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Gera gives the Cottage an unwelcome send off

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 22:  Mark Hughes, manager of Fulham after the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Arsenal at Craven Cottage on May 22, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 22: Mark Hughes, manager of Fulham after the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Arsenal at Craven Cottage on May 22, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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There was only one possible outcome on Sunday afternoon that could have equated the 2010/11 season as 'Fulhamish'. Losing 10-0 wouldn't have done it, moonwalking to celebrate wouldn't have done it. Only shooting ourselves in the foot with a farcical sending off would have allowed for the ultimate in anti-climaxes.

Mohammed Al Fayed, surely, will be the first to ring out the conspiracy theories. 'Mark Hughes hates planes' could be one of them, although, the more plausible yet still ludicrous suggestion that Zoltan Gera, the recipient of the red card, wanted to depart with a vengeance can be more widely anticipated. 

Discipline aside, there couldn't have been a better way to round off the campaign than with a draw, which was indeed the result as Fulham hosted Arsenal.

Steve Sidwell opened the scoring for Fulham in a first half which showed a consistent sway in dominance. If one thing was undeviating, though, it was the manner of both side's play, with Wenger's fine passing team being matched with similar panache from the home side. 

Schwarzer, facing his apparent potential suitors, wasn't left celebrating for long, however. He couldn't stop a calm finish from the eloquent Robin Van Persie, who has hit his best form in one of the lowest periods in Arsenal's recent history.

And the North London side's recent history was about to get no better as Bobby Zamora showed why Fabio Capello has kept the faith in him with a 57-minute header. Jonathan Greening provided the cross and the England striker had the most simple of jobs at hand.

The game then began to ebb and flow and as Hughes tried to steady the ship with a flurry of substitutes, little did he know that his changes would have a contrasting effect.

That Gera only took 3 minutes to inflict an indecent lunge on Arsenal's Vermaelen perhaps provided some justification to his leaving the club, with the Hungarian palpably being out of favour with manager, Hughes.

Perhaps Zolly, though, a fans favourite, would have preferred a better send off than to traipse back to the dressing room; tail between legs. That same image seemed, in the last 15 or so minutes, to epitomise the whole side as Theo Walcott drilled home a late equaliser that would have no effect on either team's league standing as both Man City and Everton had finished the season on a high.

While it didn't quite carry the same attention or drama as the other Premier League fixtures, a respectable draw against a top four side will have gone a long way to representing what has been a successful first season for Mark Hughes as Fulham boss.