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Fulham v Arsenal. Can Fulham make it 9 out of 56? And the teams

By Bulldog Drummond

If a manager changes his tactics from one match to another he is either flexible and tactically aware, or unsure what his best line up is.  But it has to be one or the other because everyone has to have an opinion.  Because opinions, even when there are limited facts available and the opinion itself is spoken by a person with no knowledge, is good. 

In short, “Everyone can have an opinion,” has been bypassed and now it is “Everyone must have an opinion”.

I am not sure why everyone must have an opinion but that is how it goes.   Sokratis in a post match interview after the mid-week game said  “In the first half we tried another system for us and it is very good we try new things.   It’s very good, because sometimes in matches like this you need to find a new tactic to win or play better.

“I played in Borussia with three and four at the back. It is good that the manager works on a lot of situations and we learned a lot about what we have to do in games.”

This is apparently good all round, although the Telegraph tells us “A lack of tactical flexibility was a charge often leveled at Emery’s predecessor Arsene Wenger.”   So that change from two centre backs to three was just something I imagined.  Ah well.  Football is so complicated.  But an opinion is all that counts.

One of the more interesting things the boss has said this week is that, “We are going to balance each match physically with the players.  These player are prepared to play Thursday and Sunday … But if I decide to play a someone for three matches in a week, they are available to do that.”

In other words no fixed rules, let’s play the right system against each team we come up against.  Oh and while thinking about the back line, here’s a thought: Sokratis is the first Arsenal goalscorer never to play under Mr Wenger, since Glenn Helder in 1996.  I bet you’re glad that one is doing the rounds.  (And at least Untold reports it without splitting the infinitive.  It’s “never to play” not “to never play” guys.  Do learn your grammar).

But in this new world of not being sure whether to praise or bury the new Caesar, we have the inevitable oddities.   “Arsenal have won eight matches in all competitions in a row” (a common phrase copied from one newspaper to another) is not quite right.  Since if one is going to say all competitions, actually it is nine.

Date Game Res Score Competition
5 Aug 2018 Arsenal v West Ham United W 3-1 Premier League
02 Sep 2018 Cardiff City v Arsenal W 2-3 Premier League
12 Sep 2018 Coventry City v Arsenal W 0-3 FL  Trophy
15 Sep 2018 Newcastle United v Arsenal W 1-2 Premier League
20 Sep 2018 Arsenal v Vorskla Poltava W 4-2 Europa League
23 Sep 2018 Arsenal v Everton W 2-0 Premier League
26 Sep 2018 Arsenal v Brentford W 3-1 League Cup
29 Sep 2018 Arsenal v Watford W 2-0 Premier League
04 Oct 2018 Qarabağ Agdam v Arsenal W 0-3 Europa League

OK it’s a trivial point, but I do like running that list of victories.

Here’s another one from Football London that normally never comments on referees.  “The fact that Paul Tierney is in charge of the game will also be very good news for the Gunners.  The Lancashire official has only refereed Arsenal once and that resulted in a 4-0 victory over Notthingham Forest in the Carabao Cup back in September 2016.”

A little different from our review which ran “Expect 17 free kicks to Fulham”.  Meanwhile here’s this morning’s league table.  A victory would take us into “Fourth is not a trophy” territory.  But maybe not.  A heady thought.

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 7 6 1 0 21 3 18 19
2 Liverpool 7 6 1 0 15 3 12 19
3 Tottenham Hotspur 8 6 0 2 15 7 8 18
4 Chelsea 7 5 2 0 15 5 10 17
5 AFC Bournemouth 8 5 1 2 16 12 4 16
6 Arsenal 7 5 0 2 14 9 5 15

What is interesting is that after those two games in which we knocked in three goals we have had three games in which we have knocked in two.  So now maybe this could be the start of four games in which we knock in five… although perhaps I am getting a bit ahead of myself.

We could also use this as a chance to change our results against other London teams, as we have had only one win in the last eight in London away from Arsenal Stadium.  And if that is not enough we could also chalk up six successive Premier League wins – and go further along the road of returning to our normal away form before the rude interruption of the last couple of years.

So in the team.  We can expect to see Aubameyang and perhaps Ramsey or Mkhitaryan or even both.

Here’s one option

Leno;

Bellerin, Mustafi, Sokratis, Monreal;

Torreira, Xhaka;

Ramsey

Ozil Aubameyang; Lacazette

Whether we play Mkhitaryan or Ramsey then decides if Ozil plays centre or on the left.

And to finish here’s the head to head….

Arsenal have won 37, Fulham 8, and there have been 10 draws.  Here are the last ten…

Date Game Res Score Competition
26 Sep 2009 Fulham v Arsenal W 0-1 Premier League
09 May 2010 Arsenal v Fulham W 4-0 Premier League
04 Dec 2010 Arsenal v Fulham W 2-1 Premier League
22 May 2011 Fulham v Arsenal D 2-2 Premier League
26 Nov 2011 Arsenal v Fulham D 1-1 Premier League
02 Jan 2012 Fulham v Arsenal L 2-1 Premier League
10 Nov 2012 Arsenal v Fulham D 3-3 Premier League
20 Apr 2013 Fulham v Arsenal W 0-1 Premier League
24 Aug 2013 Fulham v Arsenal W 1-3 Premier League
18 Jan 2014 Arsenal v Fulham W 2-0 Premier League

More anon.

 

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