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Ice, snow, frozen wastelands, Arsenal, Fulham, teams, result

By Phil Gregory

Following on from the midweek Carling Cup action, Fulham travel to the Emirates . It’s been a disappointing campaign for Fulham: things can never said to be going well when you are near the foot of the table. They’ve consistently been picking points up over the course of the season but mainly via draws with only two wins since we started out in August. You cannot draw your way to Premier League safety, and Fulham fans will surely be pessimistic of their chances of picking up three points  despite a couple of shock results at the Emirates this season.

The team has a broadly clean bill of health, with Almunia being the only new absentee with a “minor setback”. Squillaci and Nasri, two doubts from midweek are passed fit and are expected to start. The Diaby-Vermaelen mystery continues.

It was interesting to note Wenger’s recent comments that he can play both Chamakh and Van Persie together, with the latter playing in the hole behind the former. That sounds like a traditional forward partnership in  a 4-4-2 formation, with one striker exploiting the space between the opponent’s lines and the other creating the space by playing almost on the shoulder of the centre backs.

I don’t think we’ll see a return to 4-4-2, our wide players like Arshavin, Theo and Nasri thrive in that inside forward role and would be less effective playing like traditional wingers. Putting Van Persie in the hole would certainly cause a change in the team’s shape however: he’d be occupying the space that Cesc traditionally attacks, so I’m unsure how exactly it would work out.

Van Persie off Chamakh would result in us playing a more 4-2-3-1 formation, with Van Persie as the central attacking playmaker, flanked by two inside forwards. Such a formation however would need us to anchor the middle of the park better, so we’d likely see Song and another deeper playmaker. Jack can certainly fill the role, but I feel Cesc would be wasted so far from goal. It’ll certainly be interesting to see what Wenger does.

Back to the game! Line-up:

Fabianksi

Sagna Squillaci Koscielny Clichy

Song Wilshere

Rosicky

Nasri Chamakh Arshavin

Fabianski goes back between the sticks with the news that Wenger isn’t looking at keepers in January ringing in his ears. The defence is as you’d expect with the return of Squillaci from a midweek absence.

Koscielny is a man who has come in for a bit of a criticism in recent weeks, and he was always going to be a target for the AAA. He doesn’t fit the stereotype of an English centre back, the big brute defender who’s strong in the air. For a club like Arsenal, that sort of centre back doesn’t really “work” for want of a better word, as our defenders play  a high line and have a lot of time with the ball at their feet. Of course, there are situations where a robust centre back would come in handy, but much more often we find ourselves struggling to break down sides and our centre backs are playing the ball out on the half way line. Koscielny’s intelligence both with and  without the ball is a greatly underrated trait by a lot of fans

Back to the line-up. Song and Wilshere play deeper Rosicky is expected to continue in lieu of Cesc. Nasri and Arshavin will play on the flanks, with Wenger having to decide between Chamakh and Van Persie for the centre forward berth. I went for for Chamakh after Robin played plenty of minutes in midweek and they won’t want him to do too much too soon. Expect an appearance of the bench if we need ideas in the final third

Hughes hasn’t got Fulham playing too differently to his predecessor, which isn’t surprising given the success Hodgson had with them. A lot of draws on the road isn’t ideal from their point of view, but Hughes will point to a traditionally poor away record, so the newly-found resilience may be somewhat of an improvement.

It’s a tricky tie to call. I’m always cautious with likely “park the bus” games when we are without Cesc, as not even an on-song Nasri offers the same creativity as the Spaniard. At home, against a struggling side we shouldn’t have too many issues but we need to be wary of over-confidence this season. Indeed you could argue positions don’t really count for very much at all, as Fulham are only really a handful of points away from a “secure” top half berth.

We shouldn’t struggle, and with the United game postponed, it’d be great to put a little pressure on them prior to our meeting in a couple of weeks time. 3-0 to the Arsenal for me.

——————–

Billy the Dog’s bench.

Vela, Van Persie, Walcott, Denilson, Djourou, Eboue, Gibbs, Bendtner, Szczesny, Emmanuel-Thomas.

(Note to Mr Wenger: need to get more seats in that area).

———————-

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Arsenal/Fulham: The most comprehensive pre-match review of the referee ever undertaken

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One of the great early shocks in FA Cup History


59 comments to Ice, snow, frozen wastelands, Arsenal, Fulham, teams, result

  • Dark Prince

    Chamakh and Van persie in the same team.

    Formation 4-1-3-2

    Fabianski as gk,
    Sagna, Squillaci, Koscielny, Clichy,
    Song as defensive midfielder,
    Walcott, Nasri and Arshavin, as attacking midfielders,
    Van persie and Chamakh as strikers!!

  • Phil

    No balance in that, we’d almost be like Argentina at the world cup. Dfinitely will see two deep players if we go Arshavin, Nasri Chamakh and RvP

  • swikrath

    It would be very interesting to see how Wenger puts persie and chamakh together and totally agree with Phil, Superb article.. There’s no way we would be playing with one D.M so dark prince sorry 🙂 and a lesser man in the mid field means the wingers ll ve to work harder to cover the fullbacks, Arshavin however talented cannot,i believe get into a 4-4-2 or a 4-1-3-2

  • swikrath

    And Dark prince has got Walcott and Arshavin in the line up, Sorry we ll get creamed if we go in with that formation..Maybe play Nasri and Rosicky on the flanks and get Cesc at the centre and as Phil rightly said that’ll leave Cesc doing the defensive work more than his usual forays into the attack, so thats a real tough one for Wenger as he really cant,CAN’T bench a fully fit RvP!

  • 49UNBEATEN

    TOUGHT ISNT IT?…..
    GOOD ARTICLE MR.BILLY BIT UNSURE
    LET THE MR WENGER MANNAGE IT,,,,,,,,
    BY THE WAY WE WANT SEE MINIMUM 4-0 OR OVER
    CLEAN SHEET AS WELL,,,,,,,,,,,,FAB IT IS UP 2 U,,,
    JANUARY IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER BOY,,,,TRUS TRUS

  • Ronnie Brown

    I’d just like to say Koscheiny I think has phenomeonal potential, he is one of the brightest defenders I’ve seen, he has great intelligent, anticipation, interceptions, is good in the air, and very rarely gets beat on a one on one and works very hard too, he isn’t the finished article just yet but if he has the right partner, I’d vote for Djoure at the moment, I think they could form a brilliant partnership, and if we concede 10 goals today cause of him lol… it still stands, I’ve seen enough to realise he is potentially a great player, and a very good player now, vastly and hugely underrated in my opinion, I prefer him to Squillaci, he could compliment Djoure…. and he does remind me a bit of Vermaleon… I wonder how they would work together, but him and Djoure seem like an ideal partnership to me, Djoure is great in the air, Koz is great on the ground. Most of the AAA don’t like Koz they they were proved wrong… it was a genuis signing for 10mil, to think Lescott went for 20 something mil and is now probably leaving them.

  • Tone

    swikrath are you playing the Cesc with the hamstring injury or the one without?

  • Tone

    Ronnie so far Koz has not cut it at Prem level. Sent off twice and found out a number of times. He could become the real deal but as of yet unproven.

  • Ronnie Brown

    I would disagree personally Tone, that first sending off shouldn’t really have been as the ball just hit his arm… true the second one was inexperienced and he should have done better, but generally I think he has been very good bar a few games and has had some excellent games, I think he will become the real deal, as I said I don’t think he’s there yet, I think he’s good now but with potential to be great.

  • Ronnie Brown

    Team for anyone that wants it….

    Team in full: Fabianski, Sagna, Koscielny, Squillaci, Clichy, Song, Rosicky (c), Nasri, Wilshere, Arshavin, Chamakh

    Subs: Szczesny, Walcott, Denilson, Djourou, Gibbs, Bendtner, Van Persie

  • Ronnie Brown

    Looks good to me, however I would of played Djourou at the back, we have a strong bench though.

    By the way, anybody that doesn’t have Arsenal TV online, I would highly reccommend it, very cheap and very good.

  • Wrenny

    How is this awful, terrible, useless team top of the table once again??

    Very strange!

  • Bootoomee

    Djourou was great today!

  • Bootoomee

    Is Nasri out of his freaking mind? How dare him score such fantastic goals?

    Na na na na na Nasri na na na na na Nasri……..

  • Bootoomee

    Wrenny,

    I’m asking the same question! And the ‘infallible’ Chelsea could only get a draw at home against a team we beat away! It’s now a whooping 5 points from 6 games for the former run-away winners! Up Chelsea:-)

  • prick

    THIS IS MADNESS! FUFA should investigate this result! How the hell does a bunch of people who can’t pass, can’t shoot, can’t dribble, can’t tell whose side they’re playing on be on TOP OF THE TABLE??

    The only explanation is we must have been reading the paper upside-down.

    NASRI’S GOAL SHOULD BE DISALLOWED FOR BEING TOO AWESOME IT HAS BECOME UNFAIR TO THE OPPOSITION!!

  • RedGooner

    I cant believe after another positive result the negative headlines everywhere.

    Sky sports Arsenal paper over the cracks …..

    HOLD ON a second if our defender wasnt practicaly unconsious after been clobbered in the head he would have been back to cover that run and no goal for fulham so they were lucky.

    If our defence was bad, Ive seen tetley tea bags with less holes in it then the Fulham defence.

    Fox soccer just as bad 2 fantastic goals by Nasri and little praise from that muppet warren barton.

    Another great result I hope we keep sickening them all with a good win on Wednesday and Monday.

  • Ronnie Brown

    Bootoomee
    December 4th, 2010 at 5:18 pm
    Djourou was great today!

    True…. superb from what I saw, I tough Squillaci was poor though, I want to see the Koz/Djourou partnership lol.

    But…

    WE ARE TOP OF THE LEAGUE……

    Some idiots wanted Wenger out a week or two ago…

  • Ronnie Brown

    Also true about the headlines, the Chelsea headline isn’t as negative as the Arsenal one and we won the match lol.

  • Ronnie Brown

    Well done Nasri too, excellent goals.felt Arsharvin was pretty good too.

  • Mahesh

    I believe, Nasri should be banned from playing at least next three games for the sheer audacity and awesomeness of his goals.He should be given some card post match by FA – gold card maybe, and not allowed to play against any other EPL opposition because it might leave “bad impression” on young English players/kids who might play against him or watch him play on TV.

    Moreover, there should be an enquiry, as to how Fulham “allowed” Arsenal to play in such a manner, and why Mr. Hughes has been unable to impose his “ethos” on this Fulham team after so many months.

    And finally, media should speculate as to how this team after holding onto so many wins is still not “Champion” material, whereas, some other team from north under a lot of loan “will be” winning the league for scraping draws from the mouth of victory. They should let everyone know why a team that was written of 4 matches ago, is at such a “stinking” position in the league, whereas the de-facto winners are losing at home.

    What is happening to the world? Has all “logic” been lost – how can we allow some soft-bellied tip-tapping kiddish team at the top?

  • Gooner Gal

    I am so happy with this result, well done lads!

    I asked for more special ‘Porto-esque’goals and super sam delivered. As a Nasri fan, I would like to officially declare that Hleb has been replaced and I hope I never have to hear talk about us buying him back again.

    I would also like to say thanks to Jermaine Beckford, whom has shown that he can cut it at this level and given Chavski something to think about.

  • A Casual Observer

    SACK WENGER!!!1!

  • Gooner Gal

    Sorry what was I thinking with my last post, I am with ACO – Wenger OUT NOW! We need a new goal keeper, back 4, Midfield, and strikers because non of them like it up ‘um. This is the English Premier League for Gauwwd sakes!

  • A Casual Observer

    That’s right – we need to BUY some WORLD CLASS players I reckon… anyone else think that?

    Shall we make a shopping list, have a protest and demand this?

  • Bexxy

    Say, say we, say we are, say we are top of the league. Enjoy. 🙂

  • Tone

    Gooner Gal, agree totall about Hleb, the man who said Pep Guardiola was unable to motivate his players.

    Can’t imagine Adebayor is feeling too clever at the moment either.

    Flamini? Milan top but then so are the glorious Arsenal and he’s not a nailed on starter for them

    Leave Arsenal at your peril.

  • No we aren’t on top of league, those are lies and you all look trough pink glasses.

  • Yomi

    what do the arsenal players have to do to get plaudits from the pundits….2 magnificent goals from Samir ‘twinkle toes’ Nasri and they still can’t find any good thing to say except compare our defence to cheese from Switzerland

  • obichibz

    now that the Blackburn side that were comprehensively ‘trashed’ by ManIOU 7-1!!(7 goals) have gone on to not only keep a clean sheet in their very next match but wait they won as well scoring 3 goals. (“what a magnificent turn-around by Fat Sam!!” the maggot-brain infested pundits would cry… but we(true gooners) all know what happened last week) and yes We need a Whole new team and manager because this squad don’t know they are not supposed to be the ‘Leaders’ in the statement “They now trail the leaders with two points” …

  • RedGooner

    One Final thing “Irking me”

    Did anyone listen to talk shyte radio during the week ? Tony I am surprised you didnt touch on this.

    Adrian Durham, after Russia were awarded the WC in 2018. Whatever you think of that decision to suggest Arshavin should be booed and not let back into England is beyond retarded.

    He never said Boo the russian player with Sp*rs or any other in the league which still wouldnt be right.

    I dont recall people say Boo Africa and all the players in the league from Africa when they had the world cup.

    Whats the difference ? Its racism and ignorance anyway you look at it. How do the sponsors of talk shyte radio seriously back that kind of crap with NO ramifications ?

  • walter

    What a great day today!
    My son his birthday today and now we are top of the league also. What a great day!

    And how on earth we were not 4 or 5-0 up at half time is still puzzling me. We played them off the pitch and only the fact that Squillaci and Koscielny clashed heads was the reason that Fulham could score.

    And when a few years ago people were saying about Nasri that he was the new Zidane….well they could be right and still only 23 years old and his best is yet to come. 🙂

  • Yomi

    @obichibz. Fat Sam and AF have a pact. which basically says ‘when you come to manchester, bend over and die, and I’ll full yous guts with that special red wine you like so much’.

  • Gooner Gal

    Tone – I think Adebayor watched us beat Fulham and is now sitting in his room somewhere crying his eyes out in our current retro arsenal strip (we all know he puts on an Arsenal top when he is feeling bad).

    When the Welsh Wonder is back from Forrest and firing on all cylinders, I will make the same declaration about exorcising Flamini from the minds of fans. The red and white future looks bright.

  • TommieGun

    @ Walter – exactly what I thought, the new Zizou. @ 60th minute or so I was throwing my slippers at the TV shouting “GET NASRI TO PLAY INSTEAD OF ROSICKY ALREADY!”. I really feel sorry for the schnizel, but something seems to hold him back and to play instead of Cesc just doesn’t click right, where Nasri just feels so comfortable.

    Great win, great goals, Fulham wouldn’t have scored unless they went on the pitch with baseball bats and knocked out one of our defenders cold (oops, that kindov happened)…

    Can’t say I was 100% happy, with some slack/abject attitude shown by some of the guys. Song was great throughout, and you can see him assuming more and more responsibility. Just love the guy (too bad he is such a gentleman – didn’t want to shame Pantsil and score from that gift..)

    Great to see Arshavski is back to his former self, and hopefully Robin will come back to his former self…

    Future is bright 🙂

  • Dark Prince

    Great extraordinary goals!!!!!! Though it was nerve wrecking in the last 10 min!!!! Now the 2 most important games of the season coming back to back…i hope Cesc recovers in time for United!!!! Keep the faith Gooners!!

  • Samir obviously got fetish scoring from dead angle, in last 4 games 2 such goals from 4 tries…
    But now we are on top and we are the ones who can keep it, we dont need someones slip ups.
    I am just waiting what will D&G have to complain this time..probably stupid defenders who collide in to each others, but I dont worry, they will find reason..

    Hey is Nasri French?

  • Gooner Gal

    Walter, forget Zidane, Nasri is/will be a hybrid of Pires and Maradona. Who will be bending in free kicks like Beckham.

    He might end up being as famous as Zidane though.

    I hope your son enjoys the rest of his birthday.

  • bz249

    Why Nasri should be a new Zidane? Imagine him wearing a No 10 shirt… Those goals were that kind of stuff, although very spectacular yet not any superfluous movement, that was the easiest way to score. Okay there is only one Denis, but that was close to his style.

  • Terence McGovern

    Oh Yeah!

  • Mihir Saudagar

    I wonder who has done this wonderful job of converting the British Media to Pavlovian Dogs.
    Stimulus – Arsenal win!
    Response – They won but were really poor! Papers over cracks!

    Stimulus – Arsenal lose!
    Response – They lack guts, leaders, ankles , knees and balls whatever!

    Whatever Arsenal may do, Once the name Arsenal is mentioned, the negativity pours forth.

    I really wonder who this Pavlov behind the scenes is!

  • Wrenny

    How poor was Chelsea’s defending today??

    All those who incessantly complain about how bad we are at defending set-pieces and long balls ought to look at Chelsea’s game today to garner some perspective.

    Terry and Ivanovic, those two big, beefy, commanding defenders, the type of defenders who the whingers complain we so badly need, were floundering around like a pair of goldfish and gifted Everton half a dozen easy headers in the box.

  • Mihir Saudagar

    Blame it on Pavlov Wrenny! 🙂
    If the stimulus is Chelsea, Start salivating like hungry dogs!

  • Wrenny

    *salivating*

    It is just a blip. This result means nothing. Chelsea are fantastic. They are like lions on the football pitch. John Terry’s smile lights up the room. *fizz crackle* Chelsea and poor defending does not compute… does not compute… does not… does… end communication.

  • Evil

    We are where we belong. We have some tough games coming up and if we manage to get results against the Chavs and the Manchester Isolvency Department it will really only be us who can stop us.

    Anyway: TOP OF THE LEAGUE! And Nasri, well, I wonder if Domenech is playing Footie Manager right now and seeing if France would have fared better if he had included Nasri in his team. That guy is in double figures already: another one of our young players that has proven the AAA wrong. You all remember when AAA was on how if Cesc leaves we will be without a decent midfield player and Nasri is just not good enough? Well, for me, Nasri is not good enough, either. He is way above being “just good enough”.

    Also nice: notice how RVP pointed at the Arsenal crest during Nasri’s celebration for his second? Love Arsenal, love our players, love Wenger. AND WE ARE TOP OF THE LEAGUE! <3

  • Dark Prince

    I think our true test is when we play United and Chelsea. If we lose both games, then its again gonna be playin catch up…if we get both of the games as draws, then i’ll be very satisfied.

  • Bootoomee

    Of course Dark Prince, of course! Sadly though, I doubt the team is out to ‘satisfy’ just you. So they’ll play every team in the league and try to amass as much points as possible. This fixature of yours on the Mancs and the Chavs borders on inferiority complex.

  • Ronnie Brown

    The AAA were extremley critical of Nasri, they wanted him sold and said he was shit, the problem with them is they can never identify potential and are so arrogant they think they know better than Arsene who has identified and developed some of the greatest footballers of all time.

  • Ronnie Brown

    Chelsea and Man U games will be very important, they won’t define the season mathematically but if we are successful in those games it could give us a huge boost.

  • Bootoomee

    Totally agree with you Ronnie. Every point matters, and other than beating the scum of north London, nothing gives a gooner more joy than beating the Mancs and the Chavs. However, I absolutely cannot fathom how our season or any chance of success is solely dependent on how we fare against these oppositions in a 20 team league. Can you?

    When we play these 2 teams, I hope for the best results i.e. wins. But whatever the outcome, the season continues. It is a marathon against 19 other athletes (some very good, others not so good). What it is not is a sprint against 2 super athletes.

  • Dark Prince

    Bootoomee- no use tellin u anythin…for u even the next Partizan match isn’t important…ur surely satisfied if arsenal doesn’t get relegated…it just shows lack of ambition on ur part!!

  • Ronnie Brown

    Bootoomee, I agree, I would take a loss against both Chelsea and Man U IF it means we win the league, but something like the Spurs result while disapointing I didn’t feel completly dishearted because Arsenal’s season to me is not defined by just beating Spurs, I’d rather win the league than beat Spurs or any particular team, I’m glad we are in the position we are in now, the matches against Man U & Cheslea would are important, more mentally than mathematically, it could be either a huge boost or a potential confidence drop if we loose both, all I hope is we try our absoloute best and put in everything into those games, that’s all one can ask for.

    I think the Partizan game is of extreme importance, we want to be competing in the Champions League and in all compeitions, if we put in 100 percent I believe we will get through, it’s still in our hands but we should of wrapped it up quicker I feel, but remember the other result has to not go our way for us to not go through aswel so we are in a very strong position… but we must go for a win with 100 percent passion regardless to cover any possibility.

  • Bootoomee

    Dark Prince,

    I know you’ll be satisfied if we beat both the Mancs and the Chavs home and away to amass 12 points and then lose the remaining 34 matches. We get relegated alright but at least we beat the only 2 important teams in the league!

    And when did a game against Partizan became important? They are neither Chelsea nor Man U:-)

    Your lack of logic is phenomenal!

  • Bootoomee

    Ronnie,

    Totally agree with you on the mental effect of beating the Chavs and the Mancs. Mathematically, however, and as you rightly pointed out, it is not different from losing to Wolves.

    I think the team and the manager know what is at stake on Wednesday and I trust them to deliver. Think about it again, if they fail, who lose more? You and I or them (the players)?

  • Andy Kelly

    I tell you what, there are an awful lot of clubs out there that would die to be in crisis like Arsenal.

    Top of the league
    League cup semi-final
    Champions league
    59 goals in 24 games
    Future secured for the foreseeable future

    All this playing tactically inept football!

    My brother started taking me to games as an 8 year old in 1975. I was ecstatic when we climbed up to 13th in the table that season.
    We got dumped out of the League Cup and the FA Cup in the first round.
    European football was a pipe dream.
    The team mustered 49 goals in the whole season.
    It was 9 years later before I saw them top the table.
    1 trophy in 11 seasons before George Graham came along.
    Having a goalkeeper with 2 European Cup winners medals and another one who was considered one of the greatest of all time couldn’t get us anywhere near a title.
    Watching us lose at home to Walsall and away to York.

    If only you ne’ersayers had been around back then to tell us all how to manage a football team, how much better my teens would have been.

  • Dark Prince

    @Bootoomee- “agree with the mental effects of defeating the Chavs and Mancs”

    I dont think i need to say anythin now…

  • typeface

    Oh please do Dark Princess.

  • goonergerry

    There is difference between faith and blind faith- the latter strongly laced with denial. I am into the former not the latter. As far as I can see we have to seriously step up a level to stop United getting a hatful against us and to get a result against United. I believe we can do it. But the CL game against Partizan is far more important to the club. Lets get a result first count our wounded and then march on.

  • Dark Prince

    @typeface – typecast!! lol