The media tried in vain to spin yesterday's win as a lucky one, in reality although Fulham played well, we shaded the game and created more clear cut chances than the opposition. The extremely fortunate nature of Fulham's equaliser was ignored and the win was simply down to Nasri's brilliance, nothing else was really said, a few tired old mutterings about our soft centre were repeated, but nothing insightful or meaningful was added by the majority of those giving an opinion in the press.
The game should have been beyond Fulham before they equalised, Nasri's well taken opener should have been added to, a combination of slightly slack finishing and some good goalkeeping from Schwarzer kept the score at one nil. Then the controversial moment, a clear clash of heads between Squillaci and Koscielny saw the latter left dazed and confused, the referee Foy clearly should have stopped the game, a really poor and indefensible error from the official. Kamara was left free by the groggy Koscielny, he then put away a straightforward chance that simply would not have come his way if the referee had done his job properly.
The media just haven't done much to criticise this poor piece of officiating, the rules are very clear on head injuries. It is strange that the same media allows Gareth Bale to dive and pirouette without restraint without making any critical comment. Fulham then had a great chance to take the lead when Kamara was played through one on one with Fabianski just before half time, Fabianski did well and closed the angle down, the linesman was generous in not flagging the Fulham man offside.
The second half was a nervous affair. Fulham launched a rather aerial attack but didn't create that much clear cut, mainly half chances fell their way, probably the best of which was missed by Etuhu late on. The goal that won the game was top top class, Nasri made his brilliant first half effort look average with an even more sumptuous effort. RVP slid him in on the edge of the box, at pace he too two delightful touches to jink past the defender, then another neat touch to round Schwarzer, as the angle ran out, he swivelled himself onto his right foot and finished with en elevated curler from an acute angle, not far off the perfect goal, it is hard to sum it up with words.
Overall a tight game but I think a deserved win, we had some luck but so did Fulham, Mark Hughes strangely didn't mention the refereeing error that gifted them their goal. Nasri was outstanding yet again and Arshavin is looking sharper than he has done for a while, these are massive positives. The negatives must include the rather dubious cover that the midfield afforded to the back four, Song seemed too far up field at times. Johan Djourou's performance was also encouraging, we should also remember that after such a serious injury he has to be rehabilitated relatively slowly, his knee may mean that he can never play quite as many games per season as a normal player might.
Arseblog adds a good balance to proceedings with today's blog, it is indeed important that we realise there are areas we can improve, it is also important that we realise that we are doing some things very well and that the guts we have shown with some of our recent wins will only add to our mental strength, this will certainly come in handy when the going gets tough later on in the season. One can't help but feel that the return of Vermaelen will be rather key, my fingers are cross for his Achilles tendon, it would be good to see the Verminator back soon, that is all I want for Christmas.