Posted November 10, 2012 on
AP on Fox
Arsenal threw away a two-goal lead for the second time this week, with a 3-3 draw against Fulham prolonging the team's worst English Premier League start under Arsene Wenger.
The Gunners appeared to be cruising on Saturday when Olivier Giroud headed them in front and Lukas Podolski fired in another in the 23rd minute.
But just like in Tuesday's 2-2 draw at Schalke in the Champions League, Arsenal's advantage evaporated. In the space of 11 minutes, both Dimitar Berbatov and Alex Kacaniklic were left to score with free headers for Fulham.
Arsenal's troubles deepened in the second half when Dimitar Berbatov put Fulham ahead from the penalty spot.
Giroud equalized for Arsenal with his second headed goal and the hosts could have won the match in stoppage time but Mikel Arteta's penalty was saved.
After 11 matches, Arsenal has just 16 points in seventh place and is ahead of Fulham only on goal difference. That's even worse than this time last season when Arsenal had collected 19 points, the previous worst start since Wenger arrived in 1996.
While the climax at Emirates Stadium was thrilling, the first half was played at a slow pace - despite delivering four goals.
After scoring in the midweek Champions League draw at Schalke, Walcott was rewarded with just his second league start of the season.
And Walcott set up the opener, accurately pinging in the corner that Giroud met after rising above Aaron Hughes. Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer got a touch to Giroud's header but was unable to keep it out in the 11th.
There was a double setback for Fulham when Kieran Richardson was forced off with hamstring trouble and Kacaniklic was still to come on when Arsenal went further ahead in the 23rd.
Fulham was unpicked down the right before Arteta cut the ball back past Chris Baird to Podolski six yards from goal and the Germany forward swept the ball into the net.
Arsenal's two-goal cushion didn't reflect the possession Fulham had enjoyed and the visitors made amends in the 29th.
Bryan Ruiz floated in a corner that Berbatov rose unmarked to meet and he sent the downward header with ease over the line. Vito Mannone and Arteta watched helplessly as the ball went between them.
Arsenal didn't tighten up at the back in response with Berbatov then beating Podolski on the right and finding the space to cross into the penalty area where Kacaniklic darted in to head Fulham level.
Apart from the goals, the first half offered little to excite, with Arsenal booed off at halftime.
At the start of the second half, Arsenal missed the chance to regain its lead when Giroud couldn't rise high enough to meet Walcott's cross.
But just as Arsenal seemed to be taking control, Arteta tangled with Ruiz and referee Phil Dowd awarded a penalty kick.
Berbatov coolly slotted into the bottom left from the spot in the 67th, with Mannone remaining almost static as Fulham went in front for the first time.
But only for two minutes.
Giroud stormed into the penalty area from the left flank and struck against the far post. The rebound fell to Walcott and the winger picked out Giroud, who sent a glancing header into the net.
Giroud was then denied from 25 yards, with Schwarzer turning the shot around the post.
The frantic second half nearly had one final twist when Fulham defender Sascha Riether inadvertently handled, but Schwarzer dived the right way to block Arteta's spotkick.
BEST OF MAXIM
ARSENAL 3-3 FULHAM
Coach Arsene Wenger reacts:
on his emotions after the game…
It was frustrating because we had the opportunities to win the game. We were caught in a bit too comfortable a position because we did the most difficult thing – we scored two goals to go 2-0 up, we were at home and yet at half-time we found ourselves at 2-2. At that moment we lacked urgency defensively...
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has insisted the that club are doing all they can to keep Theo Walcott at the Emirates Stadium.
And Wenger stressed the ongoing contract wrangle must be settled "one way or another" before the new year.
The England forward took his tally to eight goals for the season with the opening strike in the midweek Champions League draw at Schalke...
Martin Jol saw Dimitar Berbatov run Arsenal ragged on Saturday and admits Fulham are fortunate to have him on their side.
Fulham found themselves two goals down early on in north London, before hitting back to lead 3-2.
Arsenal were able to snatch a share of the spoils and would have claimed all three points had Mikel Arteta not seen a stoppage-time penalty beaten away...
Arsene Wenger believes Thomas Vermaelen could be feeling the weight of the Arsenal captaincy.
The Belgian international was given the armband after Robin van Persie was sold to Manchester United.
However, the usually reliable centre-half has allowed a few errors to creep into his game - most notably last weekend at Old Trafford where a poor clearance went straight to the Dutch...
Each day we'll bring you the very latest tabloid rumors as the biggest clubs around splash the cash to bolster their rosters. True or not, they're always entertaining...
Arsene Wenger is furious that Jack Wilshere has been given an England call-up.
Fabio Capello was last night accused of letting Victor Moses slip through England's hands.
Carl Jenkinson is...
Emmanuel Frimpong could be on his out of Arsenal
Would-be Ghana international Emmanuel Frimpong could be on his way out of Arsenal after reports claimed he has been denied a new deal.
Frimpong’s contract with Arsenal runs out at the end of the season-with the Gunners not expected to begin negotiations over a new contract.
Manager Arsene Wenger has not been impressed with his...
Arsenal blew a two-goal lead for the second time in a week as Fulham battled to a 3-3 draw at Emirates Stadium, where Mark Schwarzer saved a penalty in stoppage-time.
Just as they had been in their midweek Champions League's game at Schalke, the Gunners were in control after early goals from Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski.
Fulham, though, rallied after Dimitar Berbatov reduced...