Author Topic: Sunday Fulham Stuff (19/01/14)...  (Read 2968 times)

Offline whitejc

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Sunday Fulham Stuff (19/01/14)...
« on: January 19, 2014, 08:42:53 AM »
 
Fulham's first half promise at Arsenal undone by Cazorla
 
Whites impress in patches - but not enough to trouble Premier League leaders

Arsenal 2-0 Fulham

Two goals from Santi Cazorla at the start of the second half wrecked Fulham's hopes of taking anything from their visit to the league leaders.

The Whites had looked composed and well organised during an even first 45 minutes, but once the Spanish midfielder had pierced the massed defensive ranks, there was only one outcome likely.

In truth Rene Meulensteen's men rarely threatened during a one-sided second half and it became more a question of damage limitation for the Whites and a matter of routine for the hosts.

Fulham may still be looking for their first ever win at Arsenal, but they have been in the habit of making life uncomfortable for the Gunners at Emirates Stadium in recent seasons.

And they gave as good as they got in a tight first half of few clear-cut chances.

The Whites looked far more solid at the back than they had done during Brede Hangeland's absence and it was no coincidence that his return to league action gave Fulham the steeleness they have been craving. Dan Burn too put in an assured performance on his Premier League debut.

There was also a sharpness about the counter-attacking which promised – but that was less of a feature once the Gunners were in front.

Hangeland was soon needed – sliding in to clear a goalbound shot off the line after Jack Wilshere had played in Mesut Ozil.

At the other end, a linesman's flag may ultimately have intervened, but there was encouragement to be had from Steve Sidwell's full-blooded drive from outside the area that Wojciech Szczesny had to stretch to tip over.

Then Ashkan Dejagah almost got to a quick ball played in from the right by Sascha Riether – Arsenal's keeper being alert enough to snuff out the danger.

Maarten Stekelenburg pulled off the save of the half – getting down low to his left to keep out a shot from Bacary Sagna – the ball having broken to the full-back inside the box after a Cazorla free-kick had been blocked.

Arsenal were bound to up the ante after an unimpressive first half showing and they did not have to wait too long to get their noses in front.

Patient probing almost bore fruit when Serge Gnabry cut onto his left foot for force Stekelenburg into another save.

Soon after, Fulham were at sixes and sevens when Sagna had a shot blocked as the pressure mounted, but in the very next attack on 57 minutes, Cazorla broke the deadlock with a smart finish past Stekelenburg's left hand after moving on to a Wilshere cut-back.

The Spaniard instigated the move in the first place and was now on a high, so it was perhaps no surprise that he found the net again five minutes later with a left footer from outside the area after Fulham failed to deal with a cross from the left.

Darren Bent was brought on for Dejagah in the hope of finding a way back into the contest.

The striker almost netted after rounding the keeper in the final minute, but put his shot wide under pressure from a defender.

As it was, Arsenal sub Lukas Podolski went closest to adding to the scoreline with a thunderous shot that Stekelenburg did well to help onto his near post.

Pajtim Kasami's late free-kick almost squirmed past Szczesny, but it would only have been a footnote.

Line up: Stekelenburg; Riether, Hangeland, Burn, Richardson; Parker, Sidwell, Dejagah (Bent 68), Dempsey, Kacaniklic (Kasami 86); Berbatov. Subs not used: Stockdale, Riise, Hughes, Karagounis, Duff.

Attendance: 60,000



http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/sport/football/match-reports/fulhams-first-half-promise-arsenal-6525957?

Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (19/01/14)...
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2014, 08:46:03 AM »
 
Dimitar Berbatov fails to win over Arsenal fans – and makes few friends at Fulham – in display at the Emirates


Dimitar Berbatov didn’t win many fans this afternoon (Picture: Reuters)
Dimitar Berbatov failed to impress fans at his prospective new club as Fulham lost 2-0 at Arsenal.

The striker has been linked with a January switch to the Emirates with Arsene Wenger keen to add to his attacking options for the business end of the season.

But after the Bulgarian’s display in north London this afternoon, it seems few Gunners will be urging their club to rush into business with Fulham, while the Cottagers may be keen to see the back of the 32-year-old.

Arsenal fans react to Berbatov





http://metro.co.uk/2014/01/18/dimitar-berbatov-fails-to-win-over-arsenal-fans-and-makes-few-friends-at-fulham-in-display-at-the-emirates-4268209/?

Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (19/01/14)...
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2014, 08:50:01 AM »
 
It's not grim for Grimmer


Jack Grimmer: Bagged the winning goal

Port Vale's teenage defender Jack Grimmer scored the only goal of the game on his home debut in a 1-0 victory over Oldham.

Grimmer, on loan from Fulham, headed home early in the second half to extend Vale's unbeaten home run to six matches.

Defences were on top in the early stages before Gary Harkins squandered a great chance for the visitors when he screwed his shot wide.

Vale responded with a Tom Pope shot, which was deflected off target before the home side suffered a blow with a serious injury to debutant Florent Cuvelier.

The Belgian midfielder, on loan from Sheffield United, collapsed in agony after turning his knee and was stretchered off and replaced by Chris Shuker.

Vale were fortunate to escape a mighty scramble in their penalty area in the last minute of the first half when Harkins squandered the best of three chances.

But the home side made a positive start to the second half and took a 52nd-minute lead.

The unmarked Grimmer headed Shuker's right-wing corner inside Mark Oxley's right-hand post from eight yards.

Jennison Myrie-Williamson should have put Vale in the comfort zone when his 65th minute penalty was brilliantly saved by Oxley following James Dayton's trip on Pope.


http://www.teamtalk.com/match/report/978/9122758/It-s-not-grim-for-Grimmer?


Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (19/01/14)...
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2014, 08:51:34 AM »
 
Meulensteen remains positive
Rene Meulensteen remained upbeat despite seeing his side lose 2-0 to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.


Rene Meulensteen: Saw Fulham lose 2-0

Two second-half goals from Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla secured the points for the home side.

But, speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Meulensteen remained positive.

Meulensteen said: "I thought we did really really well in the first half and we were well organised.

"We know the area we needed to address with regards to our defence.

"I stuck with the same side which did well against Norwich in the cup. In the second half we knew they would come out of the blocks, we knew they would push for the goal and when they got it that turned the game.

"We needed to have patience at times and recognise the space to turn and get behind them but the final ball just didn't come today.

"I thought we did well clearing our lines at times and we got away with it but in the end Cazorla hurt us."

Defender Brede Hangeland backed Meulensteen to succeed in keeping the club in the Premier League.

He said:" We've got a lot of good players but so have everybody else, it's a real battle but we're ready and prepared to get enough points to stay in the league.

"We're playing in a slightly different way I think things are very organised and we know exactly what we are trying to do. It's about getting that transformed onto results on the pitch and I'm confident that will happen."



http://www.football365.com/fulham/9122811/-?

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (19/01/14)...
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2014, 08:53:34 AM »
 
Meulensteen bemoans 'typical Arsenal goal'

Fulham head coach Rene Meulensteen feels his side fell victim to a "typical Arsenal goal" in their 2-0 defeat on Saturday.

Santi Cazorla was on the end of a slick passing move to put the hosts ahead shortly before the hour mark at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday before doubling the advantage from 20 yards five minutes later.

And, despite being pleased with his side's first-half display against the Premier League leaders, Meulensteen believes his players could have defended better in the build-up to the opener.

"I was very pleased at half-time, to say the least," he said. "I thought Arsenal started strong but we got into our stride.

"We knew that we needed to have a very solid defensive performance if we wanted to get something out of the game.

"I thought, on the back of the Norwich performance in FA Cup (a 3-0 win), I stuck to the same defensive line with the same goalkeeper and I thought we looked very comfortable in the first half at times.

"The quality of player that they've got, if you have moments where they are moving the ball around quickly and you just switch off one moment and don't track runners, they can hurt you and that's what they did.

"It was a typical Arsenal goal, but we clearly worked hard this week on making sure you keep defending the danger area, but especially make sure you stay with the runners rather than following the ball. That's what happened in the first goal."

The result leaves Fulham one point clear of the bottom three in the Premier League.



Read more at http://www.fourfourtwo.com/news/meulensteen-bemoans-typical-arsenal-goal#EUWY5CoBfcrpjy2t.99

Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (19/01/14)...
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2014, 08:55:19 AM »
 
No More Moral Victories: Thoughts on Fulham's 2-0 Loss to Arsenal


Clive Mason

There were bright spots for Fulham today, but bright spots don't win points. Unfortunately, Sunderland, Norwich, and Crystal Palace do.

There's not really much to say about Fulham's performance away at Arsenal today. Individual player critiques would be composed mostly of split hairs. Pajtim Kasami perhaps would have been more industrious than Clint Dempsey playing underneath Dimitar Berbatov, but one can hardly fault Rene Meulensteen from giving the American the berth in the first XI. Ditto Dimitar Berbatov. The Bulgarian slowed down a number of Fulham counterattacks and dropped deep into space more efficiently occupied by Dempsey, but he also relieved pressure on the oft under siege Fulham back line and allowed the Cottagers to enjoy a healthy chunk of possession in the middle and final thirds of the pitch. Darren Bent may well have nicked a goal on a fleet counterattack, but it's also likely Fulham would have been stretched more quickly and more often had he been included from the first whistle. For my money, it's a push.

The performances of Dan Burn and Brede Hangeland have to be where the Fulham faithful draw their succor. The Cottagers' back line looked altogether more composed, competent, and organized than they have at any point thus far this campaign. There was a measure of grit and a willingness to hold the line, so to speak, that has been largely absent in numerous surrenders earlier this season.

I hesitate to write much more - either for or against individual players, tactical decisions, etc - because the depths simply aren't there to plumb. Given the disparity in quality that exists between the two sides, Fulham played very well, perhaps better than they've played all season. However, Fulham lost 2-0. Arsenal, injury depleted though they were, have more depth and quality in all areas of the pitch, and that quality eventually shone through. End of story.

The time for moral victories, encouraging losses, and partial triumphs is well and truly over. Fulham must win points now. Ugly points, pretty points, lucky points, undeserved points...it matters not. Well played today, but not well enough. On to the next one.



http://cottagersconfidential.sbnation.com/2014/1/18/5322448/no-more-moral-victories-thoughts-on-fulhams-2-0-loss-to-arsenal?


Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (19/01/14)...
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2014, 08:57:21 AM »
 
Dan Burn and Brede Hangeland spell hope for Fulham’s future


Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud, right, competes for the ball with Fulham’s Dan Burn (Picture: AP Photo)
We shouldn’t admit it, but no-one really thought we’d beat Arsenal on Saturday. No matter our form, no matter our momentum, this was a a game that was written off well before kick off.

It’s a depressing outlook to have but there’s only so much a depleted squad like Fulham’s can do when faced, away from home, with one of the most ruthless and talented teams in the league. There would be resistance, but it would be ultimately futile.

For 45 minutes at least, we defended valiantly and weren’t afraid to press Arsenal ourselves. Steve Sidwell was his typically sprightly self and forced a superb save from Wojciech Szczensny.

But it all came undone in characteristically cataclysmic fashion, conceding two within a matter of minutes, but this should not detract from a genuinely brilliant defensive performance.

And a lot of that comes down to Dan Burn. It seems the 21-year-old has finally earned the trust of Rene Meulensteen and he’s paying him back almost immediately.

He’s not flawless – very few defenders are – but his performances against Norwich, and also in the far more unnerving atmosphere of the Emirates, have been refined and polished. Rarely making a mistake, he has added a touch of class to a back line that has become infamously porous.


Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla scored twice to eventually sink brave Fulham (Picture: AP Photo)
It hasn’t all been him though, of course. Brede Hangeland’s return is noteworthy too. Both Burn and Hangeland have managed to form a quite formidable partnership in their little time together despite their quite noticeable similarities.

Most centre-back pairings are formed through contrast – little and large, slow and pacey – but these two complement each other through their uncanny resemblance.

Both are tall, well built and reasonably agile, yet neither are blessed with pace. Instead, they use their intelligence to halt the opposition and the more Burn plays at this level, the better that part of his game will become.

Perhaps their most endearing trait, though, is their ability on the ball – something that defies their towering statures. The pair are content in playing the ball out, passing with nous. It all makes for an overall system that encourages attractive football, starting from the back.

It didn’t work against Arsenal but, still, Meulensteen was tactically spot on. That fact, and our new, emerging centre-back partnership, means this was no fruitless journey to North London.


http://metro.co.uk/2014/01/18/dan-burn-and-brede-hangeland-spell-hope-for-fulhams-future-4268235/?

Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (19/01/14)...
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2014, 08:59:10 AM »
 
Fulham boss gives thumbs up to Dan Burn for cool league debut
 
Meulensteen praises Dan Burn and takes heart, despite defeat at Arsenal


Dan Burn
Rene Meulensteen hailed youngster Dan Burn for a calm league debut at Arsenal – saying the defender's performance was one of many reasons why his side could take heart from the 2-0 defeat.

The Fulham boss agreed Emirates Stadium was not the easiest of venues to make your first start in the Premier League, but said he had every faith the 21-year-old would vindicate the decision.

“He earned the right to start today,” Meulensteen said. “He had two fantastic performances in the cup against Norwich and I think he did ever so well – fantastic.

“It was a great experience for him and hopefully he can kick on from this.

“We've taken a lot of heart from this performance and a lot of positives. We were well organised and defended well, but we always know that Arsenal do have the quality that if you switch off just for one moment, and don't track runners, it can cost you.

“I was disappointed with the second goal. At 1-0, I thought we could still nick a goal, but it wasn't to be.”

The Fulham boss added: “I thought we did ever so well. We were up against a top top side who have had a fantastic season so far. We know what they're capable of but I think we limited them.

“After the strong start they had, I thought we were comfortable at times and if we had produced a bit more quality ourselves, then we could have maybe nicked a goal in the first half.

“We have been a bit inconsistent, winning, losing, winning losing, but some of the performances have been very very good – when we shouldn't have lost – and I think that showed today.”


http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/fulham-boss-gives-thumbs-up-6526741?

Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (19/01/14)...
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2014, 09:03:19 AM »
 
Rene Meulensteen disappointed not to score

Fulham head coach Rene Meulensteen has admitted that it was a disappointment that his side did not manage to score against Arsenal in their 2-0 defeat on Saturday.

The Cottagers improved defensively but could have scored in the first half if not for some poor decision-making, with Meulensteen saying that a goal in the first 45 might have changed the outcome.

"The only disappointing thing today was not getting a goal," he told the club's official website. "In the first half it would have changed the completion of the game, but at 2-1 in the second, we could have put some pressure on them.

"A lot of our performances have been very good but we haven't got out of it what we deserved. We are improving and we need to improve our defensive record but today was a really good defensive performance compared to what we've had in previous games where we've been good going forward but conceded easy goals.

"Today's goals were quality from Arsenal's point of view rather than poor defending from us."

Fulham moved down from 17th to 16th after the defeat.


http://www.sportsmole.co.uk/football/fulham/news/meulensteen-disappointed-not-to-score_131312.html


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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (19/01/14)...
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2014, 09:04:48 AM »
 
Transfer news: Three Premier League clubs are tracking Aston Villa's Alan Hutton


Alan Hutton: Out of favour at Aston Villa

A number of Premier League clubs are weighing up moves for Aston Villa defender Alan Hutton.

Sky Sports understands Fulham, Norwich and Stoke are all keeping tabs on Scotland international Hutton as they look to bolster their defensive options in this month's transfer window.

Hutton enjoy loan spells at Nottingham Forest and Real Mallorca last season after finding himself frozen out of the first-team picture at Villa under Paul Lambert.

Mallorca and several Spanish sides made moves to sign Hutton in the summer, but a deal failed to materialise and he found himself back at Villa Park.

The 29-year-old has again failed to figure under Lambert this term and he is thought to be keen to move on to get his career back on track.

Fulham, Norwich and Stoke are all thought to be keen on bringing in a new right-back this month and former Tottenham and Rangers man Hutton is thought to figure highly on their wanted list.


http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/11095/9123308/transfer-news-three-premier-league-clubs-are-tracking-aston-villas-alan-hutton?

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (19/01/14)...
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2014, 09:06:32 AM »
 
Fulham to bid for Burnley hitman Danny Ings as Rene Meulensteen looks to inject young blood into team

The England U21 striker has scored 21 times this season and continues to attract interest from Premier League clubs


Goals galore: Ings has scored 21 times for Burnley this season
Paul Thomas

Fulham will make a January bid for Burnley hitman Danny Ings.

The England Under-21 striker has netted 21 times in a prolific first half of the season for the Championship high-flyers.

Craven Cottage boss Rene Meulensteen is desperate to sign a striker and to inject young blood into his ageing team this month and has persuaded the club to make an offer of around £4million for 21-year-old Ings.

Ings played non-league football after being released by Southampton but was snapped up by Bournemouth, who sold him to Burnley in 2011.

After being plagued by knee injuries for two years, Ings has proved a massive success this season and was handed his first England Under-21 cap by Gareth Southgate.

Fulham have loaned out Costa Rican forward Bryan Ruiz to PSV Eindhoven, while Dimitar Berbatov remains unsettled at the Cottage.

Meulensteen is also likely improve the £2million offer they had rejected by Leicester for centre-back Liam Moore this year.



Check out all the latest News, Sport & Celeb gossip at Mirror.co.uk http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/transfer-news/fulham-transfers-danny-ings-bid-3035957#ixzz2qpk5z038
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Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (19/01/14)...
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2014, 09:08:37 AM »
 
Al Fayed’s ‘statue of liberty’ for independence


Multi-millionaire ready to set love of Scotland in bronze in event of independence. Picture: Getty

Scottish independence: He masterminded the ­restoration of Harrods, owned the Ritz Hotel in Paris and used his wealth to buy an English Premiership football club and a Highland estate.

But now Mohamed Al Fayed has expressed his determination to gift a “statue of liberty” to Scotland in the event of a vote for independence.

The tycoon, worth an estimated £850 million, insists the Scots are descended from an Egyptian princess and has commissioned his official sculptor to create an image of the legendary Princess Scota, to symbolise national rebirth.

Al Fayed, who owns the 65,000-acre Balnagowan estate in the Highlands, said: “When Scotland becomes independent it will need a female symbol to personify its greatest characteristics – courage, foresight and intelligence. England has Britannia, France has Marianne and Scotland should have Princess Scota. Honouring Scota in the form of a statue is long overdue. She was a phenomenal leader and princess.”

The proposed sculpture has been designed by Bill Mitchell, who also created the memorial to Al Fayed’s son, Dodi, and Princess Diana at Harrods.


According to legend, Scota, the daughter of Pharaoh Chencres, took to sea 3,600 years ago after a quarrel with her ­father, taking with her two sons and the Stone of Destiny, on which Scottish kings would later be crowned. The princess is said to have died shortly after discovering a windswept land off the north-west coast of Europe, which became home to her sons and which was named in her honour.

Al Fayed also claimed his forebears brought the kilt to Scotland. He said: “At school in Egypt our teacher told us about Princess Scota and how she sailed to Europe with her soldiers and chose Scotland as the new frontier for her people to settle in; they named the land after her. Being Egyptian, Scota’s soldiers wore the kilt, a piece of traditional clothing.”

The former owner of Fulham FC, who has made no secret of his desire to apply for Scottish citizenship post-independence, added: “The Egyptians had incredible genes, which helped them create the strongest nation the world has ever seen.”

Mitchell also designed the controversial statue of Michael Jackson, which was erected outside Fulham’s Craven Cottage stadium in 2010.

He believes the statue of Scota could become a landmark. He said: “She would be 8ft high, stand on a reasonable plinth and be very imposing.

“My design is in the style of the 18th dynasty of Egypt where one foot of royalty was always forward.

Bill Mitchell’s autobiography; Self Portrait, The Eyes Within is published by Whittles.



http://www.scotsman.com/news/odd/al-fayed-s-statue-of-liberty-for-independence-1-3273578


Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (19/01/14)...
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2014, 09:10:06 AM »
 
How Clint Dempsey did Saturday for Fullham against league-leading Arsenal

There were some encouraging signs for little Fulham as the Cottagers traveled across London to meet the Premier League leaders. After an opening 10 minutes or so when Rene Meulensteen’s side couldn’t find the ball, Fulham managed the Emirates heavyweights fairly well before the break.

Some things got a little, uh, “loose” in the second half, but again, it was a performance they could build on. There were things Fulham fans can like from Saturday.

Unfortunately, Clint Dempsey’s performance wasn’t among them.

Dempsey played in the “hole” behind striker Dimitar Berbatov, and the second guessing immediately commenced. Would Pajtim Kasami perhaps been a more effective fit in a game where the visitors were always bound to be chasing the ball? I suppose we’ll never know.

Berbatov managed to crowd the space a few times where Dempsey would operate (in addition to slowing down a few counter attacks). But it’s all nitpicking at some point, as this was always a tough order.

It was especially a tall task for Dempsey, who has never done particularly well against Arsene Wenger’s club. This was his 13 appearance, in fact, and the U.S. attacker is still looking for his first goal. (Arsenal is one of the few PL teams, in fact, against which Dempsey has not scored.)

Dempsey clearly isn’t fit, and not surprisingly so. He showed up only late in December, and with so many matches for Fulham lately the full training sessions have been few. This was the fifth Fulham match for which the important U.S. man was available, having last been on the bench but unused in the mid-week FA Cup victory.

There were times when Dempsey looked labored or slow Saturday. Again, that’s not shocking. This is Arsenal, after all, well-organized and highly talented. With Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla and Mathieu Flamini buzzing around the center of the park, a lot of players might look slow.

Dempsey did get into a few good positions Saturday, and that was encouraging. On the other hand, the confidence has yet to arrive, as evidenced by his usual choice to pass up shooting opportunities once into those positions.

Next up for Fulham: A fourth-round FA Cup opportunity against Sheffield United, a big match for the Cottagers.


http://prosoccertalk.nbcsports.com/2014/01/18/how-clint-dempsey-did-saturday-for-fullham-against-league-leading-arsenal/?

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (19/01/14)...
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2014, 09:47:56 AM »
 
René Reaction

René Meulensteen insisted there were ‘lots of positives’ to take from Fulham’s 2-0 defeat at Arsenal.

A resilient Fulham side were the better team in the first 45 minutes but were eventually undone by two second-half goals by Santi Cazorla.

“I was very pleased at half-time to say the least,” said Meulensteen afterwards. “I thought Arsenal started strong but we got into our stride. We knew that we needed to have a very good solid defensive performance today if we wanted to get something out of the game. On the back of the Norwich City performance in the FA Cup I stuck to the same defensive line and goalkeeper and I thought we looked very comfortable in the first half at times. If we’d produced a bit more quality in the final third we could have maybe nicked something.

“We were pleased at half-time and I couldn’t have asked for anything more from the players. We knew it was going to be even harder in the second half because they were going to step it up. The quality of players they’ve got, if you switch off for a second and don’t track the runner, they can hurt you and that’s what they did for the first goal.

“We lost the three points but there lots of positives to take from the performance from our point of view.”

Arsenal made the breakthrough in the 57th minute and soon added a second just after the hour mark but Fulham continued to press and could have set up an exciting finish when substitute Darren Bent shot wide.

Head Coach Meulensteen continued: “[The first goal] was a typical sort of Arsenal goal. We’d worked hard all week in making sure we stayed with the runners rather than following the ball but that’s what happened.

“When you’re losing 2-0 you have to throw something different at them and I felt that Arsenal were leaving space in behind so that’s why I introduced Darren. He’s great at doing that as he proved by nearly getting a goal.

“The only disappointing thing today was not getting a goal. In the first half it would have changed the completion of the game, but at 2-1 in the second, we could have put some pressure on them.”

The result leaves Fulham just above the drop zone in 17th place but Meulensteen remains confident his men can survive relegation.

“I lot of our performances have been very good but we haven’t got out of it what we deserved,” he said. “We are improving and we need to improve our defensive record but today was a really good defensive performance compared to what we’ve had in previous games where we’ve been good going forward but conceded easy goals. Today’s goals were quality from Arsenal’s point of view rather than poor defending from us.

“It’s going to be the most exiting league for many years, top and bottom,” he continued. “There are so many teams involved and one win can get you up the table but not necessarily out of trouble. You can take nothing for granted and try and pick up every point you can because it will count at the end.

“I think we can survive, definitely. The sprit is very, very good. We’ve got plenty of quality in there and in the short time I’ve been here we’re improving all the time. What we need is a run of results but that’s not always easy because of the opponents you’re playing.”

Meulensteen handed a league debut to Dan Burn after his impressive displays in the two FA Cup with Budweiser games with Norwich City. And the young defender belied his tender years by producing an excellent display alongside Brede Hangeland.

“I think he’s got a bright future,” said Meulensteen. “We recalled him from Birmingham City for the Norwich away cup game and it was the right thing to have a look at him and see where he was at. We kept him on and all credit to Lee Clark and his staff for what they’ve done with him as he’s developed into a very mature defender. To throw him in for a game like this is a massive test of ability and character and we can all agree he had a fantastic game.”


http://www.fulhamfc.com/news/2014/january/18/rene-reaction

Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (19/01/14)...
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2014, 09:49:09 AM »
 
Arsenal Stay Top, ‘Drop’ Worries Grow For Fulham

LONDON, Jan 18, (AFP): Santi Cazorla’s double ensured Arsenal remain at the head of the Premier League table following a 2-0 home victory over struggling Fulham on Saturday. Spain playmaker Cazorla struck twice inside five second half minutes to ensure Arsene Wenger’s side secured a fifth successive league victory. This was an underwhelming performance from Arsenal but it was enough to keep the north London club a point clear of second-placed Manchester City and reinforce the view they will be hard to dislodge from top spot. Defeat combined with results elsewhere meant Fulham dropped to within one place and one point of the relegation places, although manager Rene Meulensteen will have been heartened by the way his side remained in the game for almost an hour.

Wenger’s side had passed their most recent test of nerve when they won at Aston Villa to reclaim the lead after first Chelsea and then City had enjoyed 24-hour stays at the head of the table. Wenger insisted before this game, however, the pressure on his side this time around was nothing compared to last year when the Gunners endured a season-long scramble to clinch a top four place. And on paper, there was little to suggest Arsenal’s challenge would be hampered by a Fulham side locked in a tense battle for survival. The Cottagers have shown improved form since Meulensteen took charge, although their lack of consistency was highlighted in the week before this clash when they followed a 4-1 home league defeat to Sunderland with a convincing FA Cup victory over Norwich. That win had clearly boosted confidence and for almost an hour, the visitors looked capable of claiming a third successive draw at this stadium.

With Brede Hangeland back in central defence for his first league appearance since October, Meulensteen’s side were well organised and rarely troubled by a stuttering Arsenal. Hangeland showed excellent anticipation to clear off the line after Mesut Ozil had placed a shot beyond keeper Maarten Stekelenburg in the fourth minute. But otherwise, Fulham were largely untroubled and might have taken an unexpected lead midway through the first half when Wojciech Szczesny tipped Steve Sidwell’s shot onto the crossbar. Jack Wilshere did manage to force a save from Stekelenburg in the 38th minute and the keeper was equally alert to deny Bacary Sagna’s follow up. But Arsenal’s performance was surprisingly lacklustre and it was clear they would have to step up the tempo if they were to avoid dropping points.

But Arsenal’s passing moves began to gather momentum and they finally made the breakthrough after a sustained period of pressure in the 58th minute, and within five minutes the game was effectively over. Cazorla’s opening goal came after Sagna and Serge Gnabry had both been denied by desperate blocks.
But the quality of the build-up play to the Spain midfielder’s strike highlighted the difference in class. Cazorla gained possession on the left after another frantic clearance, moved inside and kick-started a slick triangle of one-touch passes involving Olivier Giroud and Wilshere before finishing right footed from 12 yards out.

The second was more routine with Hangeland failing to get sufficient distance on a clearing header from Nacho Monreal’s cross, directing the ball only as far as Cazorla, who placed a left foot shot beyond Stekelenburg from 20 yards. Fulham’s resistance was broken, although it would have been worse for Meulensteen’s side had Stekelenburg not managed to tip Lukas Podolski’s powerful shot onto the post.
Darren Bent missed a late chance to halve the deficit but this was ultimately a routine victory for an Arsenal side growing in belief they can finish champions.


http://www.arabtimesonline.com/NewsDetails/tabid/96/smid/414/ArticleID/203040/reftab/69/Default.aspx?