Fulham 2-1 Arsenal – as it happened
Arsenal’s defensive frailty contributed to a crucial red card and a late collapse.
90 + 3 min: That’s it, all over. It’s full time.
90 min + 2: Goal! Fulham 2-1 Arsenal (Zamora). You can’t sell him, Martin. He’s too good to lose. A cross is met by Squillaci, but he heads it back across goal, and he wallops a close range left footed volley straight past the keepr.
89 min: Coquelin pulls the ball back to Rosicky, who curls a shot well wide of the far post. That’s the only Arsenal shot that springs to mind of the last half hour. Frei’s cross into a good area, just behind the defence, isn’t attacked by anyone. Three minutes left of this.
88 min: Huge decision, Koscielny dashes forward to intercept a pass to Ruiz. He can’t get there, and Ruiz is in on goal. However, the defender’s movement made Ruiz look offside, and the linesman went for what looked the right decision.
87 min: Wenger was steaming on the bench when that went in. He was saying things like EFF and CEE. Which stands for FUCK and CUNT.
84 min: Goal! Fulham 1-1 Arsenal (Sidwell). Szczesny comes to claim the corner, and flaps at it. It comes to Senderos who heads the ball across goal for Sidwell to nod into the net from a few yards out.
83 min: Arsenal look very tired now. Their 500 injuries haven’t helped this season, nor has not having a viable alternative to Van Persie, who looks in need of a nap. Zamora’s deflected shot brings a corner for Fulham…
80 min: Arsenal admit defeat. Toto Squillaci is brought on, replacing Ramsay. Brave move to bring on the Italian World Cup sensation.
79 min: The free kick from Kelly was nae guid.
77 min: Red card! Djourou sent off! It’s Mertesacker’s fault. He was caught in possession by Dempsey just outside the box, he puts Zamora through on goal and he runs across Djourou, the defender bringing him down. Free kick just outside the box for Fulham now.
76 min: A Dembele cross is cleared well by Mertesacker. Arsenal are riding their luck, here. The benefit of Benayoun is that he can, I admit, pass and shoot.
74 min: Gervinho is replaced by Yossi Benayoun. He’s alright, I suppose, but would football change if he didn’t exist? Bryan Ruiz has a low shot pushed away, and Fulham are threatening increasingly.
72 min: A couple of minutes’ possession for Fulham in Arsenal’s defensive third eventually breaks down. Arsenal have defended well so far this match, but they’re defending so deep that Fulham are able to have enough shots to be a worry.
70 min: Gervinho drives towards goal from the right hand touchline. His shot/cross is, well, I couldn’t tell what it was exactly.
68 min: Weird. A pass to Dempsey is handballed by Djourou. The referee gives a free kick to Fulham, and then to Arsenal, probably the wrong decision. Kerim Frei replaces Danny Murphy, who has had a quiet game today.
67 min: Andrew Thomas, otherwise known as Twisted Blood, asks on Twitter, ‘were Arsenal not expecting to play two halves?’ It’s a good point, they’ve been a mess. Not quite Manchester United bad, but bad nonetheless.
66 min: So close! Zamora just outside the box puts Ruiz in on the left, he stands the ball up at the far post for Dempsey, who heads only a yard wide. The keeper was beaten, and Mertesacker’s challenge was a disgrace.
65 min: Theo Walcott, who it is now fair to say looks less likely than ever to make it, is replaced for Tomas Rosicky.
63 min: Djourou booked for a late trip on Dempsey. Murphy swings the free kick from about forty yards out, and Senderos wins the header, looping over Szczesny, who came for it but didn’t claim it. There’s nobody on the line, but it drifts just wide. A let off for Arsenal.
62 min: Riise roughly challenges Walcott on the touchline. It’s fair, but Walcott falls over and loses control of the ball, it’s passed towards Dembele who can just about get a shot on goal, but he slices it wide under pressure. It looks like Djourou has groin knack, or he wants to hold his testes. One of the two. Riise with a long throw is cleared at the near post.
60 min: Dempsey is tripped just past the halfway line by Song, who is given his final warning by the ref. The free kick is centred to Sidwell, whose shot from more than thirty yards out isn’t awful, but doesn’t trouble the ‘keeper. My stomach rumbles.
57 min: Walcott passes to Song on the edge of the box, and his pass is so loose the move breaks down. The Premier League misses the good players it used to have. Do you remember Cesc Fabregas? Cristiano Ronaldo?
56 min: That these two teams are playing so lazily while I can smell what would be dinner cooking is the greatest injustice of 2012.
Email me. Please, please, please email me.
54 min: A lull in the game as we resume the boring middle overs after the brief excitement of a new half. Both teams have been sloppy in possession, especially when it comes to crossing.
51 min: A fantastic long ball is picked up by Walcott on the right wing. No other player could have reached that. He has so much space, and time, and his low cross is straight to a Fulham defender. No other player could have done that. Chris Waddle was right.
48 min: Fulham have started the brighter of the two teams in the second half, but haven’t stretched the Arsenal defence especially. A Riise cross is headed over by the oncoming Steve Sidwell. Two ginger people passing to each other and there’s nothing Luis Suarez can do about it.
46 min: Dembele and Bryan Ruiz display some very tidy footwork. The ball is worked back to defence, and then forward to Ruiz, who volleys a knockdown from just outside the area, towards goal. It’s slightly to the keeper’s right but saved easily.
45 min: Here we go again. We’re held up by Arsene Wenger’s late arrival to the dugout. What was he doing? Racially abusing Patrice Evra? Nobody has denied otherwise. Disgusting.
Half time clips: From the game here.
45 + 1 min: Ramsey with a shot from just outside the box, on the right hand corner. It’s struck well, but straight at Stockdale. Fulham now have a corner with probably the last attack of the half. It’s headed over by, as Bellamy would say, ‘that Swiss cunt Senderos.’ And that’s half time.
43 min: Gervinho sprints from deep with the ball, and puts Van Persie through on goal, but he’s a fraction offside. I’m writing down non-chances for your entertainment.
41 min: Countryfile presenter Ethan Dean-Richards, ‘Did you just see Arsene Wenger miss his pocket five or six times in a row a minute ago? What mirth! ‘ I can hear Ethan laughing into his tears.
40 min: Van Persie gives the ball away in Fulham’s half, and eventually Riise crosses from the left towards Zamora, he meets the ball at the penalty spot but can only deflect the corner out towards the corner, and it’s an Arsenal goal kick.
35 min: The match isn’t very good, so here’s a video of Craig Bellamy apparently calling Tim Krul a ‘Dutch cunt.’
32 min: Mary Poppins. Gervinho cuts a ball back to Van Persie, who gets across his marker at the near post, but his shot is saved competently by Stockdale. At the other end, Song with a last ditch tackle prevents Bryan Ruiz from getting off a shot in the Arsenal box.
31 min: Close for Ruiz. He wins the ball in midfield and runs direct towards goal, evading three Arsenal challenges. Just outside the box he curls a left footed shot wide of the near post. That was Fulham’s best chance for a while.
29 min: Song exchanges passes as he strides towards goal. He’s brought down by Sidwell, but the referee plays advantage. Song gets to his feet, and regains the ball but he can’t do anything with it but run sideways. Is Song any good? I never really know. Anyway, an Arsenal free kick on the right is headed away, and Walcott meets the ball to sidefoot shot straight at Stockdale.
25 min: Fulham have a few moments in possession at the back, with the two centre backs and the keeper. A long ball wins a through in the corner of the box, and Zamora curls in an excellent left footed cross from the corner of the box, and is put out for a corner. Szczesny claims the corner without any trouble.
22 min: Stockdale with a couple of fantastic saves in the space of half a second. Frst, Ramsey meets a low Walcott cross, but Stockdale dives quickly to save his shot, and is back up fast enough to save Song’s attempt at a rebound.
20 min: Goal! Fulham 0-1 Arsenal (Koscielny) Fulham can’t clear a Van Persie corner properly. A long shot is repelled, until the ball finds Aaron Ramsey just to the left of the D, his cross is deflected by a defender’s leg, and it hangs in the air, dropping to Koscielny to head into the corner of the goal. He was in huge amounts of space, and Fulham would have expected to at least lose to a better goal than that. If they don’t equalise, that is.
18 min: Dembele is caught late by Walcott or Alex Song – as he releases the ball. Obviously I can tell the two Arsenal players apart, before you get all Luis Suarez at me, but they were both challenging him at the same time. The free kick from the left is wasted.
15 min: Walcott announces his presence in the game by being called offside. He hasn’t seemed particularly competent when I’ve seen him this season. Ramsey wins the ball for Arsenal in midfield, spreads the ball left to Gervinho whose poor cross is cleared. Gervinho is excellent at getting into space, and less good at doing something constructive.
12 min: Gervinho gets on the end of a through ball from Van Persie – a delightful pass – he’s round the back of the defence, and he cuts in from the left, just yards from goal, and he tumbles. There’s no penalty given, and I assumed it was a penalty, but I’ll need to see again what happened. At the other end Fulham break, and win a free kick. From the replay, it looks like the Fulham defender stuck a leg out, but Gervinho went down very easily. So who knows? From Murphy’s free kick Hangelaand heads firmly over.
11 min: Szczesny with a smart save to his right, as Zamora finds room in the box to shoot, with Koscielny dithering in front of him. Zamora shot with his right, and I think the defender was expecting him to turn onto his left.
8 min: Van Persie takes a corner from the right, it evades everyone but for Gervinho, who loses Sidwell in the box, but he can only volley it way, way over.
6 min: Koscielny bursts forwards like Phil Jones, and puts a hard past to his left out for a throw in like Phil Neville.
5 min: Coquelin is robbed just outside the penalty box but gets away with it as Ruiz and Zamora try to be better than, in truth, they are.
4 min: A Riise long through is headed out, and Danny Murphy Nanis it well over the goal, and possibly stand.
3 min: Arsenal have the majority of the possession as the game gets under way, and Ramsey turns neatly in the right hand channel, gets into the box but can only aim a weak shot at the keeper, who is… Stockdale! I’m glad I checked.
2 min: Van Persie with a delightful flick sets Gervinho free down the left. He pulls the ball back across the box, eventually gets the ball back on the left, just inside the area, and his shot is high and wide of the goal.
1 min: We’ve kicked off. What a strange new year 2012 is.
MA PREDICTION: Is that it’ll be a one all draw. Meanwhile, I’m rewatching Inglourious Basterds.
Team news, beaten with a statue in its living room, wrapped up in carpet, deposited in a boot, released to dig its own grave in the snow, only to escape, but to be brought down with a shot to the top of the skull:
Fulham: Stockdale; Kelly, Senderos, Hangeland, Riise; Ruiz, Sidwell, Murphy, Dembele; Dempsey, Zamora.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Djourou, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Coquelin, Song, Arteta, Ramsey, Walcott, Gervinho, Van Persie.
Well, it is lovely to be back. Words cannot express the happiness I feel at returning to the internet in 2012. Last year came death threats, rows with fucking morons at other websites, and the death of competent journalism and sports writing with the exception of this website. OK then, not just this website. I do a couple of others so I suppose they’re OK too.
The game though, that’s what we’re all huddled round our 7-inch-screen netbooks for, isn’t it? EXACTLY. Fulham are alright, Arsenal are better than Alright and have the devilish motherfucker Robin Van Persie up front, if he starts – team news as soon as I get it.
Happy New Year etc?