Frank Stubbs: Patience and clean sheets

13/14: Arsenal 2-0 Fulham - Santi Cazorla

Over the course of the season there are occasions where we go into a game describing it as "massive". We often forget that if you don't put in the performances and get the results required in all matches, that description would almost be irrelevant.

For me, gone are the days when you had easy games, especially at the highest level. Although we have been successful so far this season, every team at the lower end of the league has given us a tough game. Only total concentration, commitment and the ability to find a goal has seen us take all three points.

London N5 was dry and relatively warm on Saturday afternoon, which made a nice change as we looked forward to the visit of Fulham - a must-win game if we were to consolidate our position among the front runners. Surely that made it important enough to be considered "massive".

The first period can probably be best described as forgettable with few chances falling for either side. Our visitors kept possession well, demonstrating that patience would be key during the second period.

The most important aspect when you are not at the top of your form in the opening period is surely to make sure you reach the break on level terms. That alone gave me total confidence that we could go on to win the game.

The extra pace and urgency in the second half was plain to see and, consequently, chances came along at a frenetic pace. Even with half-an-hour or so to go you could sense the tension building in the stadium, especially on one or two occasions where we seemed to do everything but actually find the back of the net.

Then it came, another flowing move carved open the Fulham defence and Santi slotted home the opener. A great goal met by jubilance and relief in similar quantities by all us Gooners present.

Our little Spanish wizard doubled both his and our tally for the afternoon shortly afterwards and it was pretty much game over.

That'll do nicely, three more important points in the bag and we turn our attention to the FA Cup and our fourth-round tie at home to 1987 winners Coventry City.

Those of us of a certain age remember that victory extremely well. Not only was it a year where our League Cup win started the incredible period we have enjoyed since, but Friday's visitors also beat our friends from the other end of the Seven Sisters Road to take the trophy. Always nice!

I mention Friday as it is not a day of the week on which we get to watch our team very often. A game a few years back (against Norwich I think) springs to mind as well as Thierry Henry-inspired victories over Newcastle and Leeds in more recent times.

Arguably the most memorable and famous league match in this country's top-flight history also fell on this day of course... a certain little night out at Anfield back in May 1989.

We're on the march with Arsene's Army...


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