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The season’s over now. Before we go into actually reviewing what went right or what went wrong and where we can be better, there is still another win for us to reflect back on. Fulham became the last victim for Arsenal this season as they left the Grove having conceded 4 goals to us. Not that the results mattered to them, as their minds as well as their major players were already thinking of Hamburg. Good luck to them on that one.
As for us, the result meant that we kept third place away from Spurs and that also means 2 less fixtures to contend with next season. The final result was flattering considering the opponent. It is hard to judge individual player’s performance in a game like this. The type of game where only 1 side was chasing the game. Where players have already start to think about the World Cup and does not want to over exert themselves in a meaningless game.
Being the last home game and effectively the last match of the season, Arsene Wenger chose to show a measure of respect to the paying fans by playing the best eleven available to him. It was exactly the same 11 who started against Blackburn, with the exception of a returning Andrey Arshavin replacing Carlos Vela. Wenger also deciding against dropping Fabianski and thus ensure that the fumbling keeper continues in goal.
The goals came thick and fast in the middle of the first half. Mark Schwarzer, the Fulham keeper, made a mess of a back pass from one of his defenders and Arshavin was quickly onto the ball. Nicking it off the keeper, the Russian rounded the keeper and finish with aplomb, even though Van Persie was in a better striking position. Bacary Sagna was the one who really made the second goal by providing an incisive reverse through ball for Walcott to run on to. The latter squares to Van Persie who needed a second effort to plant the ball into the net.
The third goal was one that is gifted to Arsenal. Another bout of good work from Walcott on the right whose low cross into Fulham’s penalty area was deflected off a couple of defenders before leaving Chris Baird’s foot last and ending up in Schwarzer’s goal. The match then went into a lull before Vela came on and scored. It was the type of goal that left us all purring for more when we saw him in last season’s Carling Cup. That delightful chip over the on-rushing keeper.
Two players deserve special mention in this game. Of course, Fulham had no intention of actually winning the game. However, if we were to judge players by saying that it is only against a second team or second rated players, we would forever be condemning them. We can’t control what the opposition do, and can only do our best. Samir Nasri showed in this game more desire and effectiveness than he did in 270 minutes of football against Wigan, Man City and Blackburn respectively. Abou Diaby was another who shone in this game. He was the anchor in midfield, playing the Alex Song role. And he did it with discipline, something that many accuse him of lacking. He knew that he was the shield in front of the defence and never ventured on one of his mazy runs through the opposition. It was simplicity with good measure.
Arsenal ended the season the same way they started the season, winning by a big a margin. Too bad, those matches in between did not quite yield the same outcome. This was a season of promise but Arsenal ultimately succumb to inexperience, injuries and lack of real quality. This summer is a crucial time for the manager and the club to reflect on what has been another trophy-less season. The future may still be bright, rebuilding and strengthening starts now.
Season review will be up in a couple of days. Thanks for reading.