Arsenal vs Fulham: Preview, Injury News & Predicted Team
Arsenal welcome Fulham to the Emirates tonight in the late Saturday kick-off. Here is a match preview including injury news and a prediction on the line-up.
The Gunners will play Martin Jol’s Fulham in the evening fixture today and a lot will be expected from both sides. In the buildup to the game, Arsene Wenger made a few comments about his side and he has told everyone that all his players will get a chance to play in the coming weeks ahead.
Andrey Arshavin has been an unused substitute in the past two games and the media have already created some fire with words that the former regular starter has now become a full-time fringe player but Arsene Wenger was quick to douse those flames:
“He’s not a back-up player but at the moment he doesn’t play, Maybe he will play on Saturday.
“I feel sorry for every player who doesn’t play but it is part of our job. Competition is part of our job and you must accept that in some periods of your career somebody can get in front of you.”
Competition is part of football and Arshavin didn’t do well enough to keep his place with his inconsistent performances. Gervinho came in and has been a better player by a mile with his brilliant play, assists and 2 goals even though he’s going through a phase in front of goal right now.
Since the loss to Tottenham on the 2nd of October, Arsenal have been in inspired form and they have gone on to win five Premier League games in a row as well as victories in other competitions. Robin van Persie has played a key role in this revival and the odds are firmly stacked on him to continue his amazing goal scoring run that has seen him surpass the 30-goal Premier league mark in just a calendar year.
From a Fulham point of view, the club’s primary right back Zdenek Grygera is out for the rest of the season after suffering a cruciate ligament injury but they will welcome back John Arne Riise and former Arsenal trainee Steve Sidwell. Moussa Dembele, Bobby Zamora and Andy Johnson are good with the ball at their feet so Arsenal has to do well to contend with the threat they’ll pose. The presence of Brede Hangeland will also mean that they’ll be a threat from dead-ball situations so the likes of Per Mertesacker will have to be banked upon to use his figure to help his team’s cause.
Fulham certainly has some flaws that need to be exploited by Arsenal. For starters, their away form has been pretty woeful and they have a knack for conceding very late goals due to lack of concentration at the back. They don’t even score many goals so I believe that the trend might continue at the Emirates.
From an Arsenal perspective, Abou Diaby will continue his road to full fitness while Arsene Wenger has revealed good news concerning Jack Wilshere’s fitness, with the midfielder on track for a January return. The Gunners are in great form and they’ll look to van Persie to continue hitting the back of the net as the Dutchman has scored 10 out of Arsenal’s last 15 goals and I believe that he has no plans of stopping.
The regular absentees like Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson and Bacary Sagna are still on the sidelines and no other player has joined their party in Arsenal’s physio room. Laurent Koscielny was replaced in the Dortmund game due to fatigue but I’m pretty sure that he’ll be raring to go today. Koscielny was Arsenal’s most featured player last season as he amassed up to 4,000 minutes of football in the four competitions he played.
For the potential starting lineup, Wojciech Szczesny will continue to be Arsenal’s custodian between the sticks but I think its high time the Pole tries his possible best to get a clean sheet because he has managed just one (West Brom) in his last six games. He had a clean sheet ‘double’ against Olymique Marseille though.
With the nonavailability of Kieran Gibbs, Andre Santos will continue to maraud the left full back position for Arsenal. Months ago, Edu promised the gooners that they were going to love the Brazilian and he has done well to win many hearts with his Samba style that involves great technique and great attacking verve. Laurent Koscieny will face a fitness test but if he’s not deemed fit enough Johan Djourou will deputize for him. Per Mertesacker and Thomas Vermaelen will continue to buildup their chemistry together and I expect another stellar performance from Arsenal’s vice captain.
The usual midfield triumvirate is Lionel Messi………..Alex Song, Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey. These three have blended perfectly with each other and their combination has unleashed the raw potentials of Alex Song and Aaron Ramsey. Arteta already had it in him. Abou Diaby could get a start but i’d expect him to be used as a substitute, although Rosicky may come in and give Arteta a rest.
Arsene Wenger has suggested he may mix things up and play some fringe players today, so perhaps we may see the likes of Arshavin and Chamakh from the start as the front three. However, I think Wenger will find it hard to leave Van Persie out, due to his stunning form.
My Predicted Team:
Szczesny, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Santos, Song, Ramsey, Rosicky, Arshavin, Walcott, Van Persie.
Last season, a scintillating display by Samir Nasri sent Arsenal to the top of the Premier League with two brilliant goals. Enjoy the game wherever you are and thanks a lot for reading your daily Arsenal digest for an entire year.
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