Brede Hangeland Goal Gives Fulham Historic Win Over Arsenal

Brandon BrownContributor IAugust 24, 2008

There is a word we use over at to explain why some things happen when they shouldn't—fulhamish. Yesterday's game against Arsenal was truly fulhamish.

No one really expected Arsenal to walk away from the Cottage with anything but a win. I, too, was one of those people. Anyone who could have predicted the outcome knew something the rest of us did not.

Saturday's game was ugly, there is no doubting that. But anyone who watched couldn't think Fulham didn't deserve the win. The Cottagers did everything they needed to do to win, with the help of some poor play from the Gunners.

In my pre-match article, I said the keys for Fulahm were Danny Murphy controlling the midfield and the back four to step up their game. They must have read my article, because that is exactly what they did.

Danny Murphy put in a MOTM performance. He put a stop to Arsenal's passing game in the middle of the field and made the right passes he need to. Simon Davies also had some great defensive plays disrupting passes.

To say Fulham's defense stepped up and was prepared for the game would be an understatement. Brede Hangeland's striker-like stab at Jimmy Bullard's corner kick gave Fulham only their second win over Arsenal—ever. The tall Norwegian kept the back line tight and made key defensive plays as needed. Summer transfers Toni Kallio and John Paintsil had good performances, as well.

I believe enough has been said about Arsenal's lackluster performance. They looked flat and made way too many mistakes. It wasn't until the 70th minute that the Gunners stepped up their game and realized this was no friendly.

Arsenal did show some moments of their usual brilliance, though. Emmanuel Eboue made some VERY dangerous runs up the middle of the field. His runs led Fulham's defense to make bad fouls and give Arsenal hope.

But it was not to be, as Robin van Persie's left foot could not produce the majic he is known for from dead ball situations.

The back four of Arsenal had a good game. Toure, Clichy and Sagna put in admirable performances. They were able to snub out most forward passes to Bobby Zamora and Seol Ki-Hyeon.

Both teams will look at this game and take a lot out of it. Fulham will want to continue their passing game and strong defense, and Arsenal will be looking to get their offense off on the right foot.

The Gunners will need their forwards and midfielders to really step up their games if they are going to be a true title contender this season.

Arsenal will next play Twente Aschende in a UEFA Champion's League match up on Wednesday, and Fulham will suit up against Leicester City for their first Carling Cup match of the season. Good luck to both teams in their upcoming games.