Morning guys! It’s our first game of the new year and we travel to Fulham to keep our place in the top four.
But before I go into the preview, let’s look at some gist that made news.
Where better to start than the gaffe on the club’s official website. Apparently, Arsenal.com accidentally posted a picture of returning club legend last night.
The picture was rightly taken off moments later, but it sort of confirms all the stories that have been making rounds. Expect the deal to be confirmed tomorrow!
Still on the King’s return, captain RVP has confessed he cannot wait to reform his partnership with Titi. Said he:
“It is fantastic. For him to come back is something brave. He has nothing to prove. He has a statue here…it’s a massive joy to play and train with him. I am excited too”
Encouraging words from the Dutchman and I’m sure all fans share his sentiments. We cannot wait to see a strike force of Titi and RVP. Good times you say!
Straight to the preview; Fulham are expected to be without Zamora who is nursing an Achilles injury, Andrew Johnson is also unlikely to feature as he has a groin problem.
We have our own problems too, TV5 misses out, and for 3 weeks we won’t see him play. Expect to see Francis Coquelin at LB. Gervinho should also return to the starting XI.
Predicted XI: Sz13; Djourou, Mert, Kos, Coq; Song, Ramsey, Arteta; Gerv, Theo, RVP.
Yes, RVP starts for him, he’s looking sharp and he’ll be vital to whatever we do. We won’t create as many chances and we need to be efficient, he’s our best shot at that. 2-1 to the Arsenal!
That’s it from me today, it should be a good game. Things are finally looking good around the club once again. Let’s hope Arsene does the business now that the window is open.
Have fun wherever you’ll be watching!
C’MON YOU RIPPIN’ ROARERS!!
I partied all through last night but I can assure you that the title of this post is not alcohol-induced.
Yesterday’s draw against Fulham was more of one point gained than two points lost. Why jump the gun though? Allow me to take you through how events unfolded.
Arsene made two changes to the team that beat Dortmund at the Emirates, Djourou and Arshavin coming in for Koscielny and Gervinho. I’m sure we can now understand why Arshavin has not played a lot of games this season.
Fulham defended well from the start of the game. Senderos stuck to RVP and rarely gave him any sniff on goal. We had to use the wings and while Walcott was having a good game, Arshavin struggled.
We had a couple of good chances early in the game, both of which fell to Ramsey, another player who’s had better games. He forced a wonderful save from Schwarzer for the first but couldn’t hit the target for the second.
That was as close as we came in the first half. We were a tad slow and struggled to get into rhythm.
The half time break did not change much, Fulham defended, we could not break them down. We enjoyed possession though and looked more likely to go ahead than behind. Van Persie even had a shot cleared off the line by a defender!
Football is one helluva crazy game though. Danny Murphy’s delightful chip found Arne Riise in our box, and as he struggled to control the ball, Vermaelen’s interception ended at the back of our net!
We were now staring at a loss and needed something special on a day we have been quite flat. A sense of urgency returned to the game. We pushed players forward and Djourou almost scored from a corner only to be thwarted by Schwarzer.
Diaby, Gervinho, Chamakh came on for Ramsey, Mertesacker and Arshavin. And with just over ten minutes left, Walcott whipped in ANOTHER wonderful cross. It met the head of Vermaelen who took it past the goalkeeper.
We were back level, he had atoned for his mistake at the other end. I still ask myself how he got into that position.
The Arsenal players gave one final push for all 3 points, but it was not to be. One point was all we would get. In his post match interview, Arsene reckoned we showed “exceptional spirit” and I totally agree with him.
This was a game a “normal” team would have lost, but we dug deep and refused to accept defeat. And on a day when we faced a team that defended so deep, we could really do with Gervinho’s trickery and unpredictability from the start.
Arshavin looked really out of sorts, hardly did anything right. Ramsey kept going for difficult options and should have buried at least one of those chances. Diaby gave us a new dimension, good to have him back.
Is it a mere coincidence that the one game in which we did not start our first choice front three is the one we struggled to get a goal? It makes me wonder how we will cope when Gervinho leaves for the AFCON in January.
Chamakh also came on yesterday and for the umpteenth time, he did nothing of note! What happens if RVP isn’t also available in January? We’ll be stuck with a front three that comprises Walcott, Chamakh and Arshavin.
In all, it was not the best of performances but at least we still have our unbeaten run going. Man City visit on Tuesday and we will need to rotate. Don’t let me get ahead of myself again, a preview to that game will be up tomorrow.
Have a great Sunday wherever you read this from.
Would seem one’s complacent by writing off Fulham’s chance before the teams file out for Saturday’s evening kick-off at the Emirates and below is why.
Robin van Persie has a strike ratio of 0.88 goals per game this calendar year for club and country, that is 44 goals in 50 games so far in 2011. A stat bettered only by Cristiano Ronaldo with Lionel Messi in third. Then there’s the 13 league goals he’s scored so far, more than what the entire Fulham team has scored. Only Les Ferdinand with 14 goals after 12 games has a better record in Premier League history.
That’s not all but I’d stop there with the captain and highlight that(largely thanks to his goals) Arsenal have won its last five league matches and 11 of the last 13 matches in all competitions. With Tomas Rosicky likely to return from the thigh strain that kept him from the midweek win over Dortmund, it’s likely for that run to continue. It also gives a pleasant feel knowing we have some real depth in the squad now, and that’s with Bacary Sagna, Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere on the sidelines.
Fulham on their part will be without Steve Sidwell, Stephen Kelly and Damien Duff for the match though with Bobby Zamora and Danny Murphy, the Cottagers can prove a bit stubborn still.
Possible line-up : Szczesny-Koscielny-Mertesacker-Vermaelen-Santos-Arteta,-Song-Ramsey-Gervinho-Walcott-van Persie (c).
I mean, why change a winning team? Coming midweek, we’ve got Etihad boys Manchester City visiting in a League Cup quarter final match and it’s arguable that we should rest the first team regulars. However, I’d like to see the strength of our squad depth in the likes of Park, Arshavin, AOC, Fabianski and co against a City side whose bench is more than capable of being another first team.
As for this weekend, I’m going for a 4-1 win. Got this feeling any of Theo, foreheaded one or Arteta would be among the scorers, also fancy Mertesacker to score his first Arsenal goal. Finally and interestingly, Liverpool host City on Sunday while Newcastle visit Old Trafford. With us just three points off third place, any outcome from these matches would favour us and I’d like to see City lose. Hopefully to start the kind of run dear Chelsea’s going through now. Have a splendid weekend wherever you are, see you in the comments.
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