A flattering scoreline

I haven’t sounded very supportive of my favourite team, have I? Well, this evening’s match began with a very exciting goal from Julio Baptista, who then went on to miss a few other good chances that surely our top strikers would not have. The only problem is that two of our top strikers aren’t around, which is why Baptista is.
In the second half, Jens Lehmann got more itchy-fingered and started moving out of his goal more often. Most of his decisions to do so were fine. However, he once ran out when he didn’t really need to and that resulted in a ball being lobbed over his head, far behind him, landing in goal. Ugh. I’m so glad I sold off all my BBC Sportdaq shares on him. I’m not terribly excited to hear that the aging goalkeeper is staying on for another year. He should be in the reserves at this stage, if only Arsene Wenger could find a new keeper in time.
On the other hand, maybe we should thank Lehmann for rousing Arsenal into action, as the second half looked like potentially goalless before that. As usual, the Gunners were playing beautiful football that didn’t really result in many solid chances. I thought they were a bit cocky in not trying hard to make the scoreline 2-0. When the going got tough, Baptista was replaced by Denilson. However, the young Brazilian hardly made an impact.
Emmanuel Adebayor, who had injured himself slightly, rose to the occasion and scored a lovely goal. His speed caused some havoc in the Fulham defense, although Arsenal’s own defence started looking more shaky as well.
Despite Arsenal’s complacency, Fulham themselves made a tactical mistake by being too greedy. They could have played safe by settling for a draw, but soon after scoring their equaliser, made it clear that they were out for a winner. This opened them up for more attack. And when a weaker team does that with a stronger team, that’s asking for trouble.
If Arsenal had its Lehmann moment, the same could be said for Fulham. Moritz Volz, who came on as a substitute for the injured Rosenior, committed a foul in the penalty box, right in front of the referee. Shortly after Captain Gilberto scored, Volz proceeded to commit another foul. That was Arsenal’s third and final goal.
For the most part it was an average game. Arsenal was playing at a 6/10 level while Fulham were at about 5/10. I had expected a 2-0 scoreline. However, 20% of ESPN voters expected 3-1, so maybe I haven’t been watching enough football lately and have lost my touch!
Whatever the case, Arsenal have won and they are breathing down Liverpool’s necks. The Gunners need all the points they can get, because they’re playing Chelsea next. Oh, both teams are, actually.
To avoid relegation, Fulham will need to score points desperately in their next match – against Liverpool. If Liverpool do turn the tables on Chelsea and proceed to the next round of the Champions League, I wonder if they would be willing to risk losing their third position to Arsenal by preserving their best players once again.


  1. sggooner

    Hi Van. Your assessment of the game was spot on even though your prediction was not. I predicted a 3-0 win but we had to thank Lehmann for that blemish, eh? Anyway, do join us at the Liz when you can. Make that next Sunday when we host Chelski. It’ll most likely be the last live game of the season…

  2. shaun wong

    >>If Liverpool do turn the tables on Chelsea and proceed to the next round of the Champions League
    Not gonna happen, Pool’s goal-shy attitude this season has really pissed me off big time. Can’t wait to get this season over and done with. I guess the highlight of the season would be beating (a severly depleted)Barcelona(side). Props to Man U for being so consistent and giving Chelsea a run for theur russian roubles.

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