Arsenal dealt huge blow in bid for European competition after draw against Fulham

Mikel Arteta's men currently sit ninth in the Premier League table, six points behind the nearest Europa League spot.

Action during the match between Arsenal and Fulham. (Image credit: Twitter/Premier League)

Mikel Arteta’s philosophy might have won Arsenal an FA Cup in 2020, but it is falling apart in 2021. Arsenal, on Sunday, drew 1-1 against relegation battlers Fulham at the Emirates stadium. The result inflicts a heavy blow in the Gunners’ bid for European competition next season and the pressure seems to be piling on the young Spanish manager. Arsenal was on the verge of losing the game, but a 97th-minute equaliser by youngster Eddie Nketiah secured one point for Arteta’s men. 

Arsenal was by far the more attacking side in the match with 70% of the possession and 18 shots. However, only five of those were on target. In comparison, London rivals Fulham could only manage three shots on target of which, only one was on target, and that was the one which got the goal. Ex-Sunderland player Josh Maja gave the visitors the lead thanks to a 59th-minute penalty. The referee took, what felt like ages, to give the penalty after Fulham player Lemina was caught by Arsenal defender Gabriel. 

VAR was involved in a controversial decision yet again as a Dani Ceballos goal was ruled out in the first half. The argument was that wing-back Bukayo Saka was marginally offside in the build-up. The move in itself was a thing of beauty and the Gunners will feel hard done by VAR. Arsenal’s goal in added time was also checked by VAR over a potential offside by defender Rob Holding, but to Arteta’s relief, the goal stood. 

The result does not do anything positive for either team. For Scott Parker, it means that his Fulham side will remain in the relegation zone, eight points behind Brighton and Hove Albion who also have two games in hand and are safe as it stands. For Arsenal, European competition seems like a distant dream. They are six points behind the nearest Europa League spot which is occupied by Liverpool.

Arsenal’s best chance to make it to Europe would be through winning the Europa League. They face Villareal in the semi-finals and if they win over the two legs, will go on to face either Roma or Manchester United in the final.    

Sportslumo Desk

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