Or at least, it was his equivalent.
Fulham 1 (Hangeland 21) Arsenal 0
That was painful to watch. We normally keep our transfer business quiet, but it says something that Wenger had admitted we need a central midfielder, and even the normally quiet Cesc is agreeing. Everyone knows it, and if they didn’t, they knew on their way home from Craven Cottage.
Because let’s face it, that was a dreadful performance. Yes, Fulham should’ve been down to ten men early, but it was Eboue who was tackled dangerously, and you have to admit that if you were the ref, you’d have a doubt in your mind whether the tackle really was as bad as it looked – after all, Eboue would roll around like that if you shook his hand.
And there can be no excuses anyway, because you have to be able to beat a frankly poor Fulham side, who weren’t even playing that well themselves. But thanks to some uninspiring and toothless creative play, and another stupid set piece goal, we come away with nothing for the second time in three years.
Ah yes, the goal. Our inspirational leader Gallas lost his man, and instead of chasing after him he simply weakly stood off and watched the goal happen. I know Gallas is an easy target right now, but I’m getting really bored of typing ‘Gallas turned his back’, and ‘Gallas stood off him’ when describing a goal. The guy is our most experienced player, a supposedly top notch defender, and above all else, is supposed to be leading by example. He has some serious work to do to win me over this season.
It is ironic that while ten out of eleven players were below par, the only one playing to expected levels is Eboue. Admittedly, that may be because our expected levels of him are around Conference level, but still, he is actually doing okay in an unfamiliar position. But Denilson beside him was abysmal. How is it that we’ve had two Brazilians in our side recently, and between them they haven’t been able to control a ball (Baptista) or pass it (Denilson)? They’re Brazilian!
There are six days left before the transfer window closes, and while I’m an optimist at even the worst of times, I’m not stupid enough to claim we’ll challenge for the league if we don’t replace Flamini properly. Or the combination of Flamini, GIlberto and Diarra.
Two seasons ago we lost this sort of match all the time, and we had Cesc then, so I don’t buy the popular theory (in the media) that we lost because he’s injured. Of course it didn’t help, but yesterday’s performance was exactly the sort of insipid display that never happened on Flamini’s watch. We need that again.
Over to you Arsene.