Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Saturday September 26 2009
Roy Hodgson`s side suffered another defeat as Arsenal snatched a 1-0 win but the performance today was much better than in previous weeks.
As expected Roy Hodgson made eleven changes to the team that had gone out of the Carling Cup, up at Eastlands, in midweek.
Back came the eleven who had lost to Wolves last Sunday as Fulham sought to get a result similar to that which they achieved last season against Arsene Wenger`s high-flying Arsenal.
Unfortunately, matters were hampered as early as the eighth minute as Damien Duff had to limp off with what looked like a hamstring injury to be replaced by Zoltan Gera.
Minutes later William Gallas almost gifted Fulham the lead in a mix-up with Mannone that left the Frenchman in a crumpled heap on the deck. Mannone then pulled off a fantastic save to keep out an Andy Johnson header as Fulham pushed forward.
Arsenal could have taken the lead when Arshavin had a good chance but the Russian saw his shot go over the bar. Meanwhile, instead of benefiting from a free kick we were treated to the sight of Danny Murphy being given a yellow card for the heinous crime of trying to take the free kick too quick, pathetic.
As half time drew ever closer Fulham were on top and Mannone produced a top drawer save to deny Gera from scoring with a low shot. Arsenal, despite all there ability, were looking a poor second to a Fulham side looking more like that of last season.
The second half started with Zamora shooting just wide of the post as Fulham looked to keep control of the match in a similar fashion in which the first half had ended. Sadly it wasn`t to be.
Against the run of play Arsenal took the lead. Konchesky`s error presented the ball to Fabregas and his cross was slickly put away by the Dutchman, Robin van Persie with fifty two minutes played.
Fulham`s response was good and Mannone once again produced a good save to keep out a header from Andy Johnson. Dempsey then saw his shot blocked by Sagna before Gallas blocked a Zamora drive.
As time ran out Hodgson tried to influence matters in the middle of the park by introducing Greening in place of Etuhu, Schwarzer saved smartly from Eboue as time started to be against us and it looked more likely that Arsenal would double their lead instead of us getting an equaliser through Bendtner.
With five minutes of stoppage time announced there was still hope but it was to come to nothing, another home defeat at what was fortress Craven Cottage.
Date:Saturday September 26 2009
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