Arsenal's Andrey Arshavin scores past Mark Schwarzer, the Fulham goalkeeper, to open the scoring in a 4-0 rout against their fellow Londoners at the Emirates Stadium yesterday.
Arsenal's Andrey Arshavin scores past Mark Schwarzer, the Fulham goalkeeper, to open the scoring in a 4-0 rout against their fellow Londoners at the Emirates Stadium yesterday.

Season summed up in a nutshell for the Gunners



LONDON // Arsenal may have clinched third place and automatic qualification for the Champions League with this comprehensive victory over Fulham, but the reasons why they have fallen away in the title race were still plain to see. An Arsenal side missing a number of first-choice players due to injury? Check. A hesitant, unconfident goalkeeper inducing panic every time the ball went near him? Of course.

An astonishing profligacy in front of goal? It goes without saying. Granted, early strikes from Andrey Arshavin and Robin van Persie, with Chris Baird scoring an own goal before half-time and Carlos Vela adding a late fourth, were always going to be enough against a weakened Fulham side that understandably had one eye on Wednesday's Europa League final against Atletico Madrid. But this season will go down as a case of what might have been. However, third place was never in doubt from the moment when Arshavin robbed Mark Schwarzer of the ball to slide home after 21 minutes, with Van Persie knocking in the rebound six minutes later, after the Australian keeper had tipped his initial effort onto the cross bar.

Indeed, Van Persie's ankle injury back in November appears ever more decisive now that the Dutchman is back and scoring goals. Van Persie, Arshavin, Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri have missed 55 Premier League games between them this season, which is far too many for a club who do not have the strength in depth of their rivals. That was shown in devastating fashion by Arsenal's results against the other top sides. Home and away losses to both Chelsea and Manchester United, combined with away defeats to both Tottenham and Manchester City, proved decisive in the end.

And Van Persie was brutally honest about his side's shortcomings in an interview in the club's match day programme. "I just think we need to toughen up," said the Dutchman. "We need to make it clear to people: 'if you want to play football, we can play football. If you want to play hard, we can play hard.' We can do that, we have it in ourselves, but we need to do it consistently. "We need a bit of help in a few areas. Everyone knows where we are going wrong."

Wenger, though, launched a passionate defence of his side. "If you look a long way back we have gone beyond expectation," he said. "Of course we are still frustrated because a month ago we were still in touch with the championship and didn't win it. "We conceded too many goals and didn't have the players available, but I'm very happy that we don't have to play a qualifier [to reach the Champions League group stage] because it is a sensitive game and they are getting harder every year."

And Wenger is spot on with the criticism of his side's defence, with the hosts' goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski flapping at three crosses here, just as Manuel Almunia has done all season. The Pole was actually fortunate to still be on the pitch by the end, having been booked for deliberate handball outside the area. His time at Arsenal must surely be at an end. His opposite number had already had his nightmare moment by then, though, with Van Persie making it two before Baird turned Theo Walcott's deflected cross into his own net and Vela chipping home delightfully to make it four.

It was a disappointing way for Fulham to end their domestic campaign - "we just didn't have enough in our locker to beat a good Arsenal team," admitted their manager Roy Hodgson - but they have still had a superb season, and will look to end it with their first major trophy on Wednesday. For Arsenal, though, they know that a wonderful opportunity has been missed due to failings that are all too familiar.

sports@thenational.ae

The specs: 2018 Mercedes-Benz E 300 Cabriolet

Price, base / as tested: Dh275,250 / Dh328,465

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder

Power: 245hp @ 5,500rpm

Torque: 370Nm @ 1,300rpm

Transmission: Nine-speed automatic

Fuel consumption, combined: 7.0L / 100km

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

Key 2013/14 UAE Motorsport dates

October 4: Round One of Rotax Max Challenge, Al Ain (karting)

October 1: 1 Round One of the inaugural UAE Desert Championship (rally)

November 1-3: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Formula One)

November 28-30: Dubai International Rally

January 9-11: 24Hrs of Dubai (Touring Cars / Endurance)

March 21: Round 11 of Rotax Max Challenge, Muscat, Oman (karting)

April 4-10: Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (Endurance)

RESULTS

Catchweight 82kg
Piotr Kuberski (POL) beat Ahmed Saeb (IRQ) by decision.

Women’s bantamweight
Corinne Laframboise (CAN) beat Cornelia Holm (SWE) by unanimous decision.

Welterweight
Omar Hussein (PAL) beat Vitalii Stoian (UKR) by unanimous decision.

Welterweight
Josh Togo (LEB) beat Ali Dyusenov (UZB) by unanimous decision.

Flyweight
Isaac Pimentel (BRA) beat Delfin Nawen (PHI) TKO round-3.

Catchweight 80kg​​​​​​​
Seb Eubank (GBR) beat Emad Hanbali (SYR) KO round 1.

Lightweight
Mohammad Yahya (UAE) beat Ramadan Noaman (EGY) TKO round 2.

Lightweight
Alan Omer (GER) beat Reydon Romero (PHI) submission 1.

Welterweight
Juho Valamaa (FIN) beat Ahmed Labban (LEB) by unanimous decision.

Featherweight
Elias Boudegzdame (ALG) beat Austin Arnett (USA) by unanimous decision.

Super heavyweight
Maciej Sosnowski (POL) beat Ibrahim El Sawi (EGY) by submission round 1.

Federer's 11 Wimbledon finals

2003 Beat Mark Philippoussis

2004 Beat Andy Roddick

2005 Beat Andy Roddick

2006 Beat Rafael Nadal

2007 Beat Rafael Nadal

2008 Lost to Rafael Nadal

2009 Beat Andy Roddick

2012 Beat Andy Murray

2014 Lost to Novak Djokovic

2015 Lost to Novak Djokovic

2017 Beat Marin Cilic

ULTRA PROCESSED FOODS

- Carbonated drinks, sweet or savoury packaged snacks, confectionery, mass-produced packaged breads and buns 

- Margarines and spreads; cookies, biscuits, pastries, cakes, and cake mixes, breakfast cereals, cereal and energy bars

- Energy drinks, milk drinks, fruit yoghurts and fruit drinks, cocoa drinks, meat and chicken extracts and instant sauces

- Infant formulas and follow-on milks, health and slimming products such as powdered or fortified meal and dish substitutes

- Many ready-to-heat products including pre-prepared pies and pasta and pizza dishes, poultry and fish nuggets and sticks, sausages, burgers, hot dogs, and other reconstituted meat products, powdered and packaged instant soups, noodles and desserts

Shubh Mangal Saavdhan
Directed by: RS Prasanna
Starring: Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pednekar

The specs: 2018 Jeep Compass

Price, base: Dh100,000 (estimate)

Engine: 2.4L four-cylinder

Transmission: Nine-speed automatic

Power: 184bhp at 6,400rpm

Torque: 237Nm at 3,900rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 9.4L / 100km

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Review: Tomb Raider
Dir: Roar Uthaug
Starring: Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Daniel Wu, Walter Goggins
​​​​​​​two stars

Quick pearls of wisdom

Focus on gratitude: And do so deeply, he says. “Think of one to three things a day that you’re grateful for. It needs to be specific, too, don’t just say ‘air.’ Really think about it. If you’re grateful for, say, what your parents have done for you, that will motivate you to do more for the world.”

Know how to fight: Shetty married his wife, Radhi, three years ago (he met her in a meditation class before he went off and became a monk). He says they’ve had to learn to respect each other’s “fighting styles” – he’s a talk it-out-immediately person, while she needs space to think. “When you’re having an argument, remember, it’s not you against each other. It’s both of you against the problem. When you win, they lose. If you’re on a team you have to win together.” 

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

Fixtures

Friday Leganes v Alaves, 10.15pm; Valencia v Las Palmas, 12.15am

Saturday Celta Vigo v Real Sociedad, 8.15pm; Girona v Atletico Madrid, 10.15pm; Sevilla v Espanyol, 12.15am

Sunday Athletic Bilbao v Getafe, 8.15am; Barcelona v Real Betis, 10.15pm; Deportivo v Real Madrid, 12.15am

Monday Levante v Villarreal, 10.15pm; Malaga v Eibar, midnight

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

SNAPSHOT

While Huawei did launch the first smartphone with a 50MP image sensor in its P40 series in 2020, Oppo in 2014 introduced the Find 7, which was capable of taking 50MP images: this was done using a combination of a 13MP sensor and software that resulted in shots seemingly taken from a 50MP camera.

Five expert hiking tips
  • Always check the weather forecast before setting off
  • Make sure you have plenty of water
  • Set off early to avoid sudden weather changes in the afternoon
  • Wear appropriate clothing and footwear
  • Take your litter home with you

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