forever be a weakness.
Leno – competent, making crucial stops when the game threatened to slip away from us … 7
Maitland-N – right wing back or right back, equally adept – starting to get some confidence back … 7
Papa – far happier playing lesser strikers and his first assist for twenty years … 6
Kos – our captain is slowly beginning to find his feet again … 7
Shkod – Injured or another half-time tactical admission that we got things wrong in the first half? … 6
Wardrobe – majestic at wing back – like a runaway train on the burst, setting up chances with its front wheels … 8
Guendouzi – heart of a lion – more to come from the young man … 7
Xhaka – his goal should have been the cue for a landslide – he himself could have had another – excellent through ball in the second half to set Laca free … 7
Wobbly – big chances galore came from his feet in the first half – much improved … 8
Laca – Fine goal and perhaps didn’t moan quite as much when he was subbed …. 7
Auba – a goal machine – he’s going to run away with the golden boot if he can sharpen his finishing even further … 7
Terrier – clearly he needs a rest as he’s been carrying some of the team on his tiny shoulders earlier in the season … 6
Rambo – instant impact at exactly the right moment – thanks for all the goals Aaron … 7
Saka – debut boy got a brief taste of the high life … 6
chas (who largely saw the game through BBC goal flashes and Arsenalist clips on Twitter)
How lucky are you? Double Bubble and a rather more sombre reflection on the day’s proceedings from LBG, your man at the stadium……
At the start of the day Chas asked for a “game to be proud of”. I will include the word proud for as long as is possible, but I’m afraid readers may see it disappearing into the ether quite quickly in my assessment of the game.
Be proud AAers of the result and three points, of some evidence of determination to rectify the travesty of a performance that was Anfield.
Be pleased with another goal from Aubang ( even thought he should have had an easy hat-trick) and Laca being given enough time on the pitch to score his goal before being (ridiculously) substituted. (Be pleased that he thought about kicking up a right fuss on seeing his number, but refrained when he heard the whole ground boo the decision, and instead went off graciously).
Be pleased with the short period of time AM-N was able to influence the game further forward before being dragged back in the rearranged defence.
Be pleased Fulham were useless in front of goal and Leno had little to do. (Two x Sessegnon chances put away early on and we could have lost!)
Be pleased that Kos is back, even if puzzled by the couple of pub defenders playing alongside him, which makes him more nervous than usual.
Be pleased Ramsey mishit a shot and scored.
Sorry, that’s the best I can do on the “proud”ish front.
I have an opinion, on why much is not right currently and will share when others have disagreed with everything I’ve said!
Leno – What he had to do was fine. Goal was up the other end and, although looked somewhat chaotic, didn’t seem he had added to that … 7
AM-N – Some good things going forward, breaking inside. Shame dragged back, where he is wasted, but still kept his end up defensively … 7
Mustafi – No pace, poor positioning, no sense of danger. Always tackles to the ground. Rarely gets the ball … 3/4
Sokratis – Didn’t win anything in the air. Always tackles to the ground. Sometimes gets the ball … 4
Kos – Some good work. Unlike the other two, does find his own players mostly with passes going forward … 5/6
Wardrobe – Some good work going forward. Not a very good defender … 6
Ouzi – A good game generally. Looking to play “dynamic” passes and succeeds generally. Makes some mistakes (He’s young), but positive, which is what I want from him … 7
Xhaka – Slows everything down, shovels poop, passed back more often than forward. Is simply not good enough, not quick of thought and action enough to be “the Controller ” in the deep-lying central position. And because he is (trying) to do this job, displaces Terrier to the right, which wastes him through lack of contact with the ball … 3 (for his goal)
Wobbly – End product, passing, shooting, dribbling generally poor. Knocked off the ball several times easily. Dribbles round and round and round and up his own backside … 4 ( for his pass for Xhaka’s goal, and probably something else that I’ve forgotten)
Aubang – Goal. Missed goals, closes down occasionally. Would like to see more heart … 6/7
Laca – Goal. Works hard, makes runs, rarely found due to people like Xhaka not looking up unless opposition back off and then Laca’s runs are marked … 7
Ramsey – Goal … 6
Terrier – ( couple of poor tackles on him. Lucky not to be injured …. again) … 6
And the winger Did he touch the ball?
Referee – Absolute pants (original choice of description didn’t pass the censors – ed). One penalty waved away. Tackles from behind allowed throughout the second half … 1
Written by a slightly miffed (it would seem) LBG
Update/ revision.Watched the 30 mins highlights and up to first goal of full game.
Based on 30 mins highlights – Need to revise Sokratis to 5/6 for pass for Aubang goal. Two players upgraded ( significantly?) Wobbly 6. Come to the conclusion he is best with one touch, first time, short passes over a couple of yards, rather than dribbling down blind alley efforts, which stand out in my mind.
Xhaka 5. (Much) More positive contribution than evident to a blind, one eyed, grey coloured, grumpy old git of a regular attender than appears at the game. ( May change my mind on ‘re watching full 90 mins! The things we do for fun!) Happy New Year. Glad I won’t be one of the 463 at Blackpool. Leave that to Bros.
Good Morning, Folks,
Interesting Posts!! 😁
Wonderful, a double post and at last something to completely disagree with.
Usually I give way to “the man in the ground” but this is an exception. I have to take issue with LBG’s view.
Probably best done through a player assessment
Leno Agree 7
AMN. I thought he was poor first half but grew into the game as Fulham tired. Not an FB but great potential further forward 5
Mustafi. Agree Pants 3
Sokratis. I thought he was the rock in defence (not Kos). Saved us a few times and showed some real silky skills on the ball. 7
Kos. Not a LB. It was no surprise that Fulham’s best chances came from the left, Kos couldn’t handle the pace. 4
Wardrobe. Effective in midfield but when Kos needed assistance with Sessegnon was missing. 6
Ouzi Huge energy. Always working. Not sure where on the pitch he is meant to be and neither is he 6
Xhaka. The butt of the fans mistrust yet I thought he was solid apart from the first 15 minutes. Scored a beauty (off the chest and onto the foot), 6
Wobbly. His best game for ages and all the clever intricate passing movements started with him. Still a boy 8
Laca The hear of the team. 7
Auba. Misssed at least 3 very good chances. The first in the second minute would have settled the team. 5
Ramsey Scored 6
Terrier. Tired 6
Saka. Did nothing wrong at all 10
Oops . Just read LBG’s update 🙂
Emery’s explanation of the Laca substitution was a pleasant surprise. The man knows what he is doing.
As regards the ratings (and on the understanding that I did not see the game) I liked Chas’s ratings, and LBG’s ratings and also Raddy’s ratings.
Who says I am a crawler??
So add each of them up for each player, and divide by 3 and that will probably be more accurate.
Taking Iwobi’s rating that would work out about 7.5 and that sounds about right; or Auba comes in at 7; and Kos at 6.
So without seeing the game, and averaging out the ratings the results work out roughly like the season’s ratings I would give those players.
I forgot to say that Mustafi averaged out at about 4 — which on a season’s basis for me is a bit generous.
He should have gone the summer before last – but nobody wanted him – apparently.
Thanks chas and LBG. I still haven’t seen the game. Your ratings don’t surprise me from the reports I’ve read … but the 3 points is all that matters. We need to keep in touch with the top 4 and keep distance between us and manu.
The rather worrying thing is that the era of ‘we’re just one or two players short of a top team’ is over …. it should now read six or seven!
RA, you are a mathematical genius!
Sorry to hear Queen Elizabeth is dead!
Intriguing to find out Ouzi was covering the shot under the jumping wall, rather than stretching his hamstring at an inappropriate time!! Comical!
AM-N had a great first half. Definite 7.5 now for me!
Lovely second goal! And now have to turn the sound down on these two anti-Arsenal numpties. Commentate on what you see, not what you want to see!
Having ‘re watched carefully, can say, Ramsey get ‘close’ (within two metres) of the certainly talented Seri twice, once as he lined up having come on for the restart throw on, and second on a close down.
Of course, he scored, but if his specific job was to negate Seri, he didn’t. Sorry Dick!
I’ll shut up now, you’ll all be pleased to hear.
Quod erat demonstrandum
Long Live the Queen.
Thanks for the views guys.
I was at the game as well and agree with LGB’s first take on things and not having seen the beautification of the game on MOTD I see no need for updates. It was bog average, yes we scored a few goals against Fulham — who were rubbish but even that didn’t stop us from trying hard to gift them the game.
The thought crossed my mind as I left the ground: how would I write a summary of that game and even though we won I saw no reason to sugar coat it and that is why I give them a swerve, as mother would say, if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything.
Lovely work, LBG, Chas and all. 🙂
Nothing much to add. Glad to pocket the 3 points and a 3-goad addition to the GD score. Onwards and upwards.
I was surprised that the Kostafi combination did not work well. Nevertheless, glad that Kos gota few more minutes under his belt. IMO, we need him to play well.
Even more disappointing was Spurs picking up +3 on GD. All that remains is for Chavs and/or the Manures to drop some points. 🙂
LB. I see the green shoots of growth. The combination between Wardrobe and Wobbly showed potential.
Fulham were ordinary but I enjoyed the game.
For much of the game the danish commentary failed so we had just the noise from the stadium. In the first half the fans were very quiet with groans clearly audible when Wobbly or Xhaka mislaid a pass.
The concern after Fulham scored was palpable with the loudest noise of the game being the booing when Lacazette was subbed. I am surprised we didn’t get a verse of “You don’t know what you’re doing”.
I know the fans have a right to express their dissatisfaction but we need the team to be confident enough to be creative especially after last week’s hammering. The negativity at the Emirates doesn’t help.
It is quite shocking considering our excellent home record.
I am a TV fan and have no right to criticise, perhaps this is a misreading of the atmosphere within the Ems but …..
I agree, Raddy, and this is sad.
Oh no Raddy, you were quite right about the “atmosphere”. Nervously non existent, I would call it. Understand your thoughts about negative feedback live at the Ground, but, although not usual for me, I booed loudly the removal of Laca as a motivated,hard working favourite of the crowd. Honestly, Aubang deserved removal more but my opinion of who I would have subbed has already been stated, and of course Aubang wouldn’t have got his 1from 5 if he was off the pitch.
I would stand Wardrobe and Wobbly against a wall and shoot the pair. Arsenal expect better.
LB. Aaah, the Kim Jong-Un Gambit.
Chelsea buy a 20 y.o- winger for €60+m. Hazard must be off to Madrid or Paris.
Benik Afobe leaves Wolves for Stoke for €12m. Prices are crazy. Makes the €30m for Mustafi …. I was going to write cheap, but that is clearly wrong