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July 2021

A trip down the River, a game at the Cottage, a pm in the pub

Dominic Sanchez-Cabello

So, we looked good in Istanbul, Chelsea were lucky at The Bridge and some bloke called Gareth is to be sold for 90 million. The man is called Gareth for heaven’s sake!

Onwards to Fulham: Craven Cottage is one of the trickier places to go and in recent times has been the setting of cagey spectacles. Last season I recall a Mertesacker header giving us a lucky victory, the year before a Zamora master class (cough) being our undoing. Losing RVP has, amongst other things, made this fixture distinctly less comfortable – say what you want about the man, but he did possess an uncanny knack for scoring at The Cottage.

Fulham’s transfer business has been busy and in parts impressive. Whereas in previous times, it has been the club of choice for competent players seeking their last contract in a beautiful city – this summer has shown a slight effort to lower the average age of the squad. Whether that is a tactical decision from Martin Jol, or a financial one from Shahid Khan, who knows?

  • Amorebieta – part of that impressive Bilbao team, dismembered over these past two seasons.
  • Derek Boateng – capable when I saw him play for Getafe a few years ago – no idea what he is like now, though…
  • Scott Parker – above-average midfielder who runs a lot – most impressive trait is being English and has won him much acclaim from pundits.
  • Darren Bent – sickeningly average striker who can score, but little else…
  • Maarten Stekelenburg – Dutch international keeper, who by most accounts is pretty good.
  • Taarabt – mercurial talent, who despite having played for Spurs, I rather like.

Fulham are a pleasing team to watch and generally inoffensive to the neutral. One thing that does irritate though, is that impeccable line they hold 10 metres from their box. Consequently Theo may find things harder today.

A positive aspect of playing against such a deep line is that it does free up space in midfield. It also creates a larger hole between defence and midfield. So, with the midfielders we have, all able to flourish in that area, it’s important that our movement and interplay is swift.

It is also important that we are able to test their defence on the ground. Giroud has nuances to his game that pundits are often too lazy to acknowledge. His footwork is rarely credited and people assume he is just a physical target.

Hangeland will start in defence and I believe Amorebieta will accompany him. He was overlooked last week as he had just returned from a friendly in Venezuela. Both of these men are around 195cm (6”5) so we cannot expect Giroud to better them aerially.

If Jol plays Taarabt and Berbatov up front, then our defenders needn’t worry about being pressed. Unfortunately he will probably be more conservative and opt for 5 in midfield – Taarabt making way for Karagounis/Parker, with Berbatov left to hold up play.

The news from the press conference is that Koscielny is “like a boxer who had a hard fight the night before; lots of blood around his eye and a deep cut. He is suspended for Saturday anyway but let’s hope he recovers for next Tuesday.”

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Ryo is “back in full training now. He will be involved this season in the first-team squad. Hopefully very soon because he’s now getting fit.”  And Vermaelen, is “on the pitches again. But there’s still a good few weeks to go for him to get his fitness. We have Nacho back and Thomas soon back so that’s all good news for us.”

I make the team as follows…


Jenko            Sagna                  Per             Gibbs


Wilshere                        Rosicky

      Walcott                             Giroud                         Cazorla


I haven’t a clue how this will pan out, but I’d be surprised if it is comfortable.

Cheers and gone (as they say in Cornwall),



The books…

The sites from the same team…


29 comments to A trip down the River, a game at the Cottage, a pm in the pub

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    I see a few Fulham matches every year (I have a very good friend who has bean a season ticket holder since he was knee high to a grasshopper) and saw their pre-season game against Betis where Fulham were definitely second best. That was before the arrival of Parker and Bent though. Their key player is Berbatov. He is still a very classy player and capable of that touch of magic that can beat any defence, he is also nowhere as lazy as commonly beheld. If we can keep him quiet and press as we did midweek we should come away with all three points. If we don’t it will be a struggle. Referee is Howard Webb so that is a massive improvement from last week.

  • nicky

    That “impeccable line 10 metres from their box” will give Ramsey enough space to step forward and use his shooting boots.
    At Fenerbahce we still persisted in the irritating close passing movement in the area, a la bagatelle board, until a firm, solid defence cleared upfield.
    I hope Ramsey will have reminded his chums that when you are close enough to shoot… shoot.

  • nicky,

    I say amen to the prayer on shooting. Keepers are not always that alert and besides, there is the good old (or devious) deflections. You don’t get shots deflected into the net if you don’t shoot. Like you, I hope Ramsey’s goal mid-week encourages the team to shoot more.

  • Persian gunner

    Off topic but,
    It seems that Jacky boy is an untolder! 😉

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Its going to be close ,but hope we nick it, 2-1 !Keep the faith !
    Up the Gunners !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Being faithful and truthful ! Always ask questions first before the deed !

    After a long night of making love, the guy notices a photo of another man, on the woman’s nightstand by the bed.

    He begins to worry.
    ‘Is this your husband?’ he nervously asks.
    ‘No, silly,’ she replies, snuggling up to him.
    ‘Your boyfriend, then?’ he continues.
    ‘No, not at all,’ she says, nibbling away at his ear.
    ‘Is it your dad or your brother?’ he inquires, hoping to be reassured.
    ‘No, no, no! You are so hot when you’re jealous!’ she answers.
    ‘Well, who in the hell is he, then?’ he demands.
    She whispers in his ear
    ‘That’s me before the surgery.’ …

  • colario

    Off subject I know, but the is a slight irony as we are way down the league and proud of the way the club is run being self reliant thanks to our manager. We should note that Arsene is only one club a way from being the manager of a club owned by a billionaire and top of its league. Go see.

  • From TeamTalk’s preview of the weekend’s matches:

    “The opening to Arsenal’s Premier League season was as disastrous as it was predictable. The Gunners took an early lead against Aston Villa at the Emirates, but from that moment on suffered a humiliating fall to further dampen the spirits of supporters already disillusioned by the club’s lack of transfer activity.”

    The travesty of last Saturday has already been whitewashed. It never happened. The dishonesty in the first sentence is just sad. How many pundits “predicted” Saturday’s outcome if it was so “predictable”? I can’t recall anyone. Please correct me with a link if you can find any.

    The performance and results of last week had nothing to do with the incessant harrassment of Arsenal FC on how it does its business by the media and the whiny ‘fans’. None of them predicted or even expected it. Their prediction was that we would struggle against the top teams, not relegation strugglers in our own stadium. The ref handed them an undeserved opportunity to yell “I told you so” and boy did they run with it!

    The common prediction right now is that we will win at Craven Cottage, especially after the team’s perfomance on Wednesday. I don’t need to tell Untolders this but guys take note that NOTHING has changed about the team since last Saturday. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING has changed!

    So why are they expecting us to win away against a team that finished last season above Aston Villa, against which we were “predictably disastrous” at home? Had we not won like we did on Wednesday, the predictions would be totally different.

    Meanwhile, what they all blame for our result on Saturday has not changed. No new players have arrived, so why should we be able to get any good result when the reason for getting a bad one last week has not changed? Screw the pundits/media, their opinion shifts as the wind blows.

    I expect a tough game this afternoon and hope for a competent and fair refereeing. I’ll take whatever result we get as long as the games is fairly played.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Webb wasn’t that good but he seemed unbiased in most of his decisions. And another win for the Arsenal. What a difference a ref makes. 😉

  • Yassin

    I want to know what doesn`t Sczezney has that other GKs we are linked with have?>

  • Shard

    Sell Podolski? No way.. He scores when he wants! A very good performance today from Arsenal. Can’t think of any player who didn’t do a good job. There’s still some defensive issues in midfield sometimes, but that is for later. Very pleased today.

    At the moment, I think Arsenal enjoy playing more away from home. Which is something our fans should be at least a little self conscious about.

  • Shard,

    3-0 win in a foreign country, 3-1 win in an away game.

    Yes, apart from Anthony Taylor, some of our home fans should hang their heads in shame.

    Howard Webb did not make the game about himself and voila: we got a very good game!

    Let’s finish off Fenerbahce on Tuesday and get our season going! Well done boys!

  • Yassin,

    How naive of you.

    Look, all it takes for a player to be useless is for them to play for Arsenal. All it takes for them to be great is to play for another club.

    I am really disappointed that you of all people did not know this 🙂

  • Shard


    Some of the build up play and movement today was really really good.

    Yes. We need to be focused for Tuesday, because if we concede an early goal, I don’t know how our crowd will react.

    I’m very happy with today’s performance. Like I said, there were a few defensive issues, but on the whole, everyone stayed focused, worked hard, and played well.

  • Shard

    Actually, I think Szczesny is a little erratic. He has the ability to make brilliant saves. But I still think that if we have a more experienced goalkeeper to back him and push him for his spot, it’ll be better for us. What I want to know is who all Real Madrid got as backup goalies when Casillas was doing his growing up in the first team. That would be a good example to follow, in terms of the sort of GK we might want to support Szczesny

  • Mick

    Why wasn’t Ramsey sold along with the rest of the dead wood!!!!

  • bjtgooner

    An excellent all round team performance, some super play, excellent goals and three valuable points.

    It was good to see Podolski starting today and really playing well. Also, it was sensible to give Jack a bit of a breather.

    This is a good team, and some of the AAA punters who have derided the team and Wenger deserve a lobotomy. Wenger has done well to rebuild the team after the Fabergate episode and the Van Pursey desertion. (Not forgetting about the antics of Dein the Lesser).

    We have an excellent core to build on, lets now have some reinforcements.

  • elkieno

    Just want to say great win and Berbatov is a dirty prck andvI hate him. He was dirty all game but elbow Sagna was worst… Pod the best finisher we have.

  • AL

    Didn’t get the chance to watch this but brilliant result, at what is a difficult ground for us. This result, along with the Fenerbahce & City results show that the Villa game ought to be investigated.

  • Test (my post is not coming up)

  • Shard,

    What about Fabiansky? I think we have 2 good goalkeepers who are challenging each other for club and country. Szczy did well today and he should be so applauded.

  • Shard


    He should be applauded. And I think he can be a fantastic goalkeeper. I still think he makes some bad mistakes at times.

    As for Fabiansky. I like him, and think he might even be the better keeper in general, but that he has more mental issues, and that he can’t pull out the spectacular save as much as Szczesny.

    As such I’m satisfied with our GKs. I just think that we can improve in the position. But it isn’t really a priority for me. I would be perfectly satisfied going into the season with both the Poles in goal.

  • Please don’t accuse me of bragging but did anybody recall my harping on about Giroud being better than Higuain? That guy is going to be immense for us this season as he clearly showed pre-season.

    His goal today was difficult but he had the instinct to pull it off. His link up for the 3rd goal was oh la la 🙂

  • Mick

    Yes maybe but he has no pace and didn’t come with a £50 million price tag.

  • Mick,

    Of course. But more importantly, he CURRENTLY plays for Arsenal. Everybody knows that Arsenal only sign kids. Anyone playing for them can’t be good. True they are a perpetual top-4 team but the players regularly making that top-4 spot are utterly useless lightweights.

    I despise the moronic media but I cannot express how I feel about the AAA. They make me sick. Remember that the media get most of their talking points from our trophy junkies.

    A great injury-free win today and long may it continue.

  • Yassin

    @ Bootoomee,
    Yes i forget, how silly of me, he is an Arsenal player he should be awful……

    Well we miss Arteta, we should be have a defensive problems, but may the stupid AAA notice he is the best DMF playing now…. Hope Aragones doesn`t.

    @ elkiano,
    he used to be a Man Unt player, he is a professional and know how to take advantage of other teams, if they lack a defender, kick the one playing and they will be in trouble….. typical SAF type of a player….

  • Shard


    I think you mean Del Bosque 🙂

    No they don’t notice. Even if shown some evidence, they say if Arteta is amongst our best players, that just shows how far we’ve fallen.. Who cares what they say. Statements like that just prove that they have no idea what they are talking about.

  • Yassin

    @ Shard,
    In reality dont know wht his name is or who he is, I dont watch internationals any more, am addicted to this team that all I care a bout are our players not injured and happy during there games…..

    Am happy no body noticing him, he is the one i dont want to have injured, and the reason are so obvious.

  • Shard

    He is a brilliant player Yassin. Not just in his technical level, but his know-how. How to win fouls. When to foul. The dark arts, which though I don’t like, are certainly needed in the big bad world of professional sports.