Arsenal 3-3 Fulham: Match Review
All was square in London today as a resilient Fulham rallied to hold Arsenal at the Emirates stadium today. Arsenal were coming off a defeat against Manchester United and a 2-2 draw against Schalke 04 midweek. Arsenal Manager was under immense pressure from the fans to churn out a victory today, but that was not to be.
Arsenal went into the match without defender Andre Santos, who had a torrid time against Antonio Valencia last week. He was replaced by Laurent Koscielny , while captain Thomas Vermaelen moved to left back. Arsenal also went in with winger Theo Walcott and midfielder Francis Coquelin.
Kieran Richardson was withdrawn from the fixture with a hamstring problem early on and Kacaniklic was his obvious replacement. All the early work was done by Fulham, but it was the hosts who prevailed as French striker Olivier Giroud scored his first goal at Emirates, converting a cross from Walcott. The central defenders had a horrific evening as Fulham captain Brede Hangeland frequently lost the ball in dangerous areas. A few minutes later, Arsenal went two up courtesy of some terrible marking by Aaron Hughes, resulting in a Lukas Podolski goal. Arsenal took their foot off the gas and allowed Fulham to peg them back, bringing back horrors of their defensive problems they faced in the previous games. Dimitar Berbatov pulled one back with 28 minutes on the clock, heading in a Brian Ruiz corner.
Now, with Fulham having a feel of the contest, they sprung to life with a very lively Dimitar Berbatov and ever-hardworking Brian Ruiz. A few minutes before half time, it was all square with a Kacanikilic header from a Berbatov cross, one that should have been saved comfortably by Vito Mannone.
The second half saw a more confident Fulham take Arsenal apart in the initial stages. Soon, Fulham were awarded with a penalty for a Mikel Arteta foul on Brian Ruiz. The protests from the Arsenal defenders went in vain as an ice cool Berbatov converted the penalty to give the visitors a 3-2 lead. A shell shocked Arsenal kept probing until another cross found Giroud as he equalized for Arsenal 3-3.
The twilight of the game saw substitute Andrei Arshavin win a penalty courtesy of a handball from German defender Sacha Riether. Arteta stepped up, only for Mark Schawrzer to palm it away and for the final whistle to be blown.
More frustration for Arsenal and Arsene Wenger likewise as he must rouse his team up for next week’s north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur at home, a fixture they have not fared very well in recent times. As for Fulham, they have not lost a single game this month and the game against Arsenal would have increased their confidence as they face Sunderland next week at home.