Fulham 0 – 3 Arsenal, a promising start

RA Comment:

“The opening game against Fulham was more like what we expected of the Arsenal of Old.

No more pussy footing around waiting for the first Gunners mistake, and then the almost inevitable collapse of confidence, and the spiralling down into the oblivion of another losing start to a Premiership season with the inevitable turmoil of fan anger and despondency.

Early days? Do I hear? Yes, yes, yes.

These are early days, agreed, but gilded with the gold of understandable tactical brilliance already beginning to show under Mikel, and players already schooled to play for each other and their adoring fans.

The player acquisitions from current transfer activities chose to shine, with Willian playing a stormer to back up our main strikers and giving three assists with all the nonchalance of a man who has done it all before over the previous 7 years or so in the premiership. Talented? You bet.

Not to be outdone, Gabriel, who has not played in any competitive games since before the virus struck, was asked to play in the pivotal role alongside Tierney and Holding and was simply terrific. His command in the air, especially when under attack in the penalty area, immediately brought back memories of Tony Adams and Steve Bould and his positional nous and skill were outstanding.

Defensive headers – yes – but from a corner taken by Willian he scored his first goal for us – from a header.Talented? Yes, and there is much more to come from young Gabriel.

The calm way in which the team played while getting the measure of Fulham was impressive, and just to show them not to get too cheeky, a wobbly, weak shot from the man with a thunderous shot, Xhocker, resulted in a meleé, with Willian shooting against the GK leaving the rebound for the alert Laca to score.

And that showed the wonder of Arteta for me, the defence, the midfield and the attack melded into each other in a way I have not seen for years.

Tierney, for example, was key in a CB three, and yet suddenly he was up there supporting the attack, leaving AMN to automatically cover for him, and all throughout the team similar moves were happening, as the well coached and practised exchanges were planned – not the potentially disastrous mad-chicken, one man breakouts we have become so familiar with,

Auba, scored a fabulous goal, the team all played well, and although it was ‘just’ Fulham, as our team settle in, they are going to get better.

Promises for the future to make all us Gooners very happy.”

My player ratings:

Leno 6

Holding 6

Gabriel 8

Tierney 7

Bellerin 6


El Neny 6

Xhaka 6

Auba 7

Laca 7

Willian 7

Willian with 2 assists and Gabriel with a fantastic performance. Gabriel is my MOTM.


91 Responses to Fulham 0 – 3 Arsenal, a promising start

  1. fred1266 says:

    For those who missed it here is the best of

    elneny vs Fulham

    Willian vs Fulham

  2. RC78 says:

    Thanks Fred – those videos are really interesting indeed. Keep them coming 🙂

  3. fred1266 says:

    After seeing elneny yesterday I was wondering what additional can partey offers use, I know partey is a defensive rock but wouldn’t some like thiago like players be better for us

    What I mean like thiago like I mean someone who can defend as well as carry the ball forward along with picking a pass

    I find I saw a lot of over the top balls yesterday

  4. LBG says:

    Good, clear and balanced analysis, as always RA!
    I want to add numbers to two of your “scores” and for good tactical reasons. Firstly I rate Holdings performance as a 7/8 himself. Some of this I believe can be accredited to Mikel since, having apparently somewhat reluctantly thrown Gabriel in, due perhaps to others injuries, he detailed Holding to oversee/closely support him. That he did that to almost perfection, broke Gabriel in nicely and enabled him to show his defensive heading ability and talent on passing forward/dynamically. This oversight also freed up Tierney on the left side of the back three to attack more consistently.
    I had made Elneny and Willian joint MOM, and the former being a water carrier, I think he did that brilliantly and showed both the speed in interception and brains in positioning that Xhaka rarely shows. Like Willian and would have also given both 7/8s.

    But what is clear is Mikel has a plan, has convinced the players of it and proved to them they have the capabilities to execute. The future is bright, the future is Mikel the Manager.

  5. RockyLives says:

    Nice report RC – thanks.

    Love the vid of Elneny – you realise what a tidy and efficient player he can be.

    He’s never going to be any kind of playmaker but he could make a contribution in the squad this season (not as a regular starter, probably).

  6. RA says:

    I am not surprised you saw things pretty much the way I did, LBG, thank you – we often do, actually.

    The player ratings were actually done by RC, which leaves me to agree with your adjustments for Holding as an ‘8’ — and for Willian and Elneny ‘8s’ too. 😁

  7. RA says:

    Hi Rocky,

    I wrote the comment/Post which the excellent RC put up — and as I mentioned to LBG, RC wrote the player ratings. 🤪

    It was not intended as a Post, which is why it was late being submitted.

  8. Sue says:

    Holding deserves more just for channeling his inner Ronaldinho 😄👌

  9. fred1266 says:

    Or inner Henry

  10. Sue says:

    Good one, Fred 😀👍

  11. fred1266 says:

    Gabriel vs Fulham

  12. Sue says:

    Charles Watts:
    “Emi Martinez has completed his £20m move to Aston Villa this afternoon. He has signed a four-year contract.”

    Sad to see him go, but such is life. Best of luck, Emi…. and thank you!

    James Rodriguez starts for Everton!! Come on you toffees!!!

  13. fred1266 says:

    Said to see him go but all the best Emi except when you play us

  14. RC78 says:

    Bye Bye Emi 😦

  15. RockyLives says:

    My apologies – what a careless reader I am!

  16. RockyLives says:

    Oh dear, the poor old Spudders start with a home defeat.

    How long before the Maureen Show starts to rip them apart from the inside?

  17. Aaron says:

    Great day to be an Arsenal fan.

    St Totteringham’s Day off to an early start.

    Hard pass on both keepers we are linked to!

    Auba up next in the cue for positive news!

  18. fred1266 says:

    Yea sold Martinez for 20 to buy a keeper for 10 makes no sense I swear I would have let Martinez start the league if he really ent good enough let him prove it on the pitch

  19. LBG says:

    What a fantastic game of cricket…….and Totteringham. God is red and white.

  20. RC78 says:

    If we are to get a GK, let us get a cheap one…Subasic, Elliot, Beto are all 35+ and free and could provide decent cover

  21. LB says:

    Just managed to catch up on all the comments.

    “Eddie Kelly, Brian Talbot, David Price, Kevin Richardson, Giles Grimandi, Edu, Gilberto Silva, Mattieu Flamini, Alex Song, Tomas Rosicky, Francis Coquelin, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade- Chamberlain, and Mikel Arteta……”

    LGB, you really regard the above as water carriers………

    We must have a different understanding of the meaning of the term.

    Still, spent the day basking in the victory, onwards and upwards.

  22. Sue says:

    Bloody hell, RC… 5 red cards and 14 (?) yellow… that was some mass brawl at the end!! It’s all gone pete tong…..

  23. LB says:

    “José Mourinho blasts ‘lazy’ Tottenham players after Everton defeat”

    Could you imagine Arteta “blasting” the Arsenal team?

    Mourinho has no class what so ever.

  24. LB says:

    This shows the PSG handbags quite well.

  25. RC78 says:

    Am disgusted by the result and my PSG players reaction. Alvaro from Marseille may get suspended for racism towards Neymar though…

  26. LBG says:

    Much in the way of “different understanding”.
    Spice of life!

  27. LBG says:

    Perfect illustration of what a bunch of fairies most footballers are! Call that a punch, Neymar! Most grannies could do better. Rolling around multi times. A disgrace, to be copied no doubt by children across Europe no doubt for years to come. Too much money, too little brains, no common sense.

  28. LBG says:

    Great quotes from today’s papers:-
    Cascarino :- (Normally wouldnt quote anything from this individual!) “All or Nothing? Nothing was Tottenham’s mantra”
    Winter:- “Gabriel answers prayers of long suffering fans – (he) is quick, reads the game well, and possesses a left foot that can launch attacks, including one pass slid 40 yards through Fulham’s midfield to pick ou Hector Bellerin”. So you were at the game this week, or did you watch it on telly!!!?

  29. RA says:


    re “The Punch” — in my experience – not that I have been involved in any such flim flam – the more rolling about after the fisticuffs, the less injury there actually is.

    A clean smack usually scatters the wits, and rolling around is impossible — I have never seen a professional boxer who has been clipped managing even one roll. 😳

    re Emi Martinez – because I am enthralled with Mikel , I am holding my tongue – which makes typing difficult – but I am allowing myself to say – our last GK, put on some spectacular performances towards the end of the season, including the FA Cup quarters, semi and Final — I am sorry to see him go – especially because Leno is a good shot stopper, but handles crosses like a wet bar of soap, and dribbling and passing in his penalty area is like watching a penguin dancing the sugar plum in the Nutcracker ballet.

    Still, I accept these attributes are all part of Mikel’s master plan — confuse the enemy and so on. 🙄

  30. RA says:

    Have to admit that I having a peripatetic lifestyle, I do enjoy sitting down to watch a relaxing day of multi-sports, as I did yesterday.

    Grand Prix: what was going on? Kamikazi driving, cars being blasted from the track etc — I loved it.

    Rugby Union: the already relegated Saracens taking Exeter Chiefs who have a !5 point lead in the Premiership to the cleaners – both sides have many youngsters and ………… I loved it.

    Cricket: I watched England take on the Aussies, and were getting their asses kicked — until everything went pie-eyed and from victory the Aussies grasped defeat – even tho their bowlers are great to watch ….. I loved it.

    Footie: The Spuds and their over the hill manager were shown up as the plonkers they are in the defeat to Every …….. Especially loved it.

    What a day!! 😜

  31. fatgingergooner says:

    It appears Emi wasn’t prepared to sit on the bench so it makes complete sense to get the money for him whilst he’s worth £20m. Arteta made it clear that the back up GK must be willing to support whoever is first choice and it seems Emi wasn’t willing to do that which is fair enough at 28. He will want games now and you can’t blame him really. Obviously we’d rather have 2 top GK’s but it’s very difficult to keep them happy. Let’s get a young back up who can learn from Leno and then use remaining funds to improve other areas.

  32. RA says:

    I hope it will be the Spuds losing to ‘every’ — but you know I typed Everton. 👀

  33. Sue says:

    Our week could be even better come Thursday.. the spuds could bow out of Europe!
    Come on Lokomotiv 🙏😁

  34. Sue says:

    Macey wants out also, he’s now 26!! Like Emi, he wants regular football… you can’t blame him!

  35. LB says:

    If you look hard enough the gems appear.

    (Re Leno) “but handles crosses like a wet bar of soap” (RC)

    I love a bitchy comment………….

  36. fred1266 says:

    Some player eh

    Why emi didn’t have mesut attitude and ozil emi attitude

  37. RockyLives says:

    That PSC-OM video is hilarious.

    Top flopping, as they say in the NBA.

  38. Sue says:

    Looks like Torreira is off to Torino…

  39. LBG says:

    Like RA, my love of all sport (except motor racing) is unbounding. I was no more than a below average footballer, but had quite reasonable success at cricket and even more at rugby, very much in the amateur era. It is the rugby union experience for about 18 years as a hooker that leads to my comment about fairies in football.
    A famous linked story for those with a bit of age involves an ex policeman, England second row called Wade Dooley. 6′ and a lot, did not prevent a French forward in one International match, landing a punch directly on his chin and knocking him out. After a few minutes he came round, sat up and addressed the referee (of course with the respect rugby players show to referees), “Sir,” he said ” dont send that man off!”
    The implication,for non rugby people was, ‘I will sort out my little problem myself, sir!!”

  40. RA says:

    LB @ 12:05

    — “If you look hard enough the gems appear.

    (Re Leno) “but handles crosses like a wet bar of soap” (RC)”

    How dare you sir — that was from my repertoire – RC was not guilty.

    Personally, me, myself, I thought the penguin reference was better — sugar plum fairy et al. 😉

  41. LB says:

    Ooops, mea culpa, please accept my sincere apologies RA.

    Top comparison though………. 🙂

  42. fred1266 says:

    Don’t know how true it is

  43. Sue says:

    “Arsenal are in advanced talks to sign Dijon goalkeeper Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson for €2mil. Deal looks certain to happen.”

    We’re going to have a viking in the team 😄 *viking thunder clap*

  44. RC78 says:

    Runarsson is not bad to be honest but he is not anywhere close to Emi. He is 186cm and is 25 yo. Besides the price tag that is attractive, he would not have been on my radar. That said, he is seen as a good goalkeeper by L1 specialists – he is decent in the air but I do not rate him highly…I hope Leno stays fit and that Runarsson improves a lot and quickly OR…that we go for another keeper. For example, Nantes’ goalkeeper Lafont or Sporting’s GK Maximiniano or Diogo Costa from Porto have a lot more potential than Runarsson imh.

  45. fred1266 says:

    Wow not even given Macey a chance

  46. RA says:


    I think Sue said that Macey has told the club he wants to leave too. Don’t blame him.

    He has never been given a chance to show what he is capable of — just like Emi — he has done his share of loans and playing with the stiffs.

  47. RA says:


    If Runaroundsson is only 1.86m he is a bit short for a GK [6′ 1′]

    Macey is 2.01m [6′ 7″] just like me, and would be much better able to deal with the rough cheats in the Premiership.

  48. RA says:


    I should have said that another of our Sue’s rumour’s is that we want Brentford’s David Raya, but at 1,83m just [6′] he is a tiddler, and should be thrown back in the pond.

  49. Sue says:

    Coming from Dijon (Runarsson), let’s hope he’s able to ‘cut the mustard’ 🤣🤣

  50. RA says:

    Leno and Martinez are both 1.9m [6′ 3″] – that should be a minimum, IMO.

  51. RA says:


    Have you got in mind a special job at Arsenal for Runaroundsson?

    Sandwich maker, maybe.

    Is that because he is a shrimp?

    Speaking of which, I need sustenance to keep me going — a couple of Big Macs maybe.


  52. Sue says:

    Only 2 Big Macs, RA?! Watching your figure?! 😜

  53. fred1266 says:

    I also heard about the raya guy but they want 10m for him

  54. Sue says:

    He wants to come to us, Fred, but Brentford insist he isn’t for sale… they’ve just lost Watkins and looking likely Benrahma too… so they won’t want to lose Raya as well! Although I’m surprised after that clanger in the play off final 😆🙈

  55. Sue says:

    I bet Matt Doherty is watching the Wolves game thinking “What on earth have I done?” 😂😂😂

  56. RA says:

    Anyone else seen this??

    Stan Kroenke’s lack of Arsenal spending exposed by new financial analysis:

    New financial reports show that Arsenal have received no funding for transfers in the last five years from majority shareholder Stan Kroenke as Mikel Arteta looks to further improve his squad

    New financial reports that cover the aforementioned period have shown that majority shareholder Stan Kroenke has not invested a single pound into the club for incoming deals.

    Gunners supporters have shown frustration during the reign of Kroenke in the past, but some would have been pleased by the recent capture of Gabriel as well as Nicolas Pepe, William Saliba and Kieran Tierney last summer.

    It have now emerged that all of those deals were funded by the club’s own earnings, and were not directly connected to any single investment made by their billionaire owner.

    Mikel Arteta has unsurprisingly refused to update supporters on individual targets

    The report, which revealed that Manchester United have paid their owners £89m in that time, also showed that seven clubs have been handed £100m or more than Arsenal by their own owners.

    Swiss Ramble (Blog Site) found that seven clubs have benefited from more than £100m funding from their owners in the aforementioned period, who are Chelsea with £440m, Everton with £299m, Aston Villa with £193m, Fulham with £186m, Brighton with £160m, Manchester City with £142m and Wolves with £131m.

    Arsenal look to recoup some cash as they prepare to sell Emiliano Martinez to Villa, which could help them further their pursuit for either Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid or Houssem Aouar from Lyon.”

    Level playing field? Hmm.

    The fact is that any owner is entitled to spend as much or as little as they want, and as Stan Kroenke has just spent $5Bn on the Rams in the US, I expect that has left him a little short.

    I can lend him £10 to get Thomas Partey. 😛

  57. RC78 says:

    Torreira to Torino for 24 Mln, 12 mln to be paid this year and 12 mln next year. We will remember Torreira for his heroic performance vs Spurs and his good attitude on the field but seems that the EPL was just too big for him at this stage of his career. Hasta Luego Luca!

  58. RC78 says:

    Chelsea very lucky. Brighton has been the better team esp. in the second half. March and Lamptey playing really well.

  59. RC78 says:

    Werner is quality…Giroud and Abraham are gonna be warming the bench a lot

  60. fred1266 says:

    Interesting read about the lack of money from the owner but isn’t that how they wanted financial fair play to work?

  61. LB says:

    You have a great way of cutting straight to the logic Fred 🙂

  62. fred1266 says:

    How much did we pay for torreira

  63. fred1266 says:

    Giroud warms the bench for no one

  64. fred1266 says:

  65. Sue says:

    Fred.. we paid 26m for Torreira

  66. oz gunner says:

    Interesting RE: kroenke and spending.

    I bet if we ever did spend +50-100 million over we’d get done for FFP. Meanwhile the rest do as they please. Chelsea are trying to capitalize on the small spending of other teams during covid by buying trophies again :/

    That PSG OM “scuffle”…jesus. it mystifies me that a player would roll around like that. You’ve got family and friends watching…
    Also, if you’re going to get done for a punch why not make it count? Perfect example is diaby kicking terry into next week.

  67. Sue says:

    Auba has tweeted an egg-timer emoji (again)… omg I can’t stand it, stop toying with us!!
    Could today be the day?! My heart is pounding….😄

  68. Sue says:

    It’s announced and what a great way to do it!!
    ❤ Auba 🥳🥳🥳🥳🥳🥳🥳🥳🥳

  69. RC78 says:

    3 year deal for our captain! COYG! CO Auba!

  70. RockyLives says:

    I’m scared now… I’m starting to feel optimistic.

    Even starting to dream a little…

    Stop it at once RL!

  71. fred1266 says:

    Yea oz I agree make it count, you get red for a joke of a bunch will have to find that diaby kick though

  72. LBG says:

    Your long term experience of supporting The Arsenal must tell you our success stories come after a maximum of 17 years. We have of course, had our FA Cup successes in between, but 2004 – 2021. It’s time for optimism……we will never do a Scouse 30 years!

  73. fred1266 says:

    Ok nice to see we didn’t lose a lot of money in the resale

  74. RockyLives says:

    I had to do some maths there LBG

    17 years back from 2004 was, of course, 1987 and the first trophy under George Graham – beating Liverpool at Wembley to win the League Cup (two goals from Champagne Charlie Nicholas).

    I was there. Great day that laid the foundations for the title win at Anfield two years later.

  75. Hi everyone

    I’m sure you’ll all agree that RC78 has stepped up to the plate magnificently with his posts in the recent weeks. However he is entering a busy time at work and so he isn’t going to be able to be around as much.

    If anyone has any posts up their sleeve, don’t be shy, just email to arsenalnuts@live.co.uk and I’ll try to get it sorted.


  76. LBG says:

    I am sure I saw you there as we bounced around with Champagne Charlie, and 17 years before that…….. another Champagne Charlie!!

  77. RockyLives says:

    Haha LBG

    I remember that one too, but I wasn’t at Wembley sadly.

    Had to watch that one on the tellybox, aged 11.

  78. LBG says:

    You are a youngster, sir!

  79. fred1266 says:

  80. fred1266 says:

    Kroenke side in western conference finals

  81. Sue says:

    Lokomotiv Plovdiv host Tottenham Hotspur in the Europa Qualifying Second Round tonight. For those who haven’t heard of them, they are a (very) small team from North London 😂

  82. LBG says:

    EMI Martinez’s farewell has got to be one of the most heartfelt from any footballer ever. Good luck and thank you Emi, you are your own kind of legend!

  83. RA says:

    Sue, 😜 😜

  84. RA says:

    Come on guys — one of you must be able to write something to knock this crap Post on the head?


  85. Morning all

    We have a New Post ……………..

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