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Depressing. Very depressing. As bright and incandescent as Arsenal were the first half, the second half was an absolute blight. The Gunners looked drained, bereft of ideas, and they let Fulham walk all over them. It was an reversion to many a game last season where Arsenal showed distinctly no ambition other than to run out 90 minutes.
Why, oh why do Gervinho and Theo Walcott have no self confidence when it comes to taking shots? The Cote D’Ivoirian had at least three close looks but he spurned them all by passing to players who were not open. It leaves Van Persie with the enormous task of having to come up with goals. And he being only human has his off days. The last five matches have seen only 4 goals with the scoring tailing off perceptibly. It was left to Laurent Koscielny to break the scoring drought with his header, his first goal of the season.
These painful displays are not made easier when decisions go against you. Lee Probert did rob Arsenal of a clear penalty when Phillippe Senderos brought down Gervinho. Even worse, Johan Djourou was sent off for his second “offense”, a very soft foul on Bobby Zamora.
That opened up the door for Senderos and Steve Sidwell, two Arsenal alums to collaborate with each other on a set piece and come up with the equalizer. With Sebastian Squillaci coming on you knew this would end badly.
And lo and behold Squillaci’s botched clearance of a cross saw Zamora letting loose a volley home for a 90th minute winner. It was Jol’s first victory over Wenger in eight attempts. Yet another record set against this Arsenal side in a season that has been good to their opposition. Full marks to a Fulham side that showed up to fight in the second half. And might I say, Brian Ruiz looks awfully good. He was a constant thorn in the side of the Gunners.
Wenger in his press conference chose to rage against Probert but the bigger story really should be Arsenal’s inability to add further to their tally which led them to this embarrassing defeat. Thierry Henry can of course score but clue me skeptical. Wenger needs to find someone who is in his prime of his career.