Fulham panicked too early and were wrong to sack Coleman when they did. They were not really in such a dire state or in a relegation dog fight like a few of their neighbours in London. Now they brought onto themselves what they were trying to avoid!
In yesterday’s game they dug their own graveyard and got too big for their boots. After they were gifted an equaliser they got too greedy. They went all out for the win and opened up at the back allowing Arsenal and do what most teams deny them, but what they can do very well. To counterattack!
Yet it could have been game over by the end of the first half. It was the same old story again with Arsenal dominating, playing the beautiful game, creating chance after chance but failing to take them. And the scorer of Arsenal’s first goal was the main culprit. Although he took his goal very well he proceeded to miss all the sitters that were created for him.
And we have seen before how the plot of this story usually develops. What we did not expect was not that Fulham would equalise but the manner with which they did! One of Lehmann’s weaknesses resurfaced again: coming off his line when there was no need for it and in a situation which did not have the potential to create danger.
We have at this site argued that Lehmann is a quality goalkeeper but not when he puts performances like that! Let’s hope he returns to his best next week when Arsenal will have the chance to prove that they are a better team than Chelsea and put the final nail in the coffin of their aspirations of winning the Premiership.
The games to goals conceded ratio is nearly one this season which implies that there is a real need to get the defence sorted out. But in our opinion what is needed is more organisation than new players. And this is relatively easier to achieve than buying new defenders and trying to integrate them into a cohesive unit. Now that Gallas has had a season with this defence we would expect him to provide the calm leadership that has been lacking in the past. Also Ebuoe is beginning to find his form again after the injuries he had during the year. With another season under his belt we expect great things from him next year.
But the most improved player in the Arsenal team is Gael Clichy. We think that he is better than Cole was at this stage of his career. His positioning has improved and his pace allows him to correct any mistakes he may make. And his forward play and crosses are excellent.
Arsenal showed that once they start converting their chances and kill teams off they will be serious challengers for next season. Failing to kill teams off has at least been accepted as a weakness by Wenger after the match! Thank god for that! Let’s hope he does something about it during preseason training.
Of course when the heavy guns return from injuries and a few well chosen additions to the squad are made then we may see Arsenal going two or three up in the first half again as they used to do in the Premiership winning seasons. And judging by the way the team has been performing of late we can really see that happening next season.