Date: 27th August 2023 at 4:14pm
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A frustrating afternoon for Arsenal as they threw away three points at home to Fulham. 

Not much has been made at what seems to be a soft backbone at home, with Mikel Arteta’s side managing just three clean sheets at the Emirates since the start of last season.

The defensive lapses cost them once again as Fulham equalised from a corner in the last minute through Joao Palhinha, a goal that was entirely avoidable.

As was the Fulham opener after a poor Bukayo Saka backpass allowed Andre Pereira to score after just 57 seconds. Arsenal fought back and were impressive in their reply with goals from Eddie Nketiah and Saka from the penalty spot seemingly pushing the three points in the direction of the North Londoners.

Yet even with Arsenal having a man advantage for the closing minutes, they could not see out the game. Palhinha was left unmarked and punished sloppy defending to snatch a point for Marco Silva’s team.

In games against Nottingham Forest and now Fulham, Arsenal have conceded in the last 15 minutes of the second half, with the defending that cost them towards the end of last season’s title challenge still an issue.

Takehiro Tomiyasu’s red card at Palace meant Jakub Kiwior came into Mikel Arteta’s home side, with Thomas Partey playing as a makeshift full-back, and it was clear to see the defence was unbalanced by the changes.

Who stood out?

It was difficult to pick out too many players from this game considering how disjointed the side looked throughout.

However, Fabio Vieira looked sharp and was at the hard of several good phases of attacking play for the Gunners. He won the penalty with a clever run and crossed the ball for Nketiah’s winner.

In addition, Leo Trossard looked sharp and pulled the strings as a false nine and was unlucky to be withdrawn from the game. Nketiah looked exceptional as he changed the dynamic of the game with his introduction. His runs off the ball, as well as intelligence to find pockets of space inside the box is the sign of a player who really belongs in the starting XI.

One player though who struggled was Kai Havertz. It’s hard to argue what he’s brought to Arsenal so far and was completely anonymous in the game. He got into good areas on two occasions and missed both chances where a player with more confidence would have certainly put them away.

The back five including Aaron Ramsdale struggled throughout the game and the marking from the set play that allowed Fulham to equalise was borderline comical.


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