Arsenal vs Fulham Preview… And a bit more…

Tomorrow we take on Fulham on a day that can see us go fourth (if we’re not careful) but more likely a game that will see us finish third, which considering the events of recent times is quite an admirable feat. First time commenter Walter spoke about the perspective that we should have when looking on the season and despite our recent run of defeats, a run which has seen us without many key players, should not take away such a great effort of a season that we’ve had. We sold our two most sell-able assets in Adebayor and Toure for a combined £41m and have still managed to finish with a higher total (well, providing we beat Fulham) than last season.

Before I take a look at the rest of the world of Arsenal, I will take a look at the injury situation and the available players for tomorrow’s game. In the injured department we have Almunia (supposedly), Gallas, Vermaelen, Song, Denilson, Ramsey, Cesc, Rosicky and Bendtner. Yes, I know that pretty much a whole team, but we have got Clichy, Gibbs, Djourou and Arshavin back for the final game of the season.

With the injury list above, Arsene really doesn’t have a choice with the team and it will most likely pan out like this:

Fabianski

Sagna – Campbell – Silvestre – Clichy

Diaby – Eboue

Walcott – Nasri – Arshavin

Van Persie

With a bench of Mannone, Djourou, Gibbs, Eastmond, Merida, Vela, Eduardo

It’s funny, because you look at the players out injured and at least four or five of them would walk straight into the team, they’re the spine of our team and regardless of what has happened this season, the experience that these players have gained plus the return of the injured players creates a great squad ready for battle. Arsene has to cleanse the team a little and bring in reinforcements in key areas. And he is starting that process by the arrival of a new striker in Maroune Chamakh. Arsene all but confirmed the signing and we believe it will happen on the 16th May…

“It is not officially done, but we are confident on the boy. When all is clear we will come out and announce it.”

Arsene has been tracking Chamakh since last summer and by waiting the extra year, he has saved the club a £12m transfer fee. Yes, if we had him last year, it may have affected our title bid, but in all honesty, it wasn’t the signings or lack of signings last summer that made the season what it was, it was the severe injuries to key players. And Arsene knows that we’re injury prone, as a club and bringing in another striker, whilst keeping the current four (RvP, Nikki B, Eduardo and Vela), shows a new found impoteous to strengthen in every area.

Bacary Sagna, who has previously against him in the French league was very complimentary of the striker and quite excited:

“I know him. I played against him. He is top class. He is very good in the air and he scores a lot of goals from crosses. He keeps the ball very well and it will only benefit us to have a player like him in the team.”

With Chamakh on board, and the improvement we’ve seen in Bendtner… a fully fit Van Persie plus a whole heartedly recovered Eduardo are four players who represent quality in attack. Vela is a player whom we’ve yet to see the best of. He is young, he’s had an injury plagued season, and I’m confident we’ll see an amazing player at the world cup, which will prove to us that he has the quality to make it.  There are many players, websites and other new sources that will say how bad we are, how bad our players are etc, etc, but I’ll tell you now, no team could play well with the injuries we’ve had, and it’s also impossible to have two top class players in every position. But they will be better next season for sure, and it’s not time to stop believing.

In the recent days, having many a conversation with Sp*rs fans, what it clear is that over the last few years, what we have achieved is incredible. Moving into a 60,000 seater stadium – in the centre of London (with London prices), and maintaining a top four finish every season during this period, whilst also mounting a title challenge. It’s incredible to think we’ve done this on our budget with our hands tied, and having halved our debt and saved some cash, we’re ready to raise it up a level.

Tomorrow, I’d love to see the team put on a show. It will be a cold day out but it’s the last time this season that we’ll see our beloved team in action. Come on you Gooners!

  • ny

    we are being linked with a move for SWP .Arsene… please please do it.He is far better than Ronaldo if used properly.

  • Yemi

    It seems like every time we say that we won’t mind a player at arsenal, the media goes wild with rumors that we are actually bidding for them……
    It happened with hangeland, It happened with joe cole now we are apparently bidding for shawn wright-philips !!! Sick media

    Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is preparing a swoop for Manchester City winger Shaun Wright-Phillips.

    The tricky winger has failed to land a regular starting place under Roberto Mancini at Eastlands.

    Now Mancini is ready to let him leave and Arsenal boss Wenger wants to snap him up in a cut-price £5million deal, says The Sun.

    Wright-Phillips returned to City for his second spell with the club in an £8.5m deal from Chelsea in August 2008. He signed a four-year deal worth £60,000 a week but that was before the big money started being spent by new owner Sheikh Mansour.

  • JTGunner

    SWP better than ronaldo?are you being serious?swp is a one dimensional player who will offer nothing different from what we already have in our squad.all he can often is blistering pace, which we already have with walcott.swp isnt a great dribbler, doesnt cross, doesnt score much.why waste £60,000+ on wages for him when we need other players is defensive positions before we think about getting a winger.no way do i want to see swp at the emirates!bring in sakho at centre back.keep sol for another year, maybe let gallas go.let silvetre and senderos go aswell.vermaelen and sakho as 1st pairing.then djourou and campbell as back up.song can slot in aswell.kyle bartley has been playing well at sheffield utd.nordveit has been performing in nurnberg.gone off topic but we need defensive reinforcements before we think about getting a winger and swp is no way near the quality that we should be looking at.

  • Yemi

    3 points is all we need to at least appease us a bit. No more no less

  • Francis

    Yes 3 points is all need..i concur with Yemi…

    Just watched the Leeds vs Bristol Rovers game and i was happy to see Sanchez-Watt come on for the last 5 mins…held the ball well and had the nerve to go round 2 players in such a tension packed game…it was easier to pass the ball…his all round demeanour suggests that he has matured..his composure on the ball was never in doubt.

  • Francis

    Con’t..from where i left off..i wonder what plans Wenger has for Sanchez-Watt, Jay Simpson, Gavin Hoyte, Szceszny, Henderson,JET, all the other lads on loan + lads playing reserve team soccer.

    I wonder who will make it into the first team…as this has bearing on Wenger transfer business

  • Kuka

    @ Francis. I do hope he continues to develop them. They would form a great collective squad….Hopefully, they can ease into the reserve team or at least play a role in the cup.

  • Sam

    HT: Arsenal 3 – 0 Fulham
    So far so good, it’s to see Gunners playing with urgency.
    Let’s close the season on a high, and avoid 2 extra matches next season. And staying above Sp@rs again will be nice!

  • Will Scott

    @ Francis: I personally see Simpson and Hoyte leaving at the end of this season. Can’t see either of them getting into the 25 man squad and don’t see the point in hanging on to them and paying their wages if they’re not really contributing anything.

    JET should be kept on, he’s done very well on loan this year and is a player I’d like to see some more of, even if it’s just in the Carling Cup or as a sub. The same goes for Lansbury, although Watford want him back for next season.

    I can’t see Szceszny breaking into the first team as things stand, even with the comical performances we’ve been seeing from Almunia and Flappyhandski recently. Could be a 3rd choice keeper if we let one of the others go and bring in someone such as Joe Hart?

    I’d like to see Havard Nordveit come back and give English football a go, either as a back up to our current (and new!) centre backs, or on loan at a lower side.

    Finally I hope we bring young Jack Wilshere back as I think he’s a real talent. I’ve seen rumours of a second loan spell at Bolton as part of a deal for Gary Cahill but just can’t see that happening.

  • Sam

    Chelsea win title, and deservedly.
    But I felt their celebration was totally insincere & full of s#it.
    They bring their kids into the pitch to make the team look family oriented. What crap!!! John Terry kissing his kids…

    Our 4-0 win was nice, but Sp#rs loss was sweat! We’re 6 points aheaf of them.

  • Sam

    * sweet! Sorry.

  • Mehedi

    Just watching Wenger’s interview on bbc

    Is he crying?

    can someone see it and confirm!

    I think he is crying.

  • Kuka

    @Mehedi – Yeah he seems to be very emotional for sure

  • yemi

    @ Kuka:
    wenger crying? why? did he get some stick?

  • Nick

    Very good to end the season with a 4 goal statement win. Too bad to hear Gallas is stalling on his contract talks. Seems he wants a 2 year and a raise.

    It’s time to see what the boss does with his transfers. It’s a shame the Prem has installed this stupid 25 man rule. Gonna be interesting to see what happens if any team is injury ravaged like we were next season.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    I think we have done really well to finish 3rd this season, just look at the reaction of the Sp*rs fans they are extatic about getting into the CL. Considering we have had half a team for pretty much half of the season, let’s be happy we are still up where we are and not done a Liverpool and plumit down to 7th.

  • Sampson

    Can someone explain the 25 man squad? I’m pretty sure its you have 25 players to pick your team from, but when can you make amends to the 25 man roster? During the transer window(s)? When do you have to set the roster?

  • devday

    @ Sampson:
    The home grown rule is explained in this article:

    http://worldofarsenal.co.uk/2010/04/27/lets-talk-money-lets-talk-transfers-lets-talk-home-grown-rule/

    Hope you find it useful!

  • endale

    arsenal was best in this season but the injury of its players makes him not to take the title. it will do it next.