I can't be arsed to write a match report for the Fulham game. I though it would be wise to concentrate on analysing the interesting bits, rather than reproducing yet another description of a match that has been described many times elsewhere. So a 1-0 win, exactly the kind of juice we need, the slight problem I had with it was it was not a convincing grinding championship winning 1-0 win, it was more of a flukey riding one's luck 1-0.
Mannone had a stormer, there's no doubt about that, I have not been convinced by him in the past but against Fulham he showed real ability. The defense played pretty well, with Gallas and Vermaelen having good games. I think our main problem is that our defense does not get enough help from the rest of the team and this is something that was a big problem last year, as well as the year before that.
Fulham were always going to press and harry us, they were always going to keep the tempo high and try to rush into errors. By and large it worked, and frankly that is a bit of a concern because better teams than Fulham will do the same later in the season. Song is the one guy who helps out the back four, but one man is not enough. Cesc is a ball player, he's physically small and will never be a defensive rock, I would never expect to do that much but he could still do a bit more than he did against Fulham.
Diaby is an enigma, the boy blows hot and cold, more frequently cold. The frustrating thing with him is that he has so much ability, he can do the most amazing things, he can beat men at ease, he can score blinding goals, he can defend well when he chooses too. The problem is that he appears to have no natural instinct for where he should be and he sometimes lacks a direction, how much of this is down to the player and how much down to what he is told I do not know. What I do know is that he doesn't make as much of his ability as he should. His pace, strength, technique and skill are as good as Vieira in his prime, it's just what's between the ears that is lacking.
So when you combine a light three man midfield with only really Song getting stuck in with a three man forward line then you have a bit of a recipe for being overwhelmed in midfield. The combination and balance just didn't seem right to me, I would be interested to know what everyone else thought. It fits with our collapse at City, I just don't think we have the players to defend a lead, we can only try to score more, we cannot close up shop and hold onto a one goal lead if we wan't to. For this reason I cannot see us winning the league this year.
We have quite a few options in this area, it's a great shame that Denilson is out for two months as he provides an understated efficiency that contrasts with Diaby's erratic showmanship. Rosicky might me a good option as a wide man in the front three, Ramsey might deserve a few more starts in the midfield. Another problem with the 4-3-3 is that it does not get the best out of Bendtner, he is at home in the middle and is wasted out in wider areas. I just don't think we quite have the right balance of players in the squad, Arsene has tried to get around this by changing the formation, but this hasn't got rid of the original problem. We just don't have enough hard all round combative midfielders in the squad.
Meanwhile the club's holding company has reported record profits. The full report can be seen here at Arsenal.com. The return to fitness of the housing market which has resulted in more Highbury Square sales, however a large reason for the record profit and turnover has been the team's success. Runs in the CL and the FA cup combined with the increased gate receipts from a bigger more corporate stadium have seen the money flow in. If Arsene feels he needs some new players in January then these impressive financial results mean that money will not be a problem.