Fulham 0 Arsenal 3 (Adebayor 19, 38, Rosicky 81)
It is strange to think Emmanuel Adebayor is still not considered worthy of Arsenal by some of the club’s own fans. Top scorer for the season, by some distance, his goals are generally match winners, and have papered over the cracks blown wide open by Henry’s departure and Van Persie’s continual injuries. You only need to witness the ineptitude of Aliadiere at Boro yesterday to understand how preferable it is to have someone of Ade’s ability up front as opposed to the impotent threat we carried at the back end of last season.
Yesterday, nothing less than a win would do, and after a shaky start where the passing went a little astray as it has in recent weeks, we took the lead. Rather than passing through the centre, it was an old fashioned goal, with Clichy overlapping on the left before swinging in a tremendous cross for Adebayor to head into the corner.
It was a smart tactical ploy – with Fulham lacking height in the centre, Adebayor as always going to win the aerial battle, and if anyone thought it was a tactical stroke of luck, their doubts were erased when the same weakness was exploited for the second goal. Flamini appeared to lose the ball before showing the tenacity to win it back, play it to Hleb whose cross found the onrushing Adebayor who powered in his second.
From there, the game was over. Cesc poked a shot wide, and Rosicky hit the outside of the post after an extraordinary Eduardo run and pass which saw him beat any number of Fulham defenders with an array of tricks.
Finally, the third was scored, and as so often this season, it was Rosicky who added the finishing gloss, making a perfectly timed run into the box to reach Eduardo’s cross with an outstretched leg. The Czech was excellent all day, and it has to be hoped that he now stays fit – we’ve seen him hit these heights before only to be crocked and lose his rhythm. If he can stay fit he’ll be a potent weapon for the rest of the season.
Hleb was excellent again, while Adebayor was simply dominant up front. The defence had little to do with Fulham rarely getting past the tigerish attention of Flamini in the centre.
So three routine points wrapped up, and with the bench unused it seems the starting eleven may all be rested for the Spurs game on Tuesday, ready for a Newcastle side equally rested next weekend.
Roll on Tuesday.