Saturday 28 February 2009, 3:00pm at Emirates Stadium, London
Barclays Premier League
Arsenal
Arsenal
0
Fulham FC
Fulham
0
A superb defensive display from Aaron Hughes and Brede Hangeland earned the Whites a fantastic point at The Emirates, further enhancing the chances of playing in Europe next season.

63' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Nicklas Bendtner
Off:Carlos Vela

70' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Emmanuel Eboué
Off:Bacary Sagna

46' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Fredrik Stoor
Off:Chris Baird

88' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Zoltán Gera
Off:Clint Dempsey

0
15
30
45
60
75
90

There was some good news for Fulham ahead of kick-off with Diomansy Kamara being named as one of Roy Hodgson's substitutes for Saturday's clash at the Emirates. After suffering a serious knee injury whilst on international duty in the summer of 2008 Kamara has made a remarkable recovery to return for the final third of the 08/09 Barclays Premier League season.

Following last weekend's league win over West Brom Roy Hodgson made one change to his starting eleven to face Arsenal. Chris Baird replaced the suspended John Pantsil at right back.

Arsenal kicked-off at the Emirates and it was a pulsating first half in which Fulham put on a first class performance.  Roy Hodgson's side created four genuine chances on goal in the opening ten minutes of play and attacked with intent. Arsenal's left flank was exposed on each occassion with Johnson (twice), Davies and Dempsey all going close.

Johnson looked particularly lively for Fulham, causing Gallas and Toure concern with some intelligent and incisive runs behind Arsenal's defence. His second effort on goal followed a turn on the edge of the area which left Gallas flat-footed and the striker clean through on goal.

The home side created  their first clear cut chance after 11 minutes of play. Van Persie's header from six yards out forced  Schwarzer to produce a superb fingertip save to tip the ball over the cross bar.

Fulham played with real confidence and whilst looking defensively secure the Whites looked the more likely side to take the lead. Bobby Zamora had two long range efforts before the half hour mark before turning provider for Johnson to go close at Almunia's near post before Murphy fired over the rebound from the edge of the area.

Arsenal for their part had two further opportunities before half-time but on each occassion Nasri and Van Persie were denied by outstanding last ditch defending. Five minutes before the break Chris Baird, whose first half performance was faultless, required treatement after taking a knock but returned moments later in an attempt to run off the knock. Fulham attacked in waves before the break and could count themselves unfortunate not to be ahead at half-time.

Despite his best efforts to run off his first half ankle injury Chris Baird did not return for the second period and was replaced by Fredrik Stoor at right back. The Swedish international was in the thick of the action straight away with Arsenal clearly targeting Fulham's right flank.

Van Persie, utilised on the left wing at the start of the second half, made several probing runs deep into Fulham's half but Hodgson's defence remained resolute and the Whites remained on level terms, partly due to two superb last ditch tackling from Brede Hangeland.

Fulham's organisation and discipline was paramount to keeping the tie level whilst a slice of luck came their way 15 minutes into the second half when Van Persie's header came back off Schwarzer's far post.

The deadlock saw Arsene Wenger made the first substitution of the game, replacing Vera with Bendtner. Fulham rode out Arsenal's storm of pressure and readdressed the balance of play, threatening with some fine counter attacking football. The best chance fell to Simon Davies who saw his strike from 18 yards blocked after Johnson and Zamora had linked up superbly, combining pace and movement to expose Arsenal's back-line.

Twenty minutes from time Sagna was replaced by Eboue. The switch signalled another phase of intense Arsenal pressure. Schwarzer was forced to produce his second outstanding save of the game, denying Diaby at near post with as reflex save. 

Eight minutes from time Arshavin was handed Arsenal's best opportunity of the game. Van Persie teed up Arshavin on the left hand side of the area for a clear shot on goal but fortunately the Russian international balsted his shot wide of Schwarzer's near post.

Two minutes from time Roy Hodgson replaced Clint Dempsey with Zoltan Gera. During the closing stages the Whites dominated possession with some slick one-touch passing in the home side's half. Hodgson's side thoroughly deserved a point from Saturday's tie and will count themselves unfotunate not to have gained an advantage early on after creating several fine chances on goal.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 28 February 2009
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Emirates Stadium, London
Attendance: 60,102

Referee: Peter Walton

Arsenal

Line-up: Almunia; Sagna (Eboué 70'), Touré, Gallas, Clichy; Abou Diaby, Nasri, Denilson; Arshavin, Vela (Bendtner 63'), van Persie

Unused substitutes: Fabianski, Djourou, Gibbs, Ramsey, Song

Fulham

Line-up: Schwarzer; Baird (Stoor 46'), Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky; Davies, Murphy, Etuhu, Dempsey (Gera 88'); Zamora, Johnson

Unused substitutes: Zuberbühler, Kallio, Dacourt, Nevland, Kamara

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Manchester United 26 62
2 Chelsea 27 55
3 Liverpool 27 55
4 Aston Villa 26 51
5 Arsenal 27 46
6 Everton 27 44
7 Wigan Athletic 27 35
8 Fulham 26 34
9 West Ham United 26 33
10 Manchester City 26 32
11 Sunderland 26 31
12 Bolton Wanderers 26 30
13 Hull City 26 29
14 Tottenham Hotspur 26 28
15 Newcastle United 26 28
16 Portsmouth 26 28
17 Middlesbrough 27 26
18 Stoke City 26 25
19 Blackburn Rovers 25 23
20 West Bromwich Albion 27 22
Arsenal (4-3-3)
  • 1Manuel Almunia
  • 3Bacary Sagna
  • 5Kolo Touré
  • 10William Gallas
  • 22Gaël Clichy
  • 24Vassiriki Abou Diaby
  • 8Samir Nasri
  • 15Denilson
  • 23Andrey Arshavin
  • 11Carlos Vela
  • 10Robin van Persie
Substitutes
  • 21Lukasz Fabianski
  • 20Johan Djourou
  • 28Kieran Gibbs
  • 16Aaron Ramsey
  • 17Alexandre Song
  • 27Emmanuel Eboué
  • 52Nicklas Bendtner
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 1Mark Schwarzer
  • 34Chris Baird
  • 5Brede Hangeland
  • 18Aaron Hughes
  • 3Paul Konchesky
  • 25Simon Davies
  • 13Danny Murphy
  • 20Dickson Etuhu
  • 23Clint Dempsey
  • 9Bobby Zamora
  • 8Andrew Johnson
Substitutes
  • 19Pascal Zuberbühler
  • 22Fredrik Stoor
  • 33Toni Kallio
  • 11Zoltán Gera
  • 16Olivier Dacourt
  • 10Erik Nevland
  • 15Diomansy Kamara