Arsenal 0-0 Fulham

Well, at least it wasn't 0-1.

Fulham started brightly enough...they had a dangerous free kick within 30 seconds of the opening whistle. It went harmlessly into the wall, though, and that was about all they had for the next 55 or 60 minutes. The rest of the first half was an Arsenal masterclass of skill, possession, and near-misses. From what I could tell, Fulham's strategy was to take TH14 out of the match as much as they could, and hope for the best. Of course, they couldn't take Henry entirely away from the game, but he wasn't as much of a factor as you'd think.

Anyway, while the Gunners did their Islington Globetrotters impression (although Fulham aren't anywhere near the Washington Generals...you have to say they've been good for their fourth-place standing so far), nobody could get the finishing stroke past Edwin Van der Sar. Hell, I doubt there's been a clearer Man of the Match for any of our opponents this season...the Arse ended up with something like 24 attempts on goal, with about half on target. While we had only one or two chances that absolutely SHOULD have gone in, he still was the only thing between Fulham and a 4-0 or 5-0 loss. On our end, however, it became apparent as the match went on that Pires or Ljungberg or Bergkamp weren't going to find the net. I think that with the way Fulham defended (and it sounds weird saying this about a side that conceded 24 shots), this would have finished 0-0 if they had played 900 minutes rather than 90.

From the 60-minute mark on, however, Fulham managed to get spells of possession for themselves, and managed to get some clear chances for themselves. I think it was Steed Malbranque who went uncomfortably close on a header, and Arsenal loan-boy Mortiz Volz had two chances himself to prove Arsene wrong. Speaking of Le Boss, you have to admire his substitutions...he kept throwing offensive players on (Kanu for the again-mediocre Gilberto Silva, and Aliadiere [who was never in it, sadly] for Ljungberg), but all to no avail. Fulham, for their part, realized that Louis Saha wasn't doing much in his lone striker role, so they brought on Barry Hayles, who was more dangerous.

All this said, the Gunners can probably count themselves slightly unlucky to only get a point out of this. However, it was a brave, battling performance from Fulham, and they earned their reward (leapfrogging past Charlton Athletic into 4th place).

Meanwhile, Chelsea smothered Manchester United completely out of their match, and won 1-0 at Stamford Bridge. They're top of the league now, but we'll see who's back in front by Christmas, let alone the end.


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