Wednesday, 27 August 2008
If Arsenal are serious about a title challenge...
Losing 1-0 to likely bottom feeding club Fulham hardly sends out a strong message that they are challengers for the Premier League title - even if your best player Cesc Fabregas wasn't in the lineup. While credit must go to Fulham for reversing their fortunes from Week One in a big way (they lost 2-1 to newly promoted Hull City) to claim a big scalp in the form of Arsenal at Craven Cottage, the inability of the Gunners to score more than one goal in their opening two fixtures is a major shock. Having caught all of Arsenal's 1-0 opening day defeat of West Brom - I was still impressed by their ability to move the ball and create scoring opportunities, despite the fact they couldn't pull the trigger and put the 3 or 4 goals past the Baggies that they should have. I figured it was just an off-day for the strike force Arsenal still had at its disposal that day. Surely next week against Fulham it'd be a 3 or 4 goal rout... Then I open the box score and see Fulham 1 Arsenal 0 and I nearly fell off my chair. For a team with title aspirations this is simply not good enough. Influential midfielder Fabregas should return this weekend but in the race for the Premiership the Gunners have now dropped their single droppable game to a less fancied opponent - and there are still 36 weeks to go! And when you consider Chelsea pushed aside Portsmouth and a plucky Wigan to take the maximum points from the opening fortnight - Arsenal are already in a situation that relies on other results to go their way, which with an opening slate of West Brom (H) and Fulham (A) seemed beyond unlikely. ~~~~~ In other Week Two Results: Blackburn 1-1 Hull City, Liverpool 2-1 Middlesbrough, Newcastle 1-0 Bolton, Stoke City 3-2 Aston Villa, Tottenham 1-2 Sunderland, West Brom 1-2 Everton, Wigan 0-1 Chelsea, Manchester City 3-0 West Ham, Portsmouth 0-1 Manchester United. So Stoke City break through for their first win over fancied Villa, Liverpool escaped at home against Middlesbrough, Manchester City blew West Ham away and Tottenham start the season with two losses after falling 2-1 to Sunderland at White Hart Lane. Ladder: Chelsea and Liverpool head the league with 6 points while Blackburn, Hull City, Manchester United and Newcastle sit behind them on 4 points. Tottenham, Wigan, West Brom and Portsmouth are yet to open their account for season 2008/2009. Top Goalscorers: Gabriel Agbonlahor still leads thanks to his Week One hat-trick but has been joined at the top by Man City midfielder Elano, while Middlesbrough striker Mido is making the most of his game time with 2 goals in just 40 minutes of action this season.
By W D Nicolson