The opening defeat at home stirred up some discontent in the campaign, but Arsenal has reacted superbly with two consecutive victories. On a rainy afternoon at Craven Cottage, Arsenal was not quite at their best. With a bit of luck and two well-worked goals, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski led the Gunners to a convincing 3-1 win.
Darren Bent got his first ever goal for Fulham, but Martin Jol would have a lot to worry about his defence. Speedy attack could easily expose Brede Hangeland and Aaron Hughes and this was what Theo Walcott had consistently threatened Fulham with. The absence of Maarten Stekelenburg has also weakened the reliability at the back. Jol would take some positives from debutant Scott Parker. However, the 32 year old midfielder is not the ultimate solution for Fulham.
Still need some new blood?
3-0 at Turkey followed by 3-1 at Fulham seems to suggest Arsenal has the quality to challenge for titles. Still, they look quite short of options in a number of positions. Even when Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny can come back they still only have three non-world class centrebacks, which explains why Bacary Sagna was the emergent centreback on Saturday. Wenger also has no better options in holding midfielders than Aaron Ramsey and Tomas Rosicky, at least not until Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere are fit.
Wenger has been in the market for a world-class striker and although victories have given the Frenchman some breathing room, supporters are still desperate for some new additions before the closure of transfer market, particularly now that everyone knows they have 70 million in their bank account.
Working out the best mix
Following the capture of Scott Parker, Martin Jol has a number of choices in midfield. The two former Chelsea players, Steve Sidwell and Scott Parker, would form a solid partnership in central midfield. Giorgos Karagounis could provide invaluable experience and quality dead-ball deliveries off the bench.
Nevertheless, playing Adel Taarabt alongside Dimitar Berbatov does not seem to be a wise decision. Taarabt is always keen to be the playmaker, but Berbatov is less enthusiastic without ball at feet. The Bulgarian had been very quiet throughout the match, but looked more comfortable with Darren Bent coming in for Taarabt. The presence of Bent allowed Berbatov to drop deeper and enjoyed more possession.
The composure, the flair and the goal-scoring touch from the three former Spurs players could be a wonderful recipe for success if Martin Jol could get it right. It is always a luxury to have a variety of talents in your squad, only if one could get the most out of it at the right time.
Man of the match — Santi Cazorla
Lukas Podolski’s brace would have easily got him the award, but Santi Cazorla also proved to be a vital part to the Gunners’ attack. Having only played half of the match against Aston Villa, the Spaniard was fully fit and demonstrated excellent passing vision and technique, giving Arsenal the much needed fluency and creativity in attack. He was everywhere on the field and even contributed on the defensive end, an area he is definitely not very comfortable with, but compatible. He finally concluded his all-rounded performance with an assist to Podolski’s second goal.