LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 02: (L-R) John Arne Riise and Brede Hangeland of Fulham celebrate their team's 2-1 victory as the final whistle blows during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Arsenal at Craven Cottage on January 2, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
If Riise were to score at Fulham, it would be through a pile-driving free kick, I imagine. A ball run upon from a number of yards away, smashed through some poor bastard in the wall's head and into the upper 90.
He hasn't scored yet for Fulham. As far as I can tell, he hasn't exactly been the most appreciated of players to arrive at the Craven Cottage in recent years, especially surprising considering pedigree. Blame some of that on the rise of Matthew Briggs.
There's always somebody better. At left back at least.
But not since Wayne Bridge made a cameo appearance at the only club in Fulham have the Cottagers featured a left back of Riise's quality on a regular basis.
Niclas Jensen had some Danish caps, but no impact in London.
Carlos Bocanegra scored a goal or eight, but he was made for the middle.
Liam Rosenior looked the part, but he's now busy toiling away in the Championship. Kind of surprising, given his early performances and professional look. Appearances can deceive, I guess.
Franck Queudrue was mysterious enough, but offered little beyond left-footedness and acceptable service. He mostly succeeded at looking the part, like Rosenior.
He was also far too cultured for Lawrie Sanchez's long-ball-to-small-men ambitions. Off with his head and off to Birmingham.
Paul Konchesky was solid, but limited. He fit in with Roy Hodgson's less-than-adventurous scheming. Did his job generally well. A tidy player, but not inspiring.
Nicky Shorey came in for a loan spell. He was better, but not much. Ho-hum.
Fans, however, are more likely to remember Riise's exit from Liverpool, out of favor and out of form. Not his resurgence at Roma, an inspired player and one of the deadliest, most unpredictable attacking fullbacks in Italian soccer. Zonal Marking seemed to think so, at least.
At Fulham, we already had the emerging international Briggs. His form was pleasant in the preseason. Riise's? Adapting.
Times have changed. The season has progressed. We are still unimpressed.
(We in The Borg sense rather than myself in the third person. I am. Thus, the point of this. Unnecessary digression completed.)
The announcers made a point to highlight Riise being matched against Theo Walcott early on in Fulham's 2-1 victory over Arsenal. Riise, they felt, an "aging" fullback, would have trouble keeping up with the pacy Walcott.
Of course the opposite happened.
Riise went forward with aplomb all match and tracked back with equal vigor.
Walcott, unaccustomed to being called into action defensively with regularity, or dealing with a back exhibiting such work rate and reckless abandon, was taken advantage of readily.
The Guardian's Opta Chalkboards seem to be malfunctioning at the moment. But, if you could see the chalkboard from the match you would see Riise popping up all over the field, completing a number of passes all over the left flank. Walcott's presence was felt little.
Walcott was removed for Tomas Rosicky with some positive effect, but not enough to overwhelm a red card soon after.
If you saw the chalkboard, you'd see that RIise made six of Fulham's 13 successful clearances in the box. And that the majority of his passing attempts came beyond the halfway line. And that he attempted six tackles (duels), two in each third of the field, and was successful five times.
He was effective everywhere and anywhere at once. And, adding to the impression, he did it against Arsenal and it's array of skilled internationals.
Briggs will have his time. He is a talent loaded with potential. The real deal comparatively to the faux excitement that was Elliot Omozusi.
He'll have his time.
Right now belongs to Riise.
Let's enjoy it while we can.