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Arsenalâ€™s stuttering campaign took another disappointing turn as the Gunners dropped two points at home to Fulham, a team who had never beaten them at home, after an enthralling game at the Emirates finished 3-3. Arsenal threw away a two-goal lead for the 2nd time in a week and eventually had to claw themselves back into the game to save their skin. Olivier Giroudâ€™s 11th minute strike followed by Lukas Podolskiâ€™s effort in the 23rd minute gave Arsene Wengerâ€™s men a commanding 2-0 lead. But Fulham were never out of the contest and deservedly equalized before the break courtesy of Dimitar Berbatovâ€™s 29th minute header and Alex Kacaniklicâ€™s header five minutes before the half-time whistle.
The Cottagers seemingly completed an amazing turnaround when Berbatov converted from the spot in the 67th minute but Giroud scored his 2nd of the evening three minutes later to draw Arsenal level. A frantic finale ensued as both sides went for the jugular and Arsenal should have walked away with the three points after they were awarded a questionable penalty in the 94th minute. But to Fulhamâ€™s relief, Mikel Arteta, who conceded the penalty at the other end earlier, saw his weak shot saved by Mark Schwarzer.
Vito Mannone: 4/10
Arsenal fans are sure to be pining for Wojciech Szczesnyâ€™s return after this performance as Mannone was shaky all night, especially for the 2nd Fulham goal when he let Kacaniklicâ€™s header squirm through from 15 yards out.
Bacary Sagna: 6/10
The right-back allowed Berbatov to plant a free-header in the first half and although he regained his composure as the game went on he wasnâ€™t his usual effervescent self on the wings.
Laurent Koscielny: 6/10
Koscielny had a rough outing as he was kept busy by Berbatov and Ruiz, constantly having to move out of position to make last ditch tackles, one of which included an incredible sliding challenge to deny Berbatov a goal-scoring opportunity in the 2nd half.
Per Mertesacker: 6/10
The experienced German also had a tough day at the office, especially when Fulham were on top either side of the break.
Thomas Vermaelen: 5/10
Arsenalâ€™s captain has been struggling to regain his form and he most definitely failed to capture it last night as he was caught out for the 2nd goal. There was ample evidence yesterday to show the Verminator is not at all comfortable at left-back, and his selection in that position limits the Gunners considerably going forward.
Francis Coquelin: 5/10
A fairly quiet game for the youngster who stepped in for the suspended Jack Wilshere and his tendency to lose possession forced Wenger to replace him with Ramsey early in the 2nd half.
Mikel Arteta: 2/10
Arguably his worst performance in an Arsenal shirt. The Spaniard might have provided the assist for the 2nd goal but he lost the ball in dangerous areas far too often, giving away a penalty after one such occasion and more damagingly he failed to convert the spot-kick awarded to Arsenal in the 94th minute.
Santi Cazorla: 5/10
The summer signing has faded away off late, looking very jaded in the creative hole. The only glimpse of his old self was when he played a delightful first-time through ball for Giroud, which eventually led to the equalizer.
Theo Walcott: 8/10
The Englishman once again showcased his value to Arsenal, bursting down the right with purpose, especially in the 1st half when he had a hand in the opening goal and later in the game when he crossed for Giroudâ€™s 2nd.
Lukas Podolski: 6/10
The German international ended his goal-drought but the 1st half goal aside he was largely anonymous.
Olivier Giroud: 8/10
Giroud has gradually been approaching his best form and he announced himself last night with a commanding performance. He grabbed two headed goals, struck the upright and looked the part all night.
Aaron Ramsey: 5/10
The Welshman looks a pale shadow of his old self and came very close to being sent-off despite coming on only ten minutes into the 2nd half.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 5/10
â€˜The Oxâ€™ offered a more direct threat when he replaced Podolski with 15 minutes to go but couldnâ€™t make a huge impact.
Andrei Arshavin: 6/10
The Russian once again proved to be a valuable substitute as he looked lively after coming on, winning the penalty in added time.
Mark Schwarzer: 8/10
The keeper Arsenal tried to sign a few years back reminded them of his talents as he illuminated the 2nd half with two great saves - one from a Giroud strike but more importantly the diving stop to keep out Artetaâ€™s penalty in stoppage time.
Sascha Riether: 5/10
He allowed former team-mate Podolski to nip ahead of him for the goal and unfortunately gave away the penalty in added time.
Aaron Hughes: 5/10
He allowed Giroud to run past him for the opening goal and that set the tone for the evening as he lost out to the Frenchman.
Brede Hangeland: 6/10
Hangeland had a much better outing, marshalling the back-line with authority when the game had lost its shape.
John Arne Riise: 5/10
The ex-Liverpool man was pegged back by Walcott, especially in the first half. All three Arsenal goals came from his side.
Chris Baird: 6/10
He has established himself in the Fulham midfield, although he could be quicker in finding a forward pass.
Steve Sidwell: 6/10
Sidwell was an important cog in the centre, helping Fulham play off the back. He was fortunate not to receive a 2nd yellow card after the restart.
Kieran Richardson: N/A
A horrible day for the winger as he sprained his hamstring on his return from another injury.
Ashkhan Dejagah: 7/10
The Iranian was a surprise starter ahead of Damien Duff but his high energy levels proved why Martin Jol went with him. He almost scored an audacious back-heeled goal just before the break and ran himself into the ground for the team's cause.
Dimitar Berbatov: 9/10
The enigmatic forward has found his groove at Fulham and showcased what he is capable of when trusted by the manager. A brace and an assist to show for after a sparkling performance.
Bryan Ruiz: 9/10
The Costa Rican compliments Berbatov beautifully, dropping deep to pick up the ball and spray it wide. Ruizâ€™s ability to find pockets of space and steal the ball from Arsenalâ€™s midfielders was vital to Fulhamâ€™s gameplan, as highlighted when he won the penalty.
Alexander Kacaniklic: 7/10
He found the back of the net for the 1st time since the opening day and gives the manager a quality option n the wide areas.
Damien Duff: N/A
He came on for Dejagah with five minutes to go.
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