Fulham Preview: A Huge Trip to the Cottage 19 April, 2013Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.
No offense, but it’s hard to get inspired by a match versus Fulham. They’re the definition of a mid-table club and that’s exactly where they find themselves with no chances of European football next season nor relegation to the Championship. Perhaps that’s a good thing; they’re fighting for nothing except pride, on the other hand they have nothing to lose.
Arsenal however are still stuck in a big fight for 3rd, 4th and 5th positions with massive implications for losing that battle. We need to find the inspiration at Craven Cottage tomorrow which we’ve so clearly been lacking in recent years. Hopefully the position we find ourselves in is enough to drill into the team how vital a win is but then again we’ve gone into this fixture before desperate for 3 points and left with none. Every time we come to this game I’m convinced we’re going to turn around our fortunes at Craven Cottage and every time I’m left disappointed. We’ve won there once in the past 4 seasons, let’s sort that out Arsenal.
Despite our record there, we should definitely be easing through this one in the form we’ve been in. That has been our downfall at The Cottage, not so much the quality of Fulham’s performance but of our own. I’ve seen some absolute shockers from us there over the last few years, I don’t know what it is but we’ve been known to just fall apart. The draw against Everton was a minor blip in what’s been an incredible turnaround in form since losing to Spurs and I don’t think Tuesday’s draw was such a bad result or performance. We absolutely must go back to winning tomorrow though.
Spurs are just two points behind us now with a game in hand. As good as our form has been that is a bit of a reality check when we’ve been feeling a bit invincible recently. This is by no means over and there’s a shit load of work still to do. Win and we go five points above Spurs before they face Man City. I don’t know much about the pressures of being a professional footballer, but I can imagine that is a gap they won’t enjoy minding.
The team news for tomorrow is as follows:
Fabianski is not back. The keeper situation is similar to what it was before. It is a rib injury. It is game to game for him.
At the back everyone should available. In midfield we have a few people to check like Cazorla, Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain. They will all have tests but I hope they should be alright. We have to test Rosicky who was not ready to start on Tuesday. There are a number of uncertainties about our squad but I will sort that out on Friday morning.
So only Arsene really knows the true fitness of our midfield. Which makes my job hard. So assuming everyone’s fit, if it were up to me I would love to see this XI:
Podolski – Giroud – Chamberlain
Ramsey – Arteta
Gibbs – Koscielny – Mertesacker – Sagna
I really want to see Cazorla back in the middle for this one. If there are doubts about Rosicky and Wilshere’s fitness then we shouldn’t be starting them – we have a massive game next weekend. Anyway, out of the three Santi in the best player in that role and that is where he should be starting. He’s okay out on the left, by why have okay when you can have brilliant? In his stead, I propose a rare start for Poldolski on the left. I believe he’s shown enough in recent cameos to warrant a start. He looks genuinely dangerous in front of goal and if worse comes to worst at least he’s not afraid to shoot (and shoot well)! Also Chamberlain has been very productive in his last couple of substitute appearances, more so than Walcott I would say. He’s replaced Rosicky’s forward-motion threat and as surprised as I would be to see him start I think he should be in with a shout of it.
As for Fulham I think we have to watch out for Berbatov. He’s struggled since leaving Spurs but is starting to find the net again including the winner against them a month ago. They’ve also got Sidwell back from suspension who always seems to do well against us, as does once-linked Mark Schwarzer. However they have got Gooner Big Phil at the back who surely owes us a favour.
As it stands I’m not making the trip West for this match, I’ll be watching live in The Gunners Pub I reckon. However no matter where you are this is absolutely huge game for Gooners everywhere and along with the scum and Chelsea fans will be watching very closely. If we turn up, we should walk it – that’s just a big ‘if’ considering years gone by. An early goal and a well-earned win and I’ll be a very happy man. Come on Arsenal, make me smile.
Thanks for reading.