Arsenal 2 – 2 Fulham: Gunners struggle against London rivals

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It was a disappointing afternoon for Arsenal as they gave away two sloppy goals, drawing 2-2 with Fulham at the Emirates.

The Gunners have struggled to keep clean sheets at home – just three since the start of last season – and that soft underbelly is seemingly costing the side dearly.

Lapses once again were an issue as Fulham punished Mikel Arteta’s side on two occasions. The first came just 57 seconds into the game when a short Bukayo Saka pass allowed Andre Periera to score from distance.

Arsenal battled back thanks to an inspired Fabio Vieira who won the penalty that Saka converted before crossing for Eddie Nketiah to make it 2-1.

Then frustration. As the game was ticking to an end, Joao Palhina was left unmarked before converting into the bottom corner from a set piece. A scenario that was completely and entirely avoidable.

What went wrong for Arsenal?

The first issue was potentially the changes within the team. Takehiro Tomiyasu’s red card at Crystal Palace on Monday meant Jakub Kiwior came into the starting XI, with Thomas Partey playing as a makeshift full-back, and it was clear to see the defence was unbalanced by the changes.

In addition to this, the games against Nottingham Forest and now Fulham, Arsenal have conceded in the last 15 minutes of the second half, with the defending that cost them towards the end of last season’s title challenge still seemingly a problem.

The team looks soft, especially at home as the opportunity to put opposition to the sword is never taken. That lack of ruthlessness needs to be adopted quickly and if that’s to the sacrifice of the substance of play, then it should be taken.

Who stood out?

Several players still impressed despite being let down by a nervous back five. Vieira was a huge factor in why Arsenal took anything away from the game. In addition, Leo Trossard was unlucky to be taken off as his involvement as a false nine was the source of positivity in the final third.

This game should serve as a wake-up call to improve the defence as the old saying goes, a defence will win you titles.

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