Today is our 3rd London derby in a month that has consisted of straightforward London derbies. Seems an odd sentence that one, as though it ascends a perfectly symmetrical hill to immediately fall down the other side. Anyway.
Little has changed for Fulham since they appointed Muelenstein, or at least that seems to be the case. A Fulham fan might give you a more nuanced view and a journalist might pretend he had a more nuanced view. But, alas, no nuance is to be found here. Not on my watch…
Berbatov was linked with us a few weeks ago and though his style is enjoyable, he and Ozil might have an extremely languid, but attractive duel – which would probably be detrimental to team morale. Could be something to write about, mind…
Observations on Man City
Little has been made of our midfield depth or what that may mean for the title race. Whilst people are rightly impressed by City’s collection of forwards, or Chelsea’s capacity to pay 20 million for a man they sold for 3 – they forget what has been most characteristic of modern football. Spain, Barcelona and Bayern (to a lesser extent) have all based their games on dominating the midfield. If you win the midfield, more often than not you win the game. (winning the midfield is not always characterised by possession…)
I am convinced that Man City will falter. Possibly as I’m an optimist, but also because, as their schedule congests, Toure will be unable to maintain this form. He’ll be rotated or he’ll be injured. Whichever way, it puts them in Javi Garcia territory. Not a good place to be; as City fans will tell you.
Garcia isn’t a bad player, certainly not as bad as he is often made out, but he is far less dynamic, or complete than the other two. City’s success is built on the intensity that radiates from Toure and Fernandinho. They are a rare kind of duo, in that they often appear to do the work of 3 players. Reminiscent of Gilberto and Vieira in that sense…
Whatever flaws we have in our squad, an unhealthy reliance on certain players isn’t one of them.
For our competitors it is different. Liverpool depend on Suarez; Chelsea on Hazard; and Man City’s recent success is founded, in some part, on the form of their midfield duo.
They are the only players in the City squad that can make a 4-4-2 work. Lose one of them and they’ll have to change their tactics fundamentally. Can they persist with the two strikers, a tactic that has been so vital to their success? Do they have to compensate with a more cautious Milner-shaped flank?
Interesting questions if nothing else…
Wilshere you may have noticed is good again; impressive when you consider just a month ago he “was overrated and overhyped”.
Form is temporary; idiocy is permanent as they often say.
I can see nothing but an Arsenal win today, to the extent that few areas of the Fulham team feel worth typing about. I expect that if any frustration is to be felt today, it will derive from Sidwell and Probert.
Unchanged team from Villa I’d expect:
Sagna Per Koscielny Gibbs
Cazorla Ozil Gnabry
Monreal, Vermaelen, Arteta and Ramsey are all injured. Rosicky is a doubt, as he ‘had surgery with a general anaesthetic’. Monreal’s injury, judging by the press conference was not as bad as it first looked. Which is better than I first thought (after I first looked).
Cheers, enjoy your weekend
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