24 August 2005

Arsenal 4-1 Fulham

No, really. Two goals for Cygan? You gotta be kiddin' me.

All in all, we ended with a solid win. However, we made the first half look too even, us at home to a relegation candidate. Fulham's goal came from an unfortunate Kolo Toure mis-hit, followed by an inspired chip from Claus Jensen. Lehmann was in the wrong spot and didn't have a chance. 1-0 to Fulham.

Arsenal's answer was uncharacteristically workmanlike. Bergkamp's free kick found three Gunners invading the box. Pascal Cygan was the first there, and put a nicely taken header low past Tony Warner (who was poorly served by the final score). That put us 1-1 at the half.

I'm sure that Wenger chewed out his boys because they returned from the break with a renewed directness. Everyone was shooting rather than passing, and Warner was called into action on numerous occasions. Finally, Thierry Henry broke through, masterfully collecting Jose Antonio Reyes' incisive diagonal pass, and firing it wide past Warner. Henry collected a second on Mattieu Flamini's pass by chipping the keeper. But the goal of the game came from a short corner. With Henry and Bergkamp in the left corner, the cross came to Kolo Toure, who first touched the ball back, then frantically hurdled Cygan's shot. Two center-halves fighting for the goal, while the forwards take the corner. Who woulda thunk it?

4-1 was a bit harsh to Fulham. Credit them for coming out aggressive and looking for the win. For the first half, it wasn't out of their reach. But their 4-3-3 was bound to offer opportunities to Arsenal, and only the fine work of Warner (11 saves) kept them in the match for so long. Yet in the end, the attacking prowess of Pascal Cygan was bound to unlock Warner's goal. (And that Henry kid had a good game too.)

Cheers to the two scorers. And also to Reyes, Aleksander Hleb, and Ashley Cole, who all had very good games. Lehmann did well too. Bergkamp played well, but loses credit for his childish pull on the linesman's flag. He was lucky to see yellow. And Gilberto didn't have a great game either; he had more than a few bad touches and seemed uncharacteristically likely to give away possession at inopportune times.

No match for the Gunners until 10 September, when they travel to Boro. Time to get ready for US-Mexico!

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