2 standout Arsenal players from dreadful defeat to Fulham

  • Arsenal's worst performance of the season so far ended in defeat
  • Fulham manage to take four points from the Gunners after their draw at the Emirates
  • Very few players impressed for Arsenal
Fulham FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League
Fulham FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League / Alex Pantling/GettyImages

Well that was dire wasn't it?

In the final game of 2023, Fulham hosted Arsenal at Craven Cottage. With two losses, a draw and just one win in their last four matches, it was imperative that Mikel Arteta's men bounced back and got a win.

The match started brilliantly. Gabriel Martinelli managed to make a yard for himself in the box and shoot. Bernd Leno could only spill the effort into the path of Bukayo Saka, who put the Gunners a goal ahead with the rebound.

However, that was all the joy Arsenal fans were going to get. The team did not play well after that and a well-worked but poorly defended Fulham move was finished off by Raúl Jiménez.

Then, after the break, it was the same old story as Arsenal conceded yet again from a corner. Until the final whistle, it looked more likely that Fulham would add a third than Arsenal equalise in what was a performance reminiscent of Arteta's first year in charge.

In the other two losses against Villa and West Ham, Arsenal were comfortably the better team and while the results were disappointing, the performances weren't. Against Fulham, both performance and result were very worrying.

Almost every Arsenal player had a bad game and it really looked like the team was fatigued. There were still two decent performances in my opinion.

2 standout Arsenal players from dreadful defeat to Fulham

1. Gabriel Magalhães

Bobby Reid, Gabriel
Fulham FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League / Alex Pantling/GettyImages

It wasn't exactly Gabriel Magalhães' best performance but he was the best defensive Arsenal player on the pitch.

William Saliba and Declan Rice both had what was probably their worst performance this season but Big Gab was very solid.

Three blocks, two interceptions and three tackles, it could have been an even more sordid afternoon than it was without the big Brazilian.

I also liked his performance on the ball, as he tried to move the ball forward as much as was reasonable.

He has completely eradicated the error-prone and lunging-in side of his game and the team is so much better for it. He maybe should have cleared the corner that led to Fulham's second better, but he was good in a sea of bad.

2. Eddie Nketiah

This will be an unpopular opinion among Arsenal fans but Eddie Nketiah was a stand-out player for me yesterday. Of course, he didn't score or assist and it wasn't his finest game but I thought he performed better than most other players.

He wasn't really able to get into the game properly, having only 23 touches but those touches were quite good.

He spun Calvin Bassey early in the game which should probably have resulted in a card for the Fulham player, who played fantastically by the way.

I also thought he found teammates in good positions a couple of times, like when he chested the ball to Leandro Trossard in the second half.

He did well with a Martin Odegaard pass in the first half, managing to make space and shoot but his effort was wide.

It was far from a brilliant performance for Nketiah but I do see a good player when I watch him. He needed to get more involved, which was partly because of him but also because teammates weren't finding him with their passes.

Overall, it was a shocking game for the Gunners and one I am very keen to leave in 2023.