Author Topic: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 13/09/20...  (Read 868 times)

Offline whitejc

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Sunday Fulham Stuff - 13/09/20...
« on: September 12, 2020, 11:19:13 AM »

West Ham
Man Utd
Man City
Aston Villa
« Last Edit: September 12, 2020, 10:26:26 PM by whitejc »

Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 13/09/20...
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2020, 11:19:20 AM »
Fulham 0-3 Arsenal

Gabriel is the third defender to score for Arsenal on his Premier League debut, after Steve Bould (1992) and Thomas Vermaelen (2009)

Debutants Gabriel and Willian impressed as Arsenal blew away promoted Fulham in the opening game of the Premier League season.

Former Chelsea winger Willian had a hand in all three goals and Gabriel - a £23m signing from Lille - scored in his first game in English football.

Arsenal were highly impressive, while Fulham caused themselves too many problems at the back.

Both sides have played and won at Wembley - twice for the Gunners - in the 48 days since the last Premier League season finished.

Alexandre Lacazette scored the opener from close range after Willian's effort was saved.

Centre-back Gabriel then scored from Willian's corner with his shoulder. Willian, who also hit a post from a free-kick, picked out Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng with a perfect cross-field ball and the captain curled home Arsenal's third.

Fulham created few chances, with last season's top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic coming on with only 27 minutes to go and forcing Bernd Leno into a save.

Slick Arsenal catch the eye
There were signs of improvement under boss Mikel Arteta last season, with Arsenal showing a new defensive solidity and looking confident going forward.

They won the FA Cup final and Community Shield - against Chelsea and Liverpool respectively - at either end of August.

Despite a pre-season break of less than a month, they are in good shape if this performance is anything to go back.

Arsenal substitutes Dani Ceballos and Eddie Nketiah clashed twice in the pre-match warm-up over a training drill, but there was total harmony among the 11 players who started.

Fulham had little answer to Arteta's tactics. Ainsley Maitland-Niles was nominally a left wing-back but spent a lot of his game in midfield, with central defender Kieran Tierney playing almost as a left-back.

Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka, whose Arsenal careers looked over last season, had solid performances in midfield.

Leno started in goal, with Emiliano Martinez, who ended last season as number one with Leno injured, reportedly set for a move away.

For the fourth season in a row it took less than 10 minutes for the opening goal of a Premier League season, with Lacazette becoming the first player to score the first goal in two different seasons. He made no mistake from close range after Marek Rodak parried Willian's shot.

The dominant Gunners should have been further clear at half-time, with Willian striking the base of a post with a fine free-kick.

The second half followed the same pattern and Arsenal made the game safe.

Gabriel became the third Arsenal defender to score on his Premier League debut as he turned home Willian's corner. He tried to head the ball but it went in via his shoulder. The new laws this season say if the ball hits the area where a T-shirt sleeve would be, that it is not handball.

Aubameyang scored the pick of the goals with a trademark curling effort from another Willian pass.

Willian is the first player to assist two goals on his Premier League debut for Arsenal since Ray Parlour in August 1992 against Liverpool.

Arsenal could have scored more if they needed, but this will be exactly what Arteta, whose job title changed from head coach to manager this week, wanted to see.

Have Fulham learned from past mistakes?
Fulham were relegated in each of their past two Premier League seasons, in 2013-14 and 2018-19 - conceding the most goals in the league both times.

The last time they were promoted they spent more than £100m and played a new-look team in a miserable season.

But this time boss Scott Parker started with 10 of the 11 players who beat Brentford in the Championship play-off final on 4 August, with no new signings getting on to the pitch.

Mitrovic, who was not fully fit for their Wembley win after scoring 26 goals, was on the bench again.

Fulham will hope not many of their games are as tough as playing in-form Arsenal, but there were signs this could be another leaky season at the back.

The opening goal came from their own mistake. Tim Ream blocked a Xhaka shot and should have cleared it, but he let Willian take the ball and shoot, leading to Lacazette's goal.

One attempt to play out from the back led to Elneny having a shot blocked and Xhaka shooting over.

There was little to get excited about at the other end, with two shots on target and both from outside the box - Denis Odoi after seven minutes and Mitrovic after 67.

There are decisions, then, for Fulham and Parker on whether to stick with the approach that got them promoted.

Man of the match - Gabriel

   Match stats - Fulham's poor derby record continues

   Fulham have lost their past 11 top-flight London derbies - including 10 defeats in 2018-19 - the longest run by a club in top-flight history.
   Arsenal have won their first game in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2009-10.
   Fulham have lost their first game in three consecutive league seasons for the first time since 2006-07 to 2008-09, losing to Arsenal in the second of those games in 2007-08.
   Eleven Brazilians have now appeared for Arsenal in the Premier League, with only Chelsea and Manchester City boasting more (12 each).
   Arsenal have scored the first goal of a Premier League season four times, with only Liverpool doing so more often (5).
   Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette has netted four goals in three Premier League appearances against Fulham, more than against any other side in the competition.
   Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the first player to score on the opening weekend in consecutive Premier League seasons for Arsenal since Robert Pires in 2003-04 and 2004-05.

What's next?

Arsenal have another London derby next Saturday - at home to West Ham at 20:00 BST.

Fulham visit Ipswich in the EFL Cup on Wednesday (19:00) before travelling to fellow promoted side Leeds in the Premier League next Saturday (15:00).
« Last Edit: September 12, 2020, 03:54:30 PM by whitejc »

Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 13/09/20...
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2020, 03:57:14 PM »

Fulham were beaten 3-0 by Arsenal in the opening match of the 2020/21 Premier League campaign.

A scrappy Alexandre Lacazette goal was the difference between the sides in what was an evenly contested opening 45 minutes.

But the Gunners took control of proceedings in the second half, doubling their lead when debutant Gabriel headed in soon after the restart.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang then curled home a lovely third to ensure the points would be heading to North London on this occasion.

Scott Parker named a similar line-up to the one that started the Play-Off Final five weeks earlier, with the sole change seeing Ivan Cavaleiro come in for Bobby De Cordova-Reid.

Alphonse Areola was the only new recruit to make the squad, taking his place on the bench alongside the not-risked Aleksandar Mitrović, and André-Frank Zambo Anguissa who had returned from a successful loan spell at Villarreal.

Fulham had the first sniff of a chance inside two minutes when a loose back-pass was anticipated by Aboubakar Kamara, but Gunners goalkeeper Bernd Leno reacted well to smother the ball when Kamara looked to dink it beyond him.

A swift move down the right-hand side of the pitch five minutes later ended with Denis Odoi trying his luck from 20 yards, and Leno needed two bites of the cherry to get the ball in his grasp.

The bright start made Arsenal’s opener all the more frustrating. Granit Xhaka’s shot was deflected by Tim Ream to Willian who poked goalwards. Marek Rodák made a superb stop but could only parry to Lacazette who was left with the easiest of finishes.

The Whites responded with a powerful Neeskens Kebano volley that was blocked.

Arsenal nearly doubled their lead on 27 minutes when Willian arced a low free-kick towards the corner, but it hit the base of the post and span away.

The visitors started the second half with a driving Aubameyang run which saw the Arsenal captain glide into the Fulham box before looking to tee up a teammate. A vital touch from Ream – making his 200th appearance for the Club – diverted the danger away.

They did not need to wait long to make it two, though, with Gabriel’s downwards header from Willian’s corner finding the net.

The target opened up for Kamara in the 56th minute when he collected a loose ball following a Fulham free-kick, but he dragged his effort wide of the far post.

Aubameyang then went straight up the other end and showed his pedigree with a stunning finish into the corner that left Rodák with no chance, after his side had swept up the pitch at speed.

Soon after, Mitrović and Anguissa were introduced at the expense of Kamara and Kebano, and Mitrović was able to register a shot on target within minutes, but it lacked the sufficient power to trouble Leno.

Lacazette must have thought he’d made it four when he connected with Aubameyang’s cross six yards out, but Rodák made himself big to pull off a remarkable point blank save.

Aubameyang did manage to get the better of Rodák when he rounded the Fulham goalkeeper having been slipped in, but Michael Hector got his positioning right to head the subsequent shot off the line.

That was the last decent chance of the game, as our return to the Premier League ended in defeat.

Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 13/09/20...
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2020, 03:58:02 PM »
Post-Arsenal Press Conference

In his post-match press conference, Scott Parker addressed the ups and downs of the Arsenal performance, and gave an update on the fitness of his squad.

You didn’t do much wrong but found yourselves 3-0 down?
I think that’s the main thing that comes out of the game today. I thought first half we played very well. I really liked us, I liked our intent, I like our way about us. We really put Arsenal under some pressure, but the key moments – like [Aboubakar] Kamara’s chance, or [Neeskens] Kebano at the back post – they’re the moments that you need to make count. In saying that, you need to make sure you defend a little bit better. I really liked us first half, but second half not so much. The second goal is really weak on our behalf – a set-play goal and a real weakness in terms of they load a lot of players underneath the bar and we just didn’t see much fight there at that moment. It was a poor goal to concede. In this division, if we’re expected to score three goals to win or get draws out of games, it’s going to be pretty tough for us, certainly against teams like Arsenal who have the quality they have. I think you’re right, there are some positives, but when you’re on a 3-0 loss there’s some negatives as well. We’ll dust ourselves down, keep improving and keep understanding where we need to get better, and go from there.

Aleksandar Mitrović started on the bench today – was that a case of fitness having just come back from international duty?
Yeah, fitness really. Aleks has had two training sessions since coming back from international duty. It was exactly the same for [Frank] Anguissa as well who’s been in quarantine. The same with [Mario] Lemina who’s not up to speed at this time. But this year, for sure, we’re going to need everyone who steps on that football pitch to be 100 per cent physically. Today, this game’s come too early for those players; Alphonse [Areola], Lemina, the two boys [Kenny Tete & Ola Aina] we literally just signed. They probably fit into the same category as Mitro. I’m pleased that he got 30 minutes, along with Anguissa, and on Wednesday [against Ipswich Town] we can get some more minutes into these players.

Was the starting line-up a reward for the players who won promotion?
No, not at all. I picked a team today which I thought was the best team to win the game. The team you saw has been in the building now for three weeks, has trained, has worked hard, and I felt could compete physically in what is the most demanding league in the world. There was no sentimentality in that team selection. It was a group of players that I thought was best equipped to get a result and win the game today.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2020, 06:39:47 PM by whitejc »

Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 13/09/20...
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2020, 04:00:20 PM »
Willian with triple assist as Arsenal destroy Fulham in opener

Gabriel Magalhaes marked his Arsenal debut with a goal – but it was Willian who grabbed the headlines with three assists in a comfortable 3-0 win at Fulham in the Premier League curtain-raiser.

The Cottagers are back in the Premier League after just a season in the Championship. Scott Parker’s side bounced back after beating Brentford in the play-off final.

However, they were caught cold just eight minutes into their return. Alexandre Lacazette tapped in from close range after good work from Willian.

The Brazilian – a free-transfer signing from Chelsea – then struck the post with a free-kick as Arsenal threatened another before the break.

However, it was 2-0 four minutes into the restart when Willian curled over an outswinging corner-kick and Gabriel rose highest to nod past Marek Rodak from close range.

Fulham were now forced to come at Arsenal and a stylish team goal ripped them apart for the third.

With the Cottagers pressing high, Arsenal played their way out from the back with some smart passing. Willian then picked up the ball before splaying a fine cross-field ball to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The prolific Gunners skipper still had work to do, but he engineered some space for himself before lifting a fine shot into the roof of the net.

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 13/09/20...
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2020, 04:01:34 PM »
made in brazil Arsenal debutants Gabriel and Willian steal the show as Gunners ease past Fulham on Premier League return

Gabriel Magalhaes and Willian both had an Arsenal debut to remember as the Gunners welcomed Fulham to the Premier League with a 3-0 thumping.

The two debutants showed why the club went to such lengths to sign them by starring on the opening day of the new season.

Not only did Gabriel add instant assurance at the back, the £27million defender also scored his first Gunners goal.

Willian created it, along with both of his side’s other goals, which were scored by more familiar marksmen Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Lacazette opened the scoring, becoming the first man to net the first goal in separate Premier League campaigns, after Willian poked the ball against Fulham goalkeeper Marek Rodak.

The Brazilian, who joined on a free from Chelsea last month, then whipped in a perfect corner for Gabriel to force home with his shoulder at the start of the second-half.

Then Aubameayng, influential as ever throughout, rounded off a fearsome display with a stunning effort curled into the top corner after a pass from Willian.

In truth, Scott Parker’s side didn’t get near the visitors, who made a serious statement of intent after a busy summer in the market.

Three goals did not do their dominance justice, and while Fulham clearly have a job on their hands to survive, Arsenal might be getting ambitious at the other end of the table.

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 13/09/20...
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2020, 04:02:50 PM »
Dream Arsenal debuts for Willian and Gabriel shine as Fulham are brushed aside on Premier League return

Gabriel Magalhaes and Willian enjoyed dream Arsenal debuts as the pair played key roles in the Gunners’ opening day win over Fulham.

Willian, who signed on a free from London rivals Chelsea this summer, setup all three goals in the victory at Craven Cottage, with one of those coming as his corner was headed home by Gabriel.

It capped off a perfect opening day for Mikel Arteta’s side, with Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also opening their accounts for the season to secure all three points.

In attack, Willian was the star of the show, slotting in perfectly on the right, while at the back Gabriel showcased just why Arsenal paid Lille around £26million to sign him this summer.

In the end, this proved to be a straight-forward 3-0 win for Arsenal against a newly-promoted side - but it certainly didn’t start that way.

First Dani Ceballos and Eddie Nketiah had to be pulled apart after a heated exchange during a rondo in the warm-up, and then Gabriel almost marked his debut with a horror error when he and Bernd Leno both left a back-pass.

The German goalkeeper, who was starting after Emi Martinez had been left out of the squad as he prepares to leave Arsenal, dealt with the issue and after that had a relatively quiet first-half. Gabriel too bounced back and was arguably his side’s best player, with only Willian pipping him to the man of the match award.

The Gunners controlled proceedings following Fulham’s bright start and took the lead after nine minutes when Lacazette tapped home. Granit Xhaka’s shot had been blocked and, when Willian couldn’t score the rebound, Lacazatte was there to grab his first of the season.

Arsenal pushed for a second after that and they should have got it as Willian struck the post from a free-kick and several crosses flashed across the Fulham box begging to be finished off.

The two sides ended up going in level at half-time, but four minutes after the break Arsenal did double their lead as Gabriel rose highest from Willian’s corner to head home and mark his debut in the way he would have wanted.

The assist was Willian’s second of the afternoon and he bagged a third moments later when his cross-field ball found Aubameyang, who finished with aplomb by cutting in from the left and curling past a helpless Marek Rodak in the Fulham goal.

There was still 33 minutes left after that goal and Arsenal’s front-three sensed the chance to run riot.

Fulham, however, held firm and their grit was summed up as Michael Hector headed the ball off the line after Aubameyang had rounded Rodak.

Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 13/09/20...
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2020, 04:05:15 PM »
Willian dazzles on his debut as sparkling Arsenal show Fulham no mercy

The surprise when Willian signed a three-year contract at Arsenal was tempered by awareness that, for the here and now, the 32-year-old remains an exceptional operator. Three assists on his debut provided instant reassurance of that. It was a masterful display from the Brazilian and a convincing one from his team, too, that maintained the inescapable sense of progress under Mikel Arteta’s stewardship.

Fulham were not poor opponents but lacked teeth and faded on their return to the top flight. Once Alexandre Lacazette had given Arsenal the lead, capitalising on a rebound from Willian’s shot, the outcome never looked in doubt and the margin of victory could have been higher. But Arteta will be happy enough with a goal from another debutant, the centre-back Gabriel Magalhães, and a sublime clincher from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Both were set up by the former Chelsea schemer, and the clarity with which Arsenal performed bodes well.

Lacazette’s opener was a surprise at the time given that, in the early exchanges, it had been Fulham who threatened the season’s first goal. They almost took advantage of the defensive uncertainty that has blighted Arsenal’s preparations within two minutes. Arteta had cautioned that, rather than being preoccupied by the goalkeeping debate that hogged the headlines, he felt concerned about language issues among his back line. So it transpired that, when Ainsley Maitland-Niles passed backwards, Gabriel opted to let it run towards Bernd Leno. He had bargained without the presence of Aboubakar Kamara but Leno, timing his intervention superbly, managed to divert the ball away as the striker attempted to dart past.

Leno was playing after Emiliano Martínez withdrew from the squad amid offers from Aston Villa and Brighton. He was soon deployed again, more straightforwardly, when Denis Odoi marauded upfield and uncorked a shot that was grabbed at the second attempt.

It had been a sparky start from Fulham, while Arsenal’s fireworks had been confined to a spat between the substitutes Dani Ceballos and Eddie Nketiah during the warmup. A challenge by the former had led to an altercation and some afters. They took their places on opposite ends of the bench but could rejoice at the outcome of their teammates’ first serious attack.

The chance came after Aubameyang cut back for a shot by Granit Xhaka, which was blocked on the six-yard line. Willian’s attempt to turn in the loose ball was saved by Marek Rodak, but it ran free and Lacazette made no mistake. The striker has been linked with a move but it is hard to see how Arsenal could replace him with a striker of comparable potency.

His goal calmed them and they were under little pressure thereafter. Willian stood out for his composure and ability to make difficult executions seem routine. Arsenal have missed a player with his intelligence, and also one who is as reliable with the dead ball. When they won a free-kick 20 yards out before the half-hour, Willian stepped up and thudded the base of Rodak’s post.

Four minutes into the second half he delivered a right-sided corner and this time his prowess brought a goal. An increasingly commanding Gabriel had ended the opening period by getting his head on to a dangerous Fulham set-piece. Now he ran onto his compatriot’s cross and, perhaps with more shoulder than head, made enough of a connection to beat Rodak.

The corner had arisen after Rob Holding, perhaps channelling the injured David Luiz, created an opening for Lacazette with an improbable exhibition of ball juggling. Arsenal were enjoying themselves and the third goal, which followed quickly, was a masterpiece. A fluent move that, as is increasingly their hallmark, began on their own six-yard box ended with Willian spearing a perfect crossfield pass towards Aubameyang, who sped into the box and whipped beautifully into the far corner. It was a signature finish, and will be all the more satisfying when he puts pen to paper on his new contract soon.

He would have added another if Michael Hector had not headed an angled effort off the line. But there was more than enough here to suggest that, with Willian pulling the strings, Arsenal are bound for brighter days.

Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 13/09/20...
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2020, 04:06:27 PM »
Ruthless Arsenal deliver Fulham reality check on opening day

Fulham 0-3 Arsenal: Mikel Arteta’s side cruised to a comfortable victory

Arsenal eased into the new season with a comfortable 3-0 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage. Mikel Arteta’s side enjoyed a pleasant afternoon beside the Thames after Alexandre Lacazette opened the scoring from close range in the ninth minute.

Gabriel Magalhaes, the defender signed from Lille this summer, added a second with a powerful header from a corner four minutes into the second half. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang confirmed the away side’s supremacy with an excellent strike after 57 minutes. Arsenal will face tougher opposition but Arteta’s team, who lined up in a 3-4-3 formation, were much too good for Fulham.

For Scott Parker it was a grim opening to the campaign. The home side showed little going forward and were hapless at the back. 

Arsenal began the match with a bit of comedy defending of their own. Magalhaes started his career in England with a David Luiz moment. Kieran Tierney stumbled over the ball and pushed it out wide under pressure, giving Ainsley Maitland-Niles little option but to pass back towards his own goal. The ball rolled close to Magalhaes, who should have cleared, but the 22-year-old let it run. Aboubakar Kamara was on to the ball in a flash but Bernd Leno was equally alert and smothered the chance.

It was a surprise that Scott Parker left Aleksandar Mitrovic on the bench but it was quickly apparent why. The Serb lacks mobility. Fulham’s plan was to press the Arsenal defenders when they were in possession. Magalhaes’ error suggested that it might have worked.

Unfortunately for Parker his own defence cracked first. Denis Odoi got caught under a fairly straightforward diagonal pass from deep and allowed Aubameyang to get on the ball in the area. The Fulham back line completely lost their shape and the striker was able to pick out Granit Xhaka just inside the area. The midfielder’s shot was blocked but Willian had a second chance with the rebound. Marek Rodak saved that effort but the ball ran to Lacazette, who hit the net from a yard out. It was an untidy goal made uglier by messy defending. 

Both teams are committed to playing out from the back, even when circumstances appear to demand an agricultural hoof. This made for entertaining but somewhat scatterbrained action. Fulham struggled to establish a pattern and Arsenal became more coherent as they grew into the game. Arteta’s system allows the wing backs to range forward with impunity. There were early signs of a potentially impressive partnership between Hector Bellerin and Willian on the right. The Brazilian changed the point of attack by drifting wide to the byline, allowing Bellerin to charge down the inside channel. Fulham were unable to cut off this threat down the flank. Those who lobbied for Nicholas Pepe to be selected over Willian had their arguments undermined by the former Chelsea man.

Willian came close to adding a second when he rapped a free kick against the foot of the post. Aubameyang then tested Rodak after Tierney lobbed into the area. Fulham struggled to deal with obvious balls from near the halfway line.

The home side looked neat in possession the middle of the park but lacked the wit to pick apart Arsenal once the visitors dropped into a five-man back line. Magalhaes, after his early blunder, showed his strength in the air but Fulham rarely tested the centre half on his Premier League debut. He reached half time with the look of a man who was beginning to think English football was easy.

That impression was confirmed four minutes into the second period when Magalhaes rose to power home a Willian corner. Michael Hector was not strong enough to stop the Arsenal defender, whose classic downward header left Rodak with no chance.

The match was turning into a rout. Willian picked up the ball on the right and sent a fine crossfield pass in the direction of Aubameyang. The Gabon striker had been terrorising Odoi all afternoon and this time he drove into the area, left the defender flatfooted with a cutback and curled the ball into the far corner. It was all too simple for Arsenal and Parker will be hoping that Kenny Tete and Ola Aina, two of the summer’s defensive recruits, assimilate quickly and improve the back line.

The rampant Aubameyang reached the byline at will. His cross to Lacazette gave the Frenchman a golden opportunity from inside the six-yard box but this time Rodak was able to save. It was one-way traffic. Fulham did not create anything of note.

This was a positive start for Arteta but Parker is facing a long winter. It is hard to judge Arsenal’s prospects because of the paucity of the opposition but Fulham need to get better very quickly if they are to survive.

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 13/09/20...
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2020, 04:07:34 PM »
Fulham crushed by Arsenal in Premier League opener

Newly-promoted Fulham found their reintroduction to life in the Premier League an ominous one as they fell to defeat at Craven Cottage.

A confident Arsenal demonstrated the kind of quality the Whites are likely to face regularly this season – and goals from Alexandre Lacazette, Gabriel and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gathered up the points for the Gunners with some ease.

Fulham manager Scott Parker kept faith mainly with the players who had helped win promotion only a few weeks ago, despite recruiting a number of new faces.

Only goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, on loan from Paris Saint-Germain, could find a place on the bench, Parker claiming the additions are not quite match ready.

Surprisingly, however, last season’s top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic was only a substitute, with Abou Kamara taking his place.

Fulham, though, got an early taste of the fresh and unforgiving nature of top tier football when Arsenal punished them with the opener as early as the eighth minute.

With Tim Ream failing to clear a wayward Granit Xhaka effort, eventually the ball fell to Lacazette who forced the ball home after Marek Rodak parried Willian’s close range shot. It was certainly a shoddy goal for the hosts to concede.

Arsenal began to dominate most of the possession, with star man Willian clipping the base of the post with a free kick, as Fulham struggled to cause any threat in the final third.

Rodak was called into action to make a smart save at his near post from an Aubameyang angled shot as Arsenal looked in the mood to double their lead before the break.

Regrettably for Fulham, the north Londoners found their patience rewarded four minutes after the restart. Gabriel, Arsenal’s impressive new centre half, met a Willian corner to head a simple goal from six yards.

And Arsenal added a sublime third goal in the 57th minute to all but finish off the contest. A tremendous cross field pass by Willian found Aubameyang on the edge of the Whites’ penalty area – and the Gunners’ captain had time to control the ball before curling a shot past Rodak.

Mitrovic eventually replaced the toiling Kamara in the aftermath as Fulham hoped to at least threaten Arsenal in the air across the closing stages. It never materialised, while Aubameyang was inches from adding a fourth, only for Michael Hector to impressively head off the line.

The Gunners – like the majority of the encounter – kept a firm grip on the tempo with Mikel Arteta’s men fully meriting all three points. In the main, Fulham’s inability to create any clear-cut opportunities was telling, but they will surely enjoy better afternoons in what is sure to be a demanding season.

Fulham: Rodak, Odoi, Hector, Ream, Bryan, Reed, Cairney, Kebano (Anguissa 62), Cavaleiro, Onomah (Decordova-Reid 74), Kamara (Mitrovic 62).
Subs not used: Areola, Knockaert, Le Marchand, Christie .

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 13/09/20...
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2020, 04:22:48 PM »
Fulham dealt ruthless reminder of why their last Premier League campaign went so wrong in 3-0 thumping by Arsenal... Scott Parker's side must lick their wounds and adapt quickly to survive the top flight this time around

    Fulham were dealt a ruthless reminder of why it went wrong last time in topflight
    Credit to Scott Parker’s side, they stuck to their passing principles on return
    The Cottagers struggled to shackle Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Willian

Welcome back to the Premier League, Fulham. Thumped 3-0 to Arsenal, the newly-promoted side were dealt a ruthless reminder of exactly why it all went so horrible wrong the last time they were in the top flight.

It won’t always be this brutal. Despite the loss, the Cottagers offered enough promise to suggest it won’t always be this bad.

Credit to Scott Parker’s side, they stuck to their passing principles on their big return. Their philosophy is clear: hard work, passing and possession.

Fulham were dealt a ruthless reminder of exactly why it all went so horrible wrong last time

Credit to Scott Parker’s side, they stuck to their passing principles on their big return

But the seismic gap in quality between Championship and Premier League football is just as glaringly obvious.

Fulham started with 10 of the team that started the play-off final win over Brentford last month.

If they were under illusion of the step up in class, they certainly aren't now.

The reason Fulham were relegated in 2019 was because they concede too many, far too many, goals.

Eighty-one to be exact - the worst defensive record in the league that season.

Parker was not in charge for the vast majority of the season. But their leaky defence, and the consequences that await if he cannot plug it, won’t be lost on the Fulham manager.

In the Championship last season, Fulham recorded the fourth best goals against record in the league en route to promotion.

But shackling Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Willian - who recorded three assists on his Arsenal debut - is an altogether different proposition.

That’s life in the fast lane, Fulham will have to acclimatise - and quickly - if they are to make a fist of staying up.

They have time, of course. Next weekend’s clash against fellow promoted side Leeds should provide a more opportune possibility of picking up their first point of the season.

The fact star striker Aleksander Mitrovic didn’t start this game is further hope for optimism.

Fulham are a different proposition when the Serb is in the team. A proven Premier League goalscorer, Parker knows he’ll need his striker firing.

For now, though, Fulham can only lick their wounds and come again. But the nature of the Premier League means it won’t get any easier.

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 13/09/20...
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2020, 04:23:30 PM »
Arsenal expose familiar Fulham frailties

Scott Parker probably didn’t need a reminder of how brutal the Premier League can be, but Arsenal handed out a chastening lesson in any case. The Gunners dominated this opening day encounter at a sunkissed Craven Cottage, surviving a couple of early scares before ruthlessly exploiting the frailties that were laid bare during Fulham’s last examination at this level. Mikel Arteta’s side settled some early nerves when Alexandre Lacazette poached an opener at the far post from their first serious foray forward and, although the hosts battled manfully, they were clearly second best. The contest was settled by a debut goal early in the second half for the impressive Gabriel before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang curled home a sumptuous third.

Parker will have been pleased that his Fulham side battled to the end, but plucky resistance won’t be enough in the Premier League. The fact that the newly-promoted club have yet to add a centre back, given how woefully short they were found to be in that position two seasons ago, is astonishing – and if they needed any more evidence of how urgent that acquisition is, it arrived inside the ten minute mark here. A speculative shot from Granit Xhaka sparked a scramble in the box after Tim Ream made a hash of his clearance, Willian was denied by a sprawling block by Marek Rodak, but Lacazette snaffled up the rebound from a couple of yards out.

Fulham had actually began quite brightly. Aboubakar Kamara, preferred up front to Aleksandar Mitrovic, pounced on a backpass from Ainsley Maitland-Niles that fell between Gabriel and goalkeeper Bernt Leno, but the French forward couldn’t quite round the goalkeeper to give the Whites a dream start. Denis Odoi found himself in some advanced positions from right back but an early shot was straight at the Arsenal keeper and, even after going behind, Kebano had a powerful volley blocked bravely at source by the recovering Maitland-Niles.

Fulham pressed with purpose, but found penetration of Arsenal’s well-drilled 3-4-3 system far harder to come by. It was a task made harder without Mitrovic as the focal point of their attack and the visitors gradually settled into a comfortable rhythm. They could easily have been further ahead by half-time: Willian rattled the far post with a beautiful free-kick from just outside the box and Aubameyang surged clear of the Fulham defence after being released by a floated through ball from Xhaka, forcing Rodak into a smothering save at his near post.

Parker would have pleased to get his side in only a goal down at the break, but his half-time teamtalk was left in tatters just five minutes after the interval. Some brilliant ball-juggling skills from Rob Holding, who burst away from a couple of Fulham challenges in the middle of the field, won Arsenal a corner, where they crowded Rodak inside his six-yard box. Willian’s delivery was inch perfect and Gabriel forced it between Rodak’s legs to give the Gunners more breathing space – the decisive touch seemed to come off his shoulder. How the Brazilian defender was allowed such freedom to guide it in unchallenged is a question to ask Michael Hector, who failed to get off the ground himself.

Conceding such a routine goal would have deflated both Parker and his charges. Fulham looked visibility robbed of confidence and they soon conceded a third. This was a sumptuous team goal, with Willian taking out the majority of the Fulham defence by switching the ball with a raking crossfield ball for the maurauding Aubameyang. He surged into the penalty area from the left flank and bent a beautiful finish into the top corner.

Mitrovic belatedly arrived to add a little heft and power to Fulham’s front line, but the game was so long gone. Arsenal might have more goals but Rodak did well to thwart Lacazette and Hector Bellerin in quick succession before Hector headed off the line when Aubameyang’s deft chip looked destined to nestle in the back of the net. The Fulham game plan was clear – keep things tight and try to nick something on the break, but this tactical approach didn’t work as well as it did against Brentford in the play-off final at Wembley. Arsenal are a different proposition under Arteta and in Gabriel, who headed away countless crosses during a largely untroubled first outing, they seem to have found the commanding centre half they have been craving. Parker, who could certainly do with defensive reinforcements, has plenty of hard work ahead.

FULHAM (4-2-3-1): Rodak; Odoi, Bryan, Hector, Ream; Reed, Cairney; Cavaleiro, Kebano (Anguissa 63), Onomah (Decordova-Reid 75); Kamara (Mitrovic 63). Subs (not used): Areola, Christie, Le Marchand, Knockaert.

BOOKED: Hector, Cairney.

ARSENAL (3-4-3): Leno; Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Bellerin, Maitland-Niles, Xhaka (Ceballos 77), Elneny; Willian (Pepe 75), Aubameyang, Lacazette (Nketiah 87). Subs (not used): Macey, Kolasinac, Saka, Willock.

BOOKED: Aubameyang, Bellerin.

GOALS: Lacazette (9), Gabriel (49), Aubameyang (57).

REFEREE: Chris Kavanagh (Lancashire).

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 13/09/20...
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2020, 06:36:55 PM »
Fulham in ‘the race’ for midfielder – Parker believes he’s the ‘ideal profile’ for Cottagers

Benfica are willing to sell youngster Florentina Luis this summer, but Fulham are yet to match their asking price.

That’s according to Récord, who say that the Portuguese club want €45m if they are to let him leave.

That’s seen them already reject bids worth ‘lower amounts’ that included a ‘purchase clause’, with one of them coming from Fulham.

The newspaper reports that they are in the ‘the race’ for the midfielder and made a loan offer worth €2m that included a purchase option of €25m.

That, though, was the lowest of the three bids to have arrived so far with AC Milan and Monaco having attempted one-year loans with a €30m option included.

None of those are close to what Benfica want, though, and so far there has been ‘no progress in negotiations’ as a result.

Fulham remain keen, with manager Scott Parker believing that Luis has the ‘ideal profile’ to help his team in the Premier League.

Talks between the two clubs ‘did not stop’, but so far the Cottagers have failed to convince Benfica president Luís Filipe Vieira.

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 13/09/20...
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2020, 06:37:44 PM »
Arsenal Thrash Hapless Fulham

Arsenal got their Premier League campaign underway with a 3-0 win at promoted Fulham thanks to goals from Alexandre Lacazette, new signing Gabriel and captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the opening game of the season on Saturday.

Newcomers Gabriel and Willian enjoyed fine debuts for the Gunners, who made light work of their short trip across London to Craven Cottage and dominated against a toothless Fulham.

Lacazette scored the season’s opening goal in the eighth minute after poor defending by the home side before 22-year old Brazilian defender Gabriel, who joined Arsenal from Ligue 1 side Lille, made it 2-0 in the 49th with a close-range header.

Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put the icing on the cake with a superb shot into the top corner in the 57th minute and missed a pair of gilt-edged chances in the closing stages to inflict even more damage on the home side.

Right back Denis Odoi forced a save from Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno early on but that was as good as it got for Fulham, whose opening-day performance suggests that staying in the top flight could be a tall order.

Lacazette was left with the simple task of poking the ball in from close range after a comedy of errors by the home side, who enjoyed a slice of good fortune when Willian hit the post with a 22nd-minute free kick.

Gabriel made it 2-0 with a thumping header after a corner swung in by Willian, who racked up his second assist of the day when he set up Aubameyang for the third in his first game for Arsenal after his summer move from Chelsea.

Willian’s delightful pass from midfield found Aubameyang on the left flank and the striker cut inside to curl a rasping shot from inside the penalty area past Marek Rodak who was left clutching thin air.

The home keeper then did well to block a shot from point-blank range by Aubameyang, who had another effort cleared off the line by a defender in the dying minutes.

Even at 3-0 down, Fulham were barely able to break out of their own half with their midfield chasing shadows and a porous defence all at sea whenever Arsenal went forward.

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 13/09/20...
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2020, 06:41:05 PM »
Scott Parker stresses need for more Fulham signings after opening day loss to Arsenal

Fulham boss Scott Parker says the club needs to add to their squad further after losing to Arsenal in Saturday's Premier League season opener.

Arsenal ran out 3-0 winners at Craven Cottage as Alexandre Lacazette, Gabriel Magalhaes and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang all got on the scoresheet.

Parker afterwards urged his side to learn from the loss as they bid to stay up after returning to the top-flight.

And the Fulham manager - who has recruited Antonee Robinson, Alphonse Areola, Kenny Tete, Ola Aina, Harrison Reed and Mario Lemina so far this summer - added that the club need to bring in more signings before the transfer window shuts in October.

“I think, like anything, when you are a team like us you need to quickly learn and that has been the constant message from me since we have been back,” said Parker.

“This year we are going to lose football matches, but what we can’t afford to do is when you go and lose two or three on the bounce - which is going to happen with us - you can’t let it cripple you.

“You need to learn from it, you need to develop, you need to be big enough to understand where the mistakes are made.

“With regards to bringing players in, I think we all realise when you step up from the Championship to the Premier League it is a massive jump. We have seen it in spurts today and what that quality is.

“For sure, for us to evolve and us to develop we need to bring players into this team that are going to improve us and going to make us better. That’s our aim.

“Obviously in the short space, we have brought players in that I feel will improve us, but still there are the people in the background doing all they can to help us, the team and the club.”

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 13/09/20...
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2020, 06:41:35 PM »
Parker eyes new arrivals after opening day defeat

Scott Parker admitted that he is looking to bring in new faces after Fulham slumped to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Arsenal on the opening day of the new Premier League season.

The Fulham boss has urged his players not to be too downhearted after they were outclassed by the clinical Gunners, who were ruthless after a slow start at Craven Cottage. Parker told his post-match press conference:

I think, like anything, when you are a team like us you need to quickly learn and that has been the constant message from me since we have been back. This year we are going to lose football matches, but what we can’t afford to do is when you go and lose two or three on the bounce – which is going to happen with us – you can’t let it cripple you.

You need to learn from it, you need to develop, you need to be big enough to understand where the mistakes are made. With regards to bringing players in, I think we all realise when you step up from the Championship to the Premier League it is a massive jump. We have seen it in spurts today and what that quality is.

For sure, for us to evolve and us to develop we need to bring players into this team that are going to improve us and going to make us better. That’s our aim. Obviously in the short space, we have brought players in that I feel will improve us, but still there are the people in the background doing all they can to help us, the team and the club

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 13/09/20...
« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2020, 09:24:19 AM »
Parker makes honest admission about challenges ahead for Fulham

Scott Parker admitted that Fulham will have to learn how to react to defeat after their return to the Premier League started with a loss.

Parker guided Fulham back into the top flight at the first time of asking last season by winning the Championship play-offs.

However, their first game back in the Premier League ended in defeat, as Arsenal claimed a convincing 3-0 victory.

It was not the start Fulham were hoping for, although in truth, few would have expected them to get anything out of the game.

And Parker admits they know they will experience defeat on several occasions this season – urging them to improve the fine margins.

He told BT Sport: “We know we’re going to lose football matches, but it’s how we react to defeat and move forward as a team that will be the bigger test for me and my team.

“We all realise the challenge ahead, but in saying that for 45 minutes in that first half I liked a lot about us.

“The fine margins at this level is that you need to be a bit more ruthless when chances fall.

“Second half at times we accepted things and we were a little vulnerable in the way the goals went in.

“But this is our journey. We understand where we need to get to and improve.”
Arteta praises unsung hero

Meanwhile, Parker’s opposite number Mikel Arteta took plenty of positives from Arsenal’s winning start.

The Spaniard was impressed by two debutants, but it was someone who has been at the club since Arteta’s own playing days who received his biggest praise.

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 13/09/20...
« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2020, 09:26:57 AM »
Five Thoughts: Fulham 0-3 Arsenal

Let’s be honest with one another, we sort of saw this result coming, didn’t we? It’s completely befitting that our automatic return to the Premier League plated up a cold opening day defeat at the merciless ladle of Mikel Arteta’s resurgent Arsenal so, if you have shed a few premature tears, dry ’em or your Saturday night curry’ll be ruined.

Scott Parker will be examined this season and I won’t be pulled into a weekend of utter disgust because Europe’s hottest attacker ran us ragged within a reborn collective that will contend for silverware, like they did last term. The Gunners brandished a free-flowing style that credited their ingrained philosophy, whereas our system has to reintegrate to the most cutthroat environment on the face of the earth, and it has to settle in pretty sharpish.

Challenge accepted. We will fall but we will rise as one. We’ve 37 more of these gruelling 90 minutes ahead and we are not a finished article, we won’t be for weeks, and I’m optimistic in the wake of this defeat because now, knowing we’ve tumbled way short of the mark against a top-flight heavyweight, we have legitimate reasons to graft even harder before our trip to Elland Road. Forget this result, our Covid-regulated welcome back party actually starts next week.

Possession Doesn’t Pay
It only took Arsenal 8 minutes to land the first blow but, until Alexandre Lacazette prodded the Gunners’ opener, Fulham actually started proceedings relatively well. Pressing high, interchanging sensibly, the Whites tweaked the tempo sufficiently and rushed the visitors into sloppy mistakes at the back, but retaining the ball efficiently means absolutely nothing if you’re not prepared to experiment on the break. Predictable, tentative, Fulham crabbed from side to side, innocuously, and were unable to unlock Arsenal’s unscathed back four.

Recognisably, Arsenal sussed our approach within the opening 15 minutes and counteracted accordingly. We couldn’t break the North Londoners down, they anticipated every move broadcast from our foreseeable game plan, however we simply weren’t brave enough to alter our approach and we didn’t create nearly enough clear cut chances, if any at all, against a defence that could’ve ruptured if we made our early impetus count. 509 passes, administered with a great deal of uncertainty and in the top flight, we have to produce a formula that warrants reward.

The Premier League is laden with fine margins, although the gulf between superiority and mediocrity is staggering. The Gunners stole the initiative on the counter, widened the deficit ruthlessly, and reset themselves as the Whites staggered out of neutral. We were always going to be up against it, the task at hand was monumental, but I think we can all unanimously agree that our passing sequences, our absent invention, it really isn’t up to the required standard and it never will be at this level. I trust Parker’s blueprints, on the surface his system does have substance, an identity, but in truth our conversion rate, with the productive, proficient personnel we have, is severely substandard and that’s talking from a Championship perspective. In the Premier League, with this blunt disposition of ours, we’re tempting turmoil.

Defence Exposed, Again
In the first half, after Tim Ream’s wild swipe in the build-up to the game’s opener, Fulham managed to keep Arsenal’s expeditionary attack at bay and Arteta’s men certainly didn’t have it all their own way, despite what the final score may suggest. Arsenal hit perfectly weighted switches, freeing Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang but somehow, before the interval, the Whites clung on and were still relevant. It didn’t take long for familiar inadequacies to creep back into the frame, though, as we were soon exposed in the 49th minute. What? The Whites’ unchanged, fragile rearguard folded? Pull the other one.

Michael Hector, arguably our best aerial presence, could only recoil as Arsenal’s debutante Gabriel dos Santos Magalhães butted his free header through Marek Rodak’s legs from close range. From a defender of his stature, he should be winning those battles hands down, but the Jamaican international was already walking a thin tight rope, having picked up an early caution and he was quite clearly rattled. Irrational, startled, Hector was uncharacteristically the weakest link as Ream was actually the better, more composed performer of the two. That, after his initial blunder, is a statement louder than bombs.

Denis Odoi versus Aubamayang, the mismatch we all dreaded, soon arrived and the Gabon talisman did exactly what he does best in the 57th minute. Odoi jockeyed in peril as the prolific hitman shifted the ball into a prime position from the left hand side but the Belgian, as predicted, was powerless to prevent the attacker’s sculpted finish. I love Odoi, he’s Fulham personified and so on, but we can’t rely on him to shore up the flanks, not in the company we keep. We have Kenny Tete, use him, and it’s blatant, nothing could be more obvious, we need a centre-half of genuine top-flight quality and I’d even hazard to say that we need two of them. Defence still needs addressing, Tony, so close the bird app and get the stats boys on the damn ting.

Mitro’ Or Bust
Aleksandar Mitrovic may not be 100% fit and firing on all cylinders, although I can’t help but feel we don’t have a proper, proven alternative to deputise when he’s on the sidelines. Aboubakar Kamara was denied twice by Bernd Leno early on but we still had no domineering focal point up top, that grade of weapon is in short supply. AK47 runs like a man on fire, however he was shrugged off the ball far too easily for an industrial fridge of his size and that really puts what Mitro’ does so effortlessly into perspective.

We were motionless on the parameter of the 18-yard-box, the dire lack of movement ensured that Gabriel and Rob Holding had a comfortable afternoon by the river and if you think Bobby Decordova-Reid is the answer, you’re on crud. We need that old school, take your daughter out and give her back by 12 kind of striker and Mitro’ is that guy. He’s timeless, yet so unique in the modern era of the game and he’s a serial bagsman. Saturday afternoon was an occasion tailored specifically for the Serb. Gabriel needed bullying, Holding cries at slightest slither of man-to-man confrontation and we may think Abou’s intimidating, but Mitro’s Halloween all year round.

Mitro’ showed for the ball, spun off his marker and attracted fouls in areas where we should have done better. Typical of his nature, Mitro’ bustled into central positions and, suddenly, we started to construct across the final third with him in his ordinary habitat. Our efforts came to no avail, of course, however the 26-year-old is invaluable to the cause and that, as if it needed reiterating, is why we’re back in the big time. Since joining the Whites, way back in January 2018, only Aubamayang, Mohamed Salah and Jamie Vardy have scored more league goals in England than Mitro’, who has 49 domestic goals to his name. We are blessed, and even a 50% Mitro’ will guarantee the conception of opportunities, regardless of who we face on the day.

Flightless Wings Falter
Our right side, consisting of Odoi and Kebano, combined progressively in the first half, troubling the best left-back in the Premier League, but that enthusiasm, on both flanks, did tail off somewhat as the minutes whittled onward. Kieran Tierney struggled to contain Odoi’s overlapping escapades and Kebano scoured for openings to scurry through but, as there was next to no options to locate in the box, the Whites’ originality out wide dwindled as the Gunners systematically rebuffed our doomed advancements.

There’s no escaping it, we’re easily quelled from the touchlines. There’s no intent on the break, and that, in itself, negates any semblance of a counter attack before it’s even been left the drawing board. Take Ivan Cavaleiro, for example. Built like an elite athlete, but fades out of proceedings when he’s up against a fullback of average ability. Hector Bellerin, bun the fan boys, is erratic. Quick, but penetrable. Cav’ was hauled down to the turf once by the hipster Spaniard but other than that, he baulked. The geezer just invested in Forest Green Rovers because he has a fetish for plants and Cav’ was non-existent. Get in the bin.

Alongside muted inspiration, we’re extremely mono-dimensional and I point the finger at our wingers. How often do we spread play (because we can’t physically muster anything else) and how regularly do we do bugger all with it? We need a new left winger, Anthony Knockaert may be able to muscle in at this level, that remains to be seen, although I don’t have much confidence in Cav’ and as much as I adore Kebano’s work-rate and dazzling manipulations, he isn’t cut out for regular Premier League football. Again, Tony, your work’s only just begun, and I won’t rest until we’ve splashed £20m on a bloke I’ve never heard of.

Anguissa’s Lasting Effect
One man made a noticeable difference to our attitude and application both on and off the ball and it’s the man that ripped it up for Villarreal CF last term. Andre Frank Zambo Anguissa came on for Kebano in the 63rd minute and instantly installed measure and calmness into our harried midfield sector. A competitor of genuine power, prowess, Anguissa is clearly a class above your ordinary, everyday midfielder and before the general’s arrival to the fray, Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka masqueraded as a 2002 double pivot of Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso.

Dropping into congested areas, the Cameroon enforcer picked his passes astutely and patrolled the middle third attentively, exuding confidence and composure with virtually every touch he dispensed. The 24-year-old wanted to construct, he was poised to disrupt Arsenal’s threatening patterns through the spine and that authority and willingness is precisely what Fulham’s engine room desperately requires. Harrison Reed cannot survive alone and Anguissa will compliment his efforts perfectly.

We still have no idea what’s going to happen with Anguissa but whilst he’s on our books, he’s got to be the first name on the team sheet, alongside Mitro’, amongst others. We’ve seen enough in 30 minutes to make our minds up, and I’d personally omit Joshua Onomah from the starting line up. Tom Cairney could also be up for the chop, but the skipper does have broader experience on this stage, so he’s safe in my estimations, for now. We also haven’t seen what Mario Lemina has to offer our contingent, so from now on, to those who featured, there is no room for errors or half-arsed afternoons. Not in Zambo’s house.

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 13/09/20...
« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2020, 09:30:14 AM »
Aston Villa In For Attacking Target, Bid Likely To Be Accepted, Fulham Also Keen

Aston Villa are slapping in a big bid for Lyon attacker Bertrand Traore and the French side are likely to accept the offer, according to the Sun.

The Villa Park outfit are snapping up goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez from Arsenal for an initial £16m and are now turning their attention towards attacking reinforcements.
Former Chelsea attacker Traore is available for the right price and has been linked with a host of Premier League sides over the course of the transfer window so far.

Now Aston Villa are stepping up their efforts to bring Traore back to England are are offering £20m for his signature.

It is claimed that Lyon are likely to accept the proposal from Villa and a medical could be held in France at the start of next week.

Aston Villa could yet face late competition for Traore though.

Fellow Premier League side Fulham have also been looking at a potential move for the attacker.

Aston Villa’s bid could flush out the Cottagers and force them to decide whether they are prepared to go toe-to-toe with Villa for the 25-year-old.

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 13/09/20...
« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2020, 09:31:24 AM »
How Fulham 0 Arsenal 3 was a total disaster… for journalists

As we were told in the build up to the Fulham game, “Arsenal’s squad is an incoherent mess.”  That was the phrase conjured up by Sam Dean, a man with a whole two years experience as a football writer now working for the Telegraph.

Of course not everyone was quite so ludicrously idiotic – I mean it does take a prize turnip to write something like that after just two years “experience” (I use the word lightly) as a “journalist” (word used even more lightly).

For example in the Guardian Nick Ames (whose “published content” list is over 500 items long) wrote, “a solid start for Saliba would inspire confidence that Arsenal’s regenerated backline may be able to banish the ghosts of several years’ incompetence.”

Which is a challenge – if you call your subject matter incompetent you need to be pretty damn competent yourself.

As we know, Arsenal’s “incoherent mess” performed well but there was no “solid start” for Saliba largely because, well, you see, he didn’t play.  Sadly thus far neither journalist has issue a full apology, neither has explained their false predictions, and as far as we know neither has resigned.

But that latter fact is not unusual.  No matter how big the errors, how false the predictions, these days football journos simply don’t resign.  They just go on making weirder and wilder predictions.

Typical of the error-ridden pre-season previews was the 1500 words of erudition from Statsbomb which along with every other report I read prior to the game failed to notice that Elneny was an Arsenal player who had played in the last two matches and was performing a magical role.  Instead the journalists, amateur and professional alike, spent much of its space telling us things like “Arsenal’s squad have been an army of misfit toys for a while now. They have talent, but the elite players seem to play the same positions (Aubameyang and Lacazette), and there are almost no peak age players (24-27) in the squad. From a squad building perspective, it has been messy for years.”

Given the way Auba and Laca played against Fulham I would have thought an apology was needed.

The last person we saw perfect the midfield role that Elneny is warming to was Gilberto Silva, the invisible wall.  So maybe that’s the journos excuse – they didn’t notice him.

I am not, of course, saying that Elneny is at the level of the ex-captain of Brazil, but I am saying there is a viable half way house between ignoring the fact that the player played in the victorious Community Shield side, and in the only warm up friendly for the season we were able to watch, and going overboard about the player.   I would argue that going overboard about Elneny is worth a bash because he performed the role so well, but that’s just me.  It is the notion of utterly ignoring a player who has performed well, before the game, and then to cover such gross ignorance, refusing to say anything of note about him after the game.

It is this manipulation of reality to suit the journalists’ own ignorance that I find frustrating.  They seriously want us to believe that the fantasy world they have been creating is in fact how the world is.  When it most certainly isn’t.

What we were told was that Arsenal’s team had been put together quickly and had a complete lack of experience at playing together.  Yet from the Community Shield game to this opener, against two very different oppositions (one the recently crowned league champions, one freshly promoted in the play offs) Arsenal did very well.

And then no apology or explanation appears to have been offered.  Because… well journalists of this calibre don’t apologise, don’t explain, and as a result treat their readers with contempt.

So let us stay with the Guardian’s Nick Ames and understand what he is really up to with this sort of reporting, and this lack of apology.  Unlike anyone at Untold, he’s a professional journalist, and so should have abilities and standards far above anything we have.  We should be able to read his work, take note and learn how the professionals do it.

And on that note, off we go.

In 2011/12 Arsenal came third in the Premier League.  Would we consider that a team with incompetence in the backline could do that?  I suspect not, not least because many professional journalists call this the best team in the world.

Arsenal let in 49 goals that season.  Gross incompetence?  A weak league?  The latter can’t be true because no journalist that season that I read told us that the PL was poor, and that other leagues were better.

In 2015 Liverpool let in 48, and came sixth in the league.  Were they accused of incompetence?  Of course maybe they were, but I can’t find any mention of it anywhere so I suspect not.

In 2019 Manchester United let in 54.  Were they condemned for incompetence?  Once again, if so, I can’t find much mention of it.

Last season Arsenal let in 48, one more than Tottenham.  Tottenham were not called incompetent in defence at least not in anything I could find.  So is that the dividing line?  47 competent, 48 incompent?  Again I looked for mention of incompetence in defence for Tottenham and what I found was a piece on 6 November 2013 which had the headline  Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas hits out at ‘incompetent’ critics” – that was in the Standard.

Now it always seems to me a shame that more managers don’t take the media on – as in my own modest way we are trying to do in Untold Arsenal, but maybe the media think it is not worth it, since they never take any notice.  Or maybe the incompetence lies with the journalists?

We shall continue with this consideration in the next article which will appear shortly.