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The Untold Preview: Arsenal vs. Fulham

A great match in midweek versus Dortmund secured our Champions League qualification, and with it the opportunity to perhaps rest a few legs in the final group game. The Carling Cup game early next week is another such tie, but with City coming to the Emirates rotation is most likely to be on a “needs must” basis in order to keep a competitive team out.

Fulham at home is certainly a game that shouldn’t be troubling the Arsenal. Fulham are, historically, terrible on the road, I remember a few seasons back when their away form was absolutely diabolical and they could barely buy a point away from home. Naturally playing away is always slightly tougher, but such a significant discrepancy in home and away performances suggests something psychological built up amongst the Fulham players, with them perhaps expecting to lose before they even set foot on the pitch.

They have improved since those dark days. This year, a single win and two draws is hardly the most impressive of returns, but is however roughly in line with their home results. No more are they a three point banker when playing away from Craven Cottage, but mediocre league results on the whole suggest that they won’t the toughest of teams we face this year.

In terms of injuries, not too much has changed since the midweek game. Koscielny’s substitution was attributed to fatigue, so nothing to worry about there. Updates were provided on Gibbs and Jenkinson, though neither are available just yet. Diaby, of course, got a short run out in the midweek and it’s great to have the Frenchman back in the squad.

Szcznesy

Koscielny Mertesacker Vermaelen Santos

Song Arteta

Ramsey

Walcott Van Persie Gervinho

The above is the exact same team as played in midweek. Given the heated competition for 3rd and 4th slot (for now, that is where Arsenal should be aiming) I don’t think we can afford to rest players for Premier League games. We’ve got ourselves right back up there off the back of a tremendous run of performances and we have to keep that up and wait for Spurs to slip up. With the Carling Cup game coming up afterwards, I expect the likes of Santos, Koscielny, Song, Arteta and Van Persie to get a breather then.

To be fair, given the number of games played you could add the likes of Walcott and Gervinho to the list above. All could well do with a breather, but with the City game hardly likely to be a walk in the park, I think only players who either cannot afford to be risked or ones who have an excellent stand in (Gervinho out for Arshavin, for example) will be swapped.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand. I’m expecting a full strength Arsenal side, though ideally we’ll be cruising at half time and some key men can get a breather during the second half.

Gervinho has come in for some flak recently, which I think is ridiculous. Sure, he could’ve scored a goal in each of his last two games, but the Norwich keeper’s stop was outstanding on the 1v1, equally versus Dortmund recently. It’s not like he has been spurning clear cut chances (bar the attempted flick versus Norwich converted by Robin…) and his overall game is great. He takes men on, which is absolutely crucial to our game if opponents are sitting deep. He’ll settle in fine and be a crucial player for us in this and future seasons.

This Fulham game shouldn’t be a tough one, but as ever the side will need to be professional. Perhaps our job will be made a little harder if we rotate slightly, but even with a couple of squad players in I’d still be confident of winning this fairly comfortably. A 3-0 win would be excellent viewing for match of the day.

14 comments to The Untold Preview: Arsenal vs. Fulham

  • Byo

    This is the type of match-up we have been known to slip on in the past. But again, that was a different team, I really don’t see that measure of complacency with this team. RvP will not allow that.
    I am looking forward to a great win.

  • Gord

    I gather Ryo is still out injured? Anyway, Metro is reporting that Ryo is going back to Japan with Arsenal Ladies on their tour (he isn’t playing for them 🙂 ). I think he’ll do fine acting as a liaison.

    http://www.metro.co.uk/sport/oddballs/882930-ryo-miyachi-selected-for-arsenal-ladies-tour-of-japan

  • Shittu

    I tink we should play our best player against fulham, sure d scores will be 5vs1, in our favour.

  • Gooner Gal

    @ Phil, I totally understand and agree with your thinking about the unchanged line up for tomorrow, but I think that I would go out on a limb and make 2 or 3 changes. I would consider Djourou in for Kos, Le Coq in for Ramsey and Arsharvin in for Gervinho.
    Actually I would consider starting Chamakh instead of RVP if he was match fit, so that is 4 changes actually. My subs would be RVP (if we are struggling), Alex OC (if we are not), Diaby, Benayoun

    Fulham have looked a more physical and less technical side at the moment without much pace under Jol. I think their plan might just be to focus on stifling our attacks and not really bother with playing too much themselves. It would be great if they did though as we could ruthlessly dismantle them on the counter. Danny Murphy and Damien Duff still have the ability to score shocking long range belters and I am sure Schwarzer will be well up for this game too though.

    I like Fulham, but I hope their disjointed poor perfomances continues for one more game. I know players tend to really raise their game against us so I take them seriously and they have a few new faces looking to make a name for themselves so I think we need to give them some respect. That said 3-1 would be a good result.

  • Gord

    I think the league is going to bifurcate into a top-6 and a bottom-14. The gap is there now, at 7 points. I think Newcastle has had a good roll, and picked up a lot of points which will help later on. But, I don’t think they will stay at the top (which is why I said a top-6). I think luck and injuries are going to play a factor in who finishes where by the end of the season. If it happens that Arsenal doesn’t finish in the top-4, I think the only thing left is they have to win Champions League (to get invited next year)? I don’t know if Mancini is playing mind games talking that Man City isn’t good enough to win CL this year. He could be looking for money to buy more players. But, if Man City doesn’t make it out of the group stage, I expect they will take the Europa League. And I don’t remember how that effects their seeding in Europe next year.

    I could be completely out to lunch, as I don’t know the injuries.

    I suspect your starting 11 is probably correct. Who’s on the bench? I would guess Park is on the bench (and Chamakh will be in the CC roster). Djourou will be on the bench (and Miquel will be in the CC roster?). Frimpong will be on the bench for Fulham, one of the other young midfield for CC. Rosicky will be on the bench, and Diaby will start in CC. I think we’ll see Almunia on the bench, and for CC Fabianski will start with Mannone on the bench. Benayoun will start in CC.

    I’ll go with Shittu thinking a bunch of goals (it’s about time), and I think Gervinho will get a couple. But I’m going to say clean sheet for Szczesny. 5-0.

  • Goonergal – I think a lot of those players will be rested during the carling cup game. Unless you plan on playing them during the CC game, I’d include them here myself.

  • Gooner Gal

    @ Gord, I don’t think Mancini is playing mind games, I think it was a forced reality check statement after the Napoli defeat. I have read twice now from the Man C press apologists that they had an extremely tough group, which is quite simply shocking. What did they want the group with AC Milan and Barca? I wouldn’t expect Mancini to take the Europa league seriously as by then, he would of resorted to type and hit the panic button. He would instead just focus on the EPL and FA cup. I think with Yaya off to the ACN and Silva overplayed, it isn’t inconcieveable that Man C will go out and buy more, possibly on Goeteze, Hazard (they let us do the scouting, they just have a blank cheque book) or Schnieder.

    Almunia’s times up at the club, I don’t think you will ever see him near the 1st team again. That is unless we have a repeat of the nightmare situation we had last year.

    Who is Shittu? I know Danny definately doesn’t play for us!

  • Gord

    @Gooner Gal

    Shittu is #3 in the list of postings.

    Hey, I’m an athletic first aid person. I don’t want to be a manager. 🙂

  • Gooner Gal

    @ Phil I would think about this as my CC team:-

    Fabinaski, Yennaris, Djourou, Squillaci, Miquel, Frimpong, Diaby, Rosicky (if fit), (if not) Le coq, AOC, Chamakh, Park. My subs would be AA, Benni, Ozyakup.

    I think Kos & Ramsey looked knackered at the end of the last match, so I wouldn’t risk playing them tomorrow or CC. I think the Fulham game could be excellent for Theo to shine in. Chamakh needs to play so that he’s ready for the CC game and AA could do with 60 mins tomorrow and then on as a sub in the CC game. I really am not bothered about CC game. Fulham game is way more important and we need to start blooding some of the other players so that we can rotate more confidently.

  • Gooner Gal

    @ Gord, I get you now!

  • Gord

    Not having enough information can be a problem. In the last while, some of the “supporters” have complained about Santos (among others).

    > Santos was a £6 million August transfer deadline-day signing from Turkish club Fenerbahce and spent a month living in a hotel without his pregnant wife. But Santos has now bought a house, his baby boy Arthur was born two weeks ago and the whole family are together.

    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/286103/Andre-Santos-is-out-to-lead-rivals-a-merry-dance

    It is possible that Santos was not giving all of his attention to his play. It looks like he is settling in however. And its a nice story.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Hopefully another win, and another glimpse of Marasonga

  • Just thought you might like to know I have started a little news section at the top of the home page. Just another little Untold Extra.

  • Topovacha

    Newcastle got a penalty @ Old Trafford…this cannot be true.