Fulham 2 – 2 Arsenal
It’s finally over for Arsenal and their fans, a season that promised so much but delivered absolutely nothing.
A sixth year without a trophy and a sense of discontent amongst the Gunners fans wasn’t the way this season was supposed to end.
But it’s been the same for the last six years and Arsène Wenger’s philosophy of spending little and placing trust in his young guns is starting to wear thin with the Gunners fans.
They want the silverware that should come with their brand of slick, attacking football.
The final day brought a 2-2 draw with mid-table Fulham. It was an Arsenal performance which typified their 2010/11 season.
A game that took its time to get going turned out to be an entertaining affair with a last gasp goal from Theo Walcott saving Arsenal’s blushes.
A point wasn’t good enough to secure third place and they’ll now have to qualify for the Champion’s League group stages next year, a failure by their sky high standards.
They should have taken the lead early on when Kieran Gibbs got on the end of a Bacary Sagna cross, only for Mark Schwarzer to palm away the defender’s header.
Despite Wenger urging his side to secure that automatic spot, the lack of urgency in the Gunners’ play was alarming and it wasn’t surprising when they slipped behind in the 25th minute.
Bobby Zamora broke down the right and his deflected cross dropped perfectly for Steve Sidwell, who side footed through the legs of Johan Djourou and keeper Wojciech Szczęsny.
That sparked Arsenal into life and Robin van Persie drew them level three minutes later with his ninth consecutive away goal, and 18th since the turn of the year. Abou Diaby rolled the ball into his path with the Dutchman taking a touch before stroking the ball home from the edge of the area.
Fulham should have regained the lead before the half time whistle but some brilliant defending from the returning Thomas Vermaelen denied the Cottagers’ skipper Danny Murphy.
They did so 12 minutes into the second half and with Zamora rising to thump home Jonathan Greening’s cross.
Simon Davies then had a chance to put the game beyond doubt but his toe poke from the edge of the box rolled agonisingly wide.
Arsenal’s chances of snatching a point were given a boost after Zoltan Gera was shown a straight red. The Hungarian’s two footed lunge was deemed worthy of an early bath by referee Mark Atkinson and could have ruined his side’s chances of European football via the fair play league.
The man advantage proved to be a godsend for the Gunners as Walcott popped up with a minute to go driving in a low shot into the corner from the right.
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