I had mixed emotions after today's trip to the Emirates but if I am honest I was generally pleased with the overall performance and the character shown to come back from a goal down against a well organised and disciplined Fulham side who fought hard throughout.
The surprise in the team selection was that Arshavin came in for Gervinho and I have to say that the big negative of the game was the Russian's truly pathetic performance, he days with us are surely numbered. He was ineffective going forward, his movement lazy, his defensive work poor, he was just generally poor in everything he did, his only decent moment was the correctly rules offside goal in the first half.
We weren't great in the first half but we were the better side, and created some decent openings, the best of which saw Ramsey force a sublime save from Schwarzer that tipped the ball agonisingly over the bar. Theo tore them apart down the right hand side, the opposite of the ineffectual Arshavin on the right.
Earlyish in the first half RVP was denied by a rather inadvertent goal line clearance but the game didn't really get going in the second half until Fulham opened the scoring thanks to a slightly unfortunate own goal by Thomas Vermaelen, but after this goal the volume increased and we bombarded Fulham until the final whistle. Diaby, Chamakh and Gervinho all came on for the siege.
The equaliser was fantastic, a great Walcott cross met by a thumping Vermaelen header, unstoppable. We showed great fight and guts as we threw the kitchen sink at the Cottagers. Schwarzer had to be on top form as he made several decent saves, while some other good chances came and went. Overall we created enough to have won it but it just wasn't to be, sometimes this is life.
A special mention must go to the referee Mike Dean who was generally clueless throughout. He missed numerous clear fouls which were committed right in front of him, he ignored several very decent penalty shouts in the second half, he somehow allowed big Phil Senderos to stay on the pitch after the most blatant of second yellow card tackles on Gervinho. He was just generally crap and can't control a football game.
Personally it seemed to be a point gained today, although it was frustrating that we couldn't take advantage of some great chances to win the game when the score was 1-1. The team showed character and fight to come back when it would have been easy to go down one nil. The crowd were fantastic in really getting behind the team when Fulham had taken the lead. The big negative was Arshavin's weak performance, while it does look like we could do with some higher quality striking reinforcements in January.