Result more important than performance for Arsenal

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Arsenal v FulhamArsenal v Fulham Match Preview

The English Premier League season kicked off last night and the big shock was newly-promoted Sunderland scoring a last-gasp 1-0 win over Arsenal’s London rivals Tottenham. Sunderland were solid throughout with Tottenham rarely threatening in the second half but it was still a surprise when Michael Chopra placed the ball in the bottom-right corner after some ball-watching from the Tottenham defence. The result is great for Arsenal fans not only because it always great to watch Tottenham lose, but because it should ease some of the media pressure on the club that Tottenham are genuine contenders for their spot in the top four. I know it’s only one game but this is exactly the type of match that Tottenham need to win if they want to be considered a genuine threat this season.

In other results that matter to Arsenal, Liverpool snuck home 2-1 over Aston Villa thanks to a lovely free-kick from Steven Gerrard, Newcastle thumped Bolton 3-1 away and Manchester City – who I consider to be a real dark horse this season under Sven Goran Eriksson – took care of a below-par West Ham 2-0, new signing Martin Petrov particularly impressing. Arsenal, along with their two major rivals for the Premiership, Chelsea and Manchester United, all play today and will be looking to get off to a perfect start after Liverpool picked up three points in their first game.

Bacary Sagna will make his debut in the Premiership against FulhamThree points a necessity for Arsenal

Arsenal have been given the perfect opportunity to get off to a good start to the season against a Fulham team that many people, myself included, see as relegation candidates. Arsenal will go into the game without Gilberto Silva and Emmanuel Adebayor but new signing Eduardo da Silva looks set to at least make the bench after winning his battle with an ankle injury. Whether he starts or not is another matter -the match preview on the official Arsenal website suggests that he will – but I am expecting Alexander Hleb to take up the position in behind Robin van Persie as the support striker. Jens Lehmann should start in goals and the first-choice backline of Bacary Sagna, newly appointed captain William Gallas, Kolo Toure and the exciting Gael Clichy should also start. In midfield Cesc Fabregas is a certainty with either Abou Diaby or Mathieu Flamini as his partner whilst Tomas Rosicky and Emmanuel Eboue should begin on the left and right respectively.

After some excellent pre-season performances, anything less than a win against Fulham would be a disappointing result for Arsenal. There have been a few people on the blog who have suggested that anything less than a 3-0 or 4-0 win would not be good enough but at this stage of the season I would take any win. It is obvious that manager Arsene Wenger’s side are in good form going into the game against Fulham but when it’s all said and done, this test will be bigger than any so far and it is more important that Arsenal get the three points than put in a polished performance for no reward. If they can do both, great, but if not then it is vital that the boys get a result against what is surely one of the lesser teams in the Premiership. I’ll be watching the match via an excellent free streaming football service provided by FSi and anyone who wants to do the same should check it out.

Despite my optimistic pre-season predictions I am expecting Fulham to cause Arsenal some problems. Gallas and Toure will need to keep a close watch on Brian McBride and new Northern Ireland striker David Healy, who has been in the form of his life with the national team. However, Fulham’s weakness is their defence and the likes of van Persie, Hleb, Rosicky and Eduardo should have a great opportunity to knock in a few goals. I’m especially hoping that Wenger gives Hleb the opportunity to prove his worth in a more central role and will be hoping he has a good game to build his confidence. I’m also expecting van Persie to get his assault on the Golden Boot off to the perfect start with a goal or two. 2-0 Arsenal.

What do you think?

Voice your thoughts in the build-up to Arsenal’s first Premiership game against Fulham by leaving a comment.


36 thoughts on “Result more important than performance for Arsenal

  1. Maybe you can score 5-0, show to them, you can do it with young boy..

    Probability Line-Up


    Goal Scorer:
    2-Van Persie

  2. I think what Wenger will be working on keeping it tight at the back, given our problems last season. There’s a settled back four and I can’t say we had that at the beginning of last season (Gallas came in during the last hour of the transfer window, in addition to the injuries). I’d say 2-0 or 3-0. Healy and McBride are very good players and I’ve heard that Dempsey will play a more central role this season, which suits him greatly. Bocanegra is going to be quite good I feel, as it looks like he’s finally adjusted to the Premier League, but I think as long as Zat Knight is in the team there’s always the potential for a few goals. I’d like to see Gallas get a goal.

  3. Gallas getting a goal would be very special given all the talk about his captaincy. And yes, Andrew, I still need to do the Players Section – I was hoping to have it done before the first match but the Season Preview got in the way!

  4. if we thrash fulham today 3+ it will show the premiership we mean business and we aint fcukin around.
    am just hoping a good ruthless performance, i dont want to see the same games last season, where we just dont convert chances and then opposition score. i dont want that crap anymore.
    lets get at them within 30 mins, chance after chance make them run for the ball and chase.

    where u lot watching the game?? whats the streaming, is it on starsports?

  5. i said before ages ago, elano is a player we should buy, direct replacement for freddie ljungberg, he is the same player as freddie 4-5 years ago.

    elano is quick and skillful and a eye for goal, am suprised we did not go for him, and as u seen yestaday he played well

    for man city he was amazing yestaday

  6. Elana was OK, I wouldn’t say “amazing”. I am not personally convinced that he is what we need. When you consider that Ljungberg 4-5 years ago was banging goals in for fun it will take a little more than one good game to suggest he is in the same league as the super Swede. As for the game against Fulham: any win and I’d be happy.

  7. am on arsenal tv online, watching them warm up.

    eduardo not even on the subs bench…..

    van persie



    thats the team

    spanish watch it through tvu player its in english as well

  8. good match, but we cant do this, this is what we dont need, letting a cheap goal and chasing a game.

    i wanted a ruthless performance, but u have to admire we kept at it though

  9. So frustrating. Fulhams deplorable time wasting was pathetic and our inavility to string a few passes together made this a VERY frustrating day. We need wingers. Not once did Eboue or Rosicky take a player on. Completeley dependent on overlaps to get past their fullbacks. Hleb was good behind RVP, but had trouble getting the ball out from underneath himself too often. Flamini deputised well… really worked his socks off, and was actually one of our more creative players. Bendtner changed the game when he came on. Fanstastic. He could be a great player for us. Toyure was my man of the match. His runs forward late were needed as no one else was making probing runs. All in all, we won so I am happy. But I worry where goals are going to come from outside of the front 2 and Hleb. he will get his 10 this season.. for sure.

  10. I have to say that though it doesn’t immediately seem different from last season, there are some differences.

    1. The goal we let in wasn’t down to slack defending this time. It was a total fluke. The players looked pretty solid at the back, particularly Gallas and Sagna.

    2. Hleb looked pretty fantastic, and I think playing him in the hole will produce consistency from him. He’s still just a bit reluctant to shoot though.

    3. It’s not all going through Fabregas anymore. Rosicky and Hleb showed how creative they are, and even Flamini (who looks to be improving far beyond my initial expectations) had some clever passes.

    4. We didn’t miss any sitters. Most of the efforts were on target, but Warner, Bocanegra, and Knight were excellent.

    I still think Eboue can make a good midfielder, but it’ll take him a bit used to the positioning.

  11. Have to say although this wasnt the best Arsenal side Wenger has produced it is definetely a side with fighting spirit and a lot of determination.!
    For a side to be so young and with huge weight of expectation playing at this level,Credit has to be given to them.
    Agreed,we will need to up our game against Man Utd,Chelsea and Liverpool and put more chances created away but a win is a win and the confidence gained for a win in these conditions can only be a good thing for the team and club as a whole.
    A win in mid week in the champion League and another next weekend and we should see this side go from strength to strength.Dont forget we didnt lose to chelsea last year and we beat Man Utd twice.
    Hleb played brilliantly today and he has really improved his finishing.
    I think he could get 15+ goals a season.! Anyone agree?

  12. Joshua: Ronaldo’s goal success last season was due to early goals getting his confidence up in front of goal, he’d take it himself of giving it to a striker. Sound like it could happen with Hleb? After today and pre-season, I would love for it to happen – he set a goal of 10 goals and I would agree with that.

    I haven’t seen the game so I won’t comment, will have to wait for match of the day.

    One question: Walcott’s prediction of 10 goals in 25 games, anyone see it being a logical figure? For so many goals he’d have to be a striker surely, and I’d count like 10 carling cup games, so 15 premiership starts (all through the anc at least) and say 5 goals in the premiership? I’d love to see it happening, but I think the hype is starting to unsettle him for some reason.

  13. Today Tony Warner did Fulham proud, although we won the game ( and delighted we did so ) fulham should be proud for there performance. Very cheap goal!!!! Our 2 most dazzling performers in pre-season got us the goals to take home the 3 points. RVP converting from the spot and the surprising Hleb who is finally turning into an Arsenal favourite with his clever balls and runs. He will hit 10 goals no problem. Teams won’t think he is much of a threat then bahm he will score. Also Flamini, underrated and i think he is absolutely fantastic. He didnt stop workin til the ref blew for full time. Bendnter he will score 5 goals, he changed the game when he came on!! I think we need Gilberto to get comfortable.

  14. Great comments Jay. I’m just delighted to see Hleb get a start behind the striker and score the winning goal. For a player who thrives on confidence it will do him the world of good. Bendtner did change the game and Flamini did well – as he always does. Fulham were a threat and I wanted to kill Tony Warner at stages during the game he was so solid!

  15. Arsenal played fantastic football. We missed chances, but Tony Warner had a great game, we cant do anything about that. If that was West Ham we were playin, we coulda had 4 or 5 goals. It was a great start, and im also very happy with the fact that Flamini got the start today! Hopefully he will get more of a chance to start this year, even when Gilberto is healthy.

  16. HLEB: my man of the match. he should play same position any time.

    RVP: no comment

    EBUOE: should improve. the problem with him has always been consistency. he plays his ass off in one game and leaves you smiling and in the next one slips off and leaves you with suicidal instincts

    TOURE: he should have been the captain. i like the way he never gives up no matter what the situation. he is a fighter.

    WALCOTT: give Ebuoe a run that position..u can make it and very soon indeed. just make sure you produce a good cross after those good runs.

    LEHMANN: i’ll play Almunia anytime over lehmann unless he gets his pride and ‘am the man’ syndrome in check..he actually is still the best but his attitude sucks

    SAGNA: keep up

    GALLAS: actually have never understood why he loves backpasses (am not blaming him for the lehmann mistake) but in the preseasons, gallas would make upto 15 backpasses a match..just backpass only when necessary

    CLICHY: good work

    BENTDNER: your confidence impressed me

    FLAMINI: unexpectedly good improvement

    FABREGAS: see RVP above

    ROSICKY: give us those shots just let them be more frequent and harder 🙂

    WENGER: 🙂


  17. guys.. tony warner did well. our finishing was very poor. If you shoot the ball at the guys hands or legs, he will usually save it. When we finally tested a corner of the net, Hleb scored. We again were not ruthless in front of the net. Looking at the starting line up I was wondering where the goals might come from. Until the 85th min, I was thinking the same. I dont worry about playing Man U, Pool and Chelski.. its again the lower teams. Fun day in the end tho. Ive already left my game comments above. I just feel that their keeper did well, but we made him lokk much better than he was.

  18. oh, and Lawrie Sanchez is the new “biggest prat of the Prem”. I loved it at the end of the match when we brought on Song. Took RVP an extra few seconds to leave the pitch, and Sanchez blew his top. Must have missed his sides 2 min goal kicks and 1 min thro ins. Fair enough if your 1 up at the Arsenal, but they took it too far. He was moaning about simulation.. I see their pathetic time wasting as just as bad. Prat…

  19. I am glad that we took 3 points away from the opener and am even more delighted that Man. Utd dropped points but our performance was not as good as we can play. Once again the Emirates Curse fell on us again and the opposition scored first an we left it late to win the game. We could’ve won the game before half time if 40% of our chances were taken. I want to see a 4-3-1-2 against Sparta.
    Lehmann / Fabianski
    Sagna – Gallas – Toure – Clichy
    Rosicky – Fabregas – Flamini / Denilson
    Van Persie – Eduardo ( If injured use Walcott upfront )

    We should beat Sparta no problem but Arsenal do like to make the fans wait. Does anyone know when Gilberto gets back.

  20. Diaby and Eduardo are 50/50 when it comes to Sparta supposedly. Would love to see both start though. Hleb is awesome behind the striker but I would kinda like to see Bendtner start – Sparta just aren’t as good as most Premiership teams, in reality it’s like a carling cup game.

  21. I think anytime you play the top sides from any country, who are used to winning, is going to be a tough tie. One we should win in the first leg.. will be tough tho.

  22. “in reality it’s like a carling cup game.”

    No, no, no! This is a big game. No chances taken with this one. You put your best side out and you make sure you get the points.

  23. am so glad arsenal got 3 points hopefully this will get the lads in gear, give them the much needed confidence.

    the motivation is there, the desire as well, just needed that confidence to match

    anyways how is the fantasy football thing going who is top??

    spanish why dont u show a weekly league report or something??

  24. “anyways how is the fantasy football thing going who is top?? spanish why dont u show a weekly league report or something??”

    Your prayers have been answered 😀 I just posted a match report and a Fantasy League update. Enjoy!

  25. hi to all my favourate team u know that when u lose for chelsea fc i didnt sleep 3 nights

    shahagha from afghanistan

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