Van der Saar frustrates Arsenal
November 30 , 2003
Arsenal 0 Fulham 0
The Gunners wasted numerous chances while Fulham goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar produced a string of excellent saves to thwart Thierry Henry, Freddie Ljungberg, Dennis Bergkamp and Robert Pires.
But despite Van der Sar's heroics Arsenal should have sealed three points by half-time in possibly the most one-sided game this season.
The home team produced 12 shots on target, Fulham did not manage any but somehow scraped a draw.
Pires and Henry ensured a torturous afternoon for Fulham right-back Moritz Volz, who is on loan from Arsenal, and former Gunners midfielder Junichio Inamoto.
Arsenal's first opening fell to Kolo Toure, who failed to keep his short-range header on target after reacting to Pascal Cygan's near-post flick-on.
Ljungberg then forced a save from Van der Sar with a long-range shot after Saha carelessly squandered possession.
Van der Sar thwarted Ljungberg again after 16 minutes, smothering the midfielder's shot after a sublime threaded pass from Bergkamp put him clear.
Pires should have rewarded Arsenal's dominance with a goal after 28 minutes.
But the mercurial forward still seemed to be struggling after a challenge from Saha minutes earlier and pulled his shot wide after a neat lay back from Henry.
The Dutch goalkeeper was called into action again before the break, saving twice from Henry and once from Bergkamp and Ljungberg as Arsenal did everything except score.
Arsenal continued to open up the Fulham defence at will in the second-half, Van der Sar making another excellent save to Bergkamp after 47 minutes.
Another superb pass, this time from Ashley Cole, exposed the Fulham backline again, with Van der Sar denying Bergkamp then Ljungberg.
Steed Malbranque should have punished Arsenal's profligacy, but headed wide Sean Davis' cross with easily his team's best chance of the match.
Bergkamp drilled wide after 70 minutes, Henry likewise minutes later.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger introduced Kanu and Jeremie Aliadiere but his team's frustration mounted as Fulham's valiant rearguard held out for a point.