TV5 - owed us his goal today
I feel a bit frustrated this evening. You can't win every game, but with Man Utd failing to win at home, and Spurs winning again, I felt a home match with Fulham was a must-win for Arsenal. As it was we should have won the game. Decent chances were created throughout (with Ramsey guilty of a terrible first-half miss) and two, from where I was sitting, good penalty shouts turned down. We should have known we'd get nothing from the referee - Mike Reed has a long list of criminal acts against his name where Arsenal are concerned. We also should have known that Mark Schwarzer would play his obligatory blinder against us (it's amazing how, without fail, he throws one in his own net at Old Trafford every time he plays there).
Arshavin started the game well. I don't know if his disallowed goal was a tight offside decision, though it looked quite close from the other end of the pitch (though not as close as Zamora's in the second-half). I turned to my Dad after about five minutes and said how Arshavin seemed to be up for it today. Should have kept my mouth shut. By the time he was taken off, to a cheer from the crowd, we had endured 75 minutes of him doing next to naff all at either end of the pitch.
Theo Walcott, on the other side of the field, was quite magnificent today. Riise could not get near Theo as he consistently ran past the Norwegian and played dangerous balls in to the box. His cross for the equaliser was truly top class. In recent weeks Walcott has produced a consistent run of form and he has finally showed signs of fulfilling our hopes for him. There is a long way to go, of course, but he should take enormous credit for his recent displays. With his pace he can be truly unstoppable.
I said on the preview piece how I would be upset if any of our defenders were troubled by Bobby Zamora. Consider me duly down in the dumps. Zamora dominated up front for Fulham, and he was too strong and too quick for a decidedly out of sorts Thomas Vermaelen. I was amazed and delighted when Jol took Zamora off. If that had been an Arsene Wenger substitution we would have been going crazy. Vermaelen's own goal was pretty much indicative of his entire display today. Having said that, it is probably a mark of the man that he should pop up with the equaliser shortly after.
Arsenal's substitutions today were interesting. Ramsey had to be taken off as he was awful all day long. However, I wasn't sure why Mertesacker went off with Song switching to centre-back. I would rather have seen Arteta taken off for Diaby. Gervinho came on and did to Baird what Walcott had been doing to Riise form the start. Unfortunately, after we scored the ball stopped going to either of them. The crowd really got behind the team today, especially when we got back to 1-1. Unfortunately it wasn't to be, though I want to see the Van Persie and Santos (the handball) penalty incidents again.
As I said at the start I feel frustrated more than disappointed. I thought we played well for the most part. I was disappointed with Arshavin, Ramsey and Arteta (he never seems to play a forward pass - even in injury time when you're five against four!) Johan Djourou turned in a fine performance at full-back. The Swiss nearly scored with a towering header, and then he secured the point for Arsenal with a magnificent tackle in injury time. Mertesacker was quietly efficient, while Santos was excellent at both ends. It didn't quite happen for Van Persie today, but he will probably be disappointed to have not got a goal, while his link play was first class again. Given all that you can see why it's annoying not to have won.
Next up it's the Carling Cup. Thanks to work I can't be at the game, unfortunately. I shall be using the Skyplus and hoping to avoid the score until I get home. I'll preview that game on Tuesday morning. I'll also try to get something done for either tomorrow or Monday.