Arsenal vs. Fulham: Two-Footed Santi the Hero

Created on Jan. 19, 2014 12:16 PM EST

Arsenal will remain top of the table for another ten days thanks to a fantastic outing from Santi Cazorla at the Emirates.  Arsenal dominated the first twenty minutes of the match before Steve Sidwell stung Scezney’s glove with a well taken half-volley.  Fulham were energized for the next period of play and grew in confidence but nothing would come from it in a scoreless first half.   
It was a man of the match performance by Cazorla that stood out against Fulham.
In my last recap of the Arsenal/Villa game I felt that Cazorla was really getting back on song and yesterday he continued to prove that.  Santiago’s trademark quick hip-swivels befuddled the likes of Paker and co. all afternoon.  Moving the ball from left to right foot, changing the point of attack, providing goals, and continuing to improve his fitness and willingness to track back and get behind the ball show that he is finally 100% after the ankle injury.
Three recent goals from Cazorla against London clubs have kept Arsenal on track in the FA Cup and ahead of the pack in the BPL during a period when many first choice players have been unavailable through injury.
Jack Wilshere played one of his best matches this season.  He won’t show up on the score sheet like he did verse Villa but he was better with the ball, won free kicks, didn’t lose his temper, and for the most part avoided over elaborating (not to say he didn’t meet his usual quota of 3-5 scoop passes around the penalty box).
Serge Gnabry got the start (over the now ‘fit’ 100+ Germany capped Podolski) and again looked fleet of foot and very exciting.  He didn’t bring his shooting boots yesterday but you have to love the promise of an 18 year old who nutmegs BPL opponents to get into the box.
Ozil was again fairly pedestrian but got a 1v1 chance with Fulham’s Dutch goalie after nice combination play that he couldn’t finish – although the angle was tight and there was a Fulham player on the line you feel he could have done better if he was fitter and a bit stronger.
Another impressive clean sheet from Scezney and the back four will continue to boost confidence in the squad.  Berbatov rarely got a sniff of goal.  Dempsy played as he typically does – not caring to defend to save his live – uninvolved, and with no chances to poach, he was useless. 
Arsenal will remain top of the table for ten days; Southampton and Palace to come before two massive encounters with Liverpool and United.

Come on Arsenal!     
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