Arsenal vs Fulham… Match Preview…

Morning folks… a good  morning on a freezing Friday…

I have to say, the recent defeats in the league and Champions league are fast fading and the memories of the recent Premiership and Carling Cup wins are more recent and more prevalent in my mind… and if we can win a few more, it may eradicate them to a decent degree. Fulham won’t be easy – they were easy when they played Man City a couple of weeks ago, but in all honesty, the work-rate that city had was top notch and that’s what we will need to do and we need to do it for for 90 minutes

For those of you coming down to the Emirates tomorrow, it’s going to be a cold and snowy day indeed, so wrap up warm… our team will need to shake off the coldness that saw them start sluggishly on Tuesday. We’ll see a few first teamers return to the line up after Arsene made 7 changes last game around and we will definitely see our star 10 goal striker, Maroune Chamakh return up front. Our Moroccan striker was in front of the press yesterday and said:

“I think the fact that I give everything [is why they have taken to me]. I give 200 per cent, I play with my heart, I’ve got guts, I give everything I’ve got. I don’t cheat or cut corners, that’s my strength, my character and I think that they like me for it. Personally, I’ve never been a great goalscorer, I’ve never scored more than 20 goals a season, but it’s up to the manager as to how he uses his players,” he said. For me, if I can weigh in with 15 to 20 goals, it would be a very, very good season. Whatever happens I hope to continue my progress, which went really well under Laurent Blanc [at Bordeaux] and long may it continue. It’s gone really well with the set-up here, I hardly knew anyone when I arrived but they’ve all made me feel very welcome. It has been easy to settle in and this has allowed me to express myself and that’s very important.”

I think that we can all see that Maroune Chamakh has more to offer to us than just goals. His eye for a pass, his goal up play and his trickery allow him to be a very good top striker in a 4-2-3-1. He has also managed to get 10 goals to his name – which is quite something by the end of November. I’m sure he’ll be back in the squad tomorrow, and I think we’ll see the following line up:

Fabianski

Sagna – Squillaci – Koscielny – Clichy

Wilshere – Song

Walcott – Rosicky – Arshavin

Chamakh

With Van Persie having played mid-week, I think he’ll be back on the bench along with Niklas Bendtner. Nasri, I believe, suffered a knee injury in the game against Wigan, and although recovered, I think he’ll be on the bench tomorrow – a bench of: Szcznesy, Eboue, Gibbs, Denilson, Nasri, Bendtner, Van Persie…

I’ll be back tomorrow, but for now I’ll leave you with a picture that a good friend passed on through twitter, @Tottz82…

Indeed, who would?

And finally a thought provoking comment from Arsene…

“We are in a strong position in every single competition – that means overall the attitude is right, the spirit of the squad is right. I am confident we have the necessary quality, so let’s continue to improve.”

Have a great Friday!

  • http://spliffed.com Delatorre

    Please Vela will make bench before Bendtner. He only scored in the carling cup because Vela set him up. Other than that he was pretty useless! Walcott is another useless bum that doesnt create chances and looses the ball so easily.

  • http://dangwtf.com delatorre

    post my message yo!!! dont get mad cuz im talking crap about your beloved Walcott!

  • Sam

    I get a feeling that as the tempratures drop, our WC-hosting-nation-captain, our little Arsh, gets hotter. Maybe the cold makes his blood fllow, and makes everyone else freeeeze!
    So I’m looking for a master performancefrom our Russian.
    3-0 to the Arsenal.

  • mark

    Zenit were charged for racial abuse during a UEFA Cup tie with Marseilles, so it’s not like the issue has gone under the radar, unlike the 36 times Justice Adjei was stabbed in Moscow in a racial attack. This sort of attitude has no place in the civilised world or the 21st century, and yet Russia have the World Cup. How can we have grandiose gestures like Kick Racism out of Football and then hand the World Cup to Moscow? Somewhere, FIFA have messed up their priorities and it is an absolute disgrace.

    Concerns over air safety (read: the planes have a habit of falling out of the sky) and infrastructure round of the backstory for the Russian bid, and yet they won. Mind-blowing stupidity on the part of FIFA. North Korea for the 2026 World Cup anyone?

    All I can say is I’m thankful they didn’t give the World Cup to Spain-Portugal. Both countries are well on their way to sovereign bankruptcy (Portugal at least, is small enough to get bailed out, but Spain? Good luck!). I won’t bore you with too much economics, but suffice to say that Portugal’s government is so short of people to fund it’s debt, that its banks are actually lending the government money. This is a move of absolute stupidity, as once the Portuguese government starts to cut its deficit and the economy shrinks, the banks will find their losses mounting as people default on their loans/mortgages, and in turn demand money back from the government. Best of luck with that Portugal.

    Aside from those same economic issues, barely any of Spain’s proposed World Cup stadium were even built, and most of them were funded by local authorities, the very same local authorities who are a bit strapped for cash amidst widespread concern over the Spanish economy. And yet I doubt any FIFA representative even broached the subject.

    The issue of sustainability should be at the forefront of concerns: “if you build these stadiums for the World Cup, are they going to get used afterwards?” should be asked. It has to be a total deal-breaker if a country has to build a bunch of stadiums that will then stand derelict. FIFA should have learned from the Athens Olympics, where many facilities were built purely for the games and then afterwards lay unused, while the Greek economy crumbled.

    The Qatar 2022 World Cup will have Greenpeace seething with rage. With scorching summer temperatures, high-level sport will be nearly impossible. Good job then that Qatar plan on air conditioning all the stadiums then! Having visited the country myself, I can attest to it being a beautiful place but given the income inequality, I cannot see how they will sell tickets to the locals. Sure, the wealthy expatriate oil engineers and architects will pick them up easily, but that won’t fill stadiums. The very stadiums that I bet most will be custom-built and never used again. It truly beggars belief.

    England apparently had the best technical bid, and were ticking all the boxes commercially too. You could have stadiums based all around the country, and very few would need upgrades. You’d have a few brand new stadiums by the time the World Cup came around, but you would have neither funding concerns nor time concerns (if they are delayed, there’s a plethora of other suitable stadiums). The infrastructure would be adequate if not perfect, and there would be both the funding and the time to make a few improvements if FIFA deemed it necessary. There’d be no nonsense of flying around the country like there was in South Africa, to the benefit of the fans’ pockets. How then did England only get two votes?

    As a proud Englishman, I have to say I’m gutted at what was ultimately an abject failure of our bid. As ever though, I’d urge the bid team to be proud of their efforts, and remind themselves that the FIFA representatives are, almost to a man, corrupt and terribly misguided. All that I can say is FIFA can’t be considering the core issues for the bid’s but some wishy-washy “expanding the game into new areas” by awarding it to Russia. That’s all well and lovely, but let’s just wait for the first racist incident in Moscow. Once the World Cup comes around, we won’t be waiting long.

  • edison

    Sam – i was thinking the same thing. He seemed like a happy russian after winning the world cup vote (he never seemed to be able to get over not making it past qualifying for south africa). More importantly he broke his goal drought last weekend – with arshavin its all about mentality – so hopefully we will see him returning to his great form now things are looking up for our beloved meerkat.

  • devday

    It’s true – when Arshavin first joined, it was around February and snowy days that he seemed to be on top of his game… I have a good feeling he will be up for it on Saturday…!

  • devday

    I have to agree on both Walcott and Bendtner – since their injuries, they have come back completely out of form!

  • devday

    Hey Edison! Happy Friday :-) I think you make a good point about missing the world cup – whereas it was positive for Nasri and Walcott – it was actually quite negative for Andrei… With the boost of having the WC in his country, he should be on a high…!!!

  • vj

    I think Van persie and nasri should both start although with the team you have up devday I can see Arsene playinf 4-4-2 with walcott as the second striker and rosicky and arshavin on the wings. Plus Arshavin will start to play really well now, Russia just won the world cup for 2018, his form dipped last year when Russia got kicked out, so watch out Fulham

  • funty

    MArk – some great points you make – im glad england lost out in the world cup bid – bloody thugs the bunch of them

  • funty

    One of our readers wrote a comment which got me thinking. And I would like to thank him for giving me some inspiration. And please don’t see this as some kind of attack, as this is certainly not the case. It just was the starting point of doing some research.

    He said: “Set-pieces are just killing arsenal’s defence. Don’t know why it happens but every time we concede a corner or free kick, its nerve wrecking, and most of our goals are going in thru set pieces.”

    And at first I was nodding my head in agreement. And then I thought… is this really so?

    So I went on a little investigation and so I took all the goals we conceded so far and I just give you the list of the goals we conceded so far this season and also how they happened. I took all the competitive goals we played so far this season and looked at all the goals we conceded.

    So here comes a rather depressing list:

    Liverpool : open play
    Blackburn: open play
    Bolton : open play
    Sunderland: open play (after a corner had been hooked away and in extra extra time)
    Tottenham : open play
    WBA: open play
    Partizan Belgrade: penalty
    Chelsea: open play and direct free kick
    Birmingham : open play
    Shakhtar : open play
    Shakhtar: free kick headed in own goal + open play
    Newcastle: free kick headed in
    Everton: corner bundled in
    Tottenham : open play, penalty, free kick headed in
    Braga: open play, open play
    Aston Villa : open play, corner headed in
    So what we have is goals from open play, penalties and corners and free kicks leading to a goal. But how many of them? Let us count.

    OPEN PLAY: 14 (from 22 goals in total) or 63 %
    PENALTY: 2 (from 22 goals in total) 9%
    DIRECT FREE KICK: 1 (from 22 goals in total) 4,5%
    CORNER/FREE KICK turned in to a goal : 5 (from 22 goals in total) 23%
    I think we can leave the penalties and the direct free kicks out of this as they are more or less not directly to blame on something or someone.

    But if we look at the goals we conceded from corners and free kicks they contain only 23% of the total we let in. So the assumption that we concede most of our goals from corners and free kicks is just totally wrong. Just every 5th goal we let in comes from such a standard situation.

    And if we compare this with the games we played so far in total (which is 23 games) we can see that we let in less than one goal per game. For those who like numbers we concede 0,95 goals per game to be exact. And most of them in open play.

    So in fact statistically it only is every fifth game we concede a goal from a corner/free kick that is somehow headed in or forced over the line. So our dear fan who is suffering from a nervous breakdown every corner or free kick we concede should just relax a bit more. It is not the end of the world when face a free kick or a corner.

    And you will not hear me say that we don’t concede any goals from those situations, but as I have just shown there is a greater chance that we concede a goal in open play.

    And I must say that after my little research I must admit that these numbers are even surprising to me. Even I have been a believer of the general football chatter that we cannot defend set pieces. Maybe this is another example of how we are developing our team. I really would be grateful if there is someone out there who knows how this has been going in the last seasons. To see if we could find if we are improving or if we are going backwards?

    I have the feeling after seeing these numbers that we have improved, but then again it might just be that I just have a false image on this. Just as I believed, and our reader also believed, I think many of us had the wrong feeling about conceding goals.

  • Fo

    Funty = that’s some seriously cool stats you’ve pulled out there!!

  • Fo

    My lineup would be:

    Fabianski
    Sagna – Squillaci – Koscielny – Clichy
    Walcott – Wilshere – Song – Arshavin
    Chamakh – Robin Van Persie

  • Kodjo

    Thanks funty for the stats and analysis

    …it certainly puts to bed the notion that we are weak at set pieces…maybe a comparative analysis of other teams in the top 4 will give additional perspective

    my worry is the number of times that individual mistake have led to goals as opposed brilliant play by opposing teams…..

    then again you could argue that the mistakes were forced by opposing teams which could be part of their tactics…

  • yemi

    3 points will do, we do not have any excuse about squad for now. The central defense is quite OK and TV is not too missed. Unlike last season when we had sivestre and sol campbell as backups. I watched drogbas goal against us last season in which he beat silvestre and silvestre could not even run after him. He was so so tired and weak.
    The midfield is very very ok with Song, nasri, jack, denilson and rosisky.
    In The attack i still have a little proble with chamack not taking chance and ALWAYS holding up play. Don’t get me wrong, holding up play is good but not when u are clear on goal. I believe he is still improving though and with double digits by november, his scoring form is not too bad…

    for my squad selecttion, i’d rather have djourou against fulham than koscielny because of set pieces …. but if we are looking at the speed of the fulham players, i’d go with KOS. Select Dilemma, ain’t that good for the gunners ??? LOL

    ————–Fabianski

    Sagna – Squillaci – Djourou– Clichy

    -Rosicky-Song-Wilshere–Arshavin

    ——-Walcott-Chamakh

  • fan

    stream – sportstream24.com/england_football/watch_online_9

  • jat85

    na na na na na na na na na na samir nas-er-i nas-er-i SAMIR NAS-ER-IIIII!!!

  • edison

    NASRI IS ON FIRE

  • Berth

    We would have probably drawn or lost the match if it where November.