Tonight is another chance for Arsenal to move to the top of league. While it may not be a permanent one considering Manchester United’s game have now been postponed, it will nevertheless put some pressure on the current leader. Chelsea plays at the same time and if they match our result, they will remain ahead of us by virtue of better goal difference.
Fulham are the opponent of the day and I seem to recall a few hard earned victories over them since our move to Ashburton Grove. There’s that comeback in the last 5 minutes in the first game a couple of seasons back. Alexander Hleb’s rare goal illuminated that one. Last season’s away game at Craven Cottage also was a tough one. The solitary Robin Van Persie goal separated both sides.
What makes it tough as ever is when keepers produces man of the match performance. When that involves Fulham, that usually means Mark Schwarzer. He was linked all summer long to a move to Arsenal. Some sources attributes his non movement of clubs due to a price gap between what Arsenal offered and what Fulham wanted. Now that his final big move to a Champions League playing side did not materialise, Schwarzer finally signed a contract extension with the South London club.
Sometimes, players who were closed to a move to a specific club, usually produces the extra mile when given the next chance to play that club. My fear is that the Australian might do just that. Fulham have not exactly reached the same height as when Roy Hodgson was the manager, changing into a draw specialist. They do miss the service of Bobby Zamora who is out with a broken leg or ankle.
Barring the usual suspects, we have everyone whom we expected to have, available. Which means Samir Nasri and Sebastien Squillaci comes back into the side. Here’s how I think we’ll line-up tonight;
Of course RvP played some 70 minutes on Tuesday but I don’t really see him being risked right from the start. Most likely Nasri will drop back into the Fabregas role, giving Theo Walcott a chance to run at Carlos Salcido who is a good defender but not necessary the fastest of players. Marouane Chamakh’s height is needed to give us some aerial power up font against the imposing figure of Brade Hageland.
Our home form has not been spectacular this season and that takes some rectifying. We’ve got to start making it our fortress. Start to strike fear into the opposition even before they stepped onto our hallowed turf. I doubt that our title challenge can endure another home defeat. Let’s be honest. While our away form is the best in the entire league, it would be foolish to expect that to remain that way. At one point or another, we are bound to suffer in our travels and that’s when we need to rely on our home performances. A club as big as Arsenal should always have 3 points banker in any home game.
Come on you Gunners!!!