Finally, we’ve come to the last match of the season. I’m sure everyone of us would still want to be involve until next weekend, which would mean we qualified for the Champions League final, but I’m not quite sure we would’ve deserve that spot. We’ll just have to make do with Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Mark Hughes has steadied the Fulham ship and has got them to 8th place despite Michael Jackson trying to ruin it for him. The statue, not the real person. They are also on course to qualify for Europa League via the Fair Play table. They are currently 2nd in that table but the teams around them have already qualified for Europe, hence they will given a spot should they retain their standings. All they need to do is to make sure that they don’t get any sending off or collect too many yellow cards against Arsenal and they will get their spot.
That tells me that Hughes could instruct his players to stay on their feet and avoid courting the referee’s attention. In a way, that should allow us to play our own game without worrying too much that Fulham will get too physical with us. Apart from Simon Davies, Damien Duff and Diomansy Kamara, Huhges has a healthy squad to choose from. There might even be a spot for ex Gunners, Philippe Senderos and Steve Sidwell.
Now, I’m not ashamed to say that I love Senderos. The Swiss international joined us at a very young age from Servette and has played over a 100 games for us. He was part of the legendary record breaking defence which took us all the way to the 2006 Champions League final. His career suffered mainly through injuries but partly because of his lost duels with Didier Drogba. Best of luck to him in his career, just not this game.
As for us, Arsene Wenger has said that we will be without Cesc Fabregas but will give late fitness test to Abou Diaby, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy. If my assumptions are correct, then it means that Johan Djourou and Laurent Koscielny is back available for this game. Who Wenger chooses to be his centrebacks remained to be seen. Does he give another 90 minutes to Thomas Vermaelen or will he stick with the tried and tested formula of this season? I’m going for the latter, which could mean that we will see the below line-up;
Until mathematically proven, we are still in the running to finish 3rd which ensures an automatic qualification to the Champions League. All it needs is for us to win and Manchester City not to win at Bolton. I’m still hopeful that Owen Coyle do us a favour. That being said, we can only do our part and that is to win.
If we take into account what Wenger said here, then the players could be motivated to put in a performance. It sounded very much to me like a challenge thrown by the manager to his players, to play for their spot in the team. How much a difference 90 minutes could make to any decision is questionable. I’m sure Wenger and his coaching staff has already come to a few conclusion without this match being any telling factor.
I don’t think there is any special need to talk about tactics that could be employed by either side for today’s match. We’ve seen Arsenal play superbly to beat the best teams in the world and we’ve seen them crumbled against lesser opponents. If the former shows up today, then Fulham will be beaten. One last hurrah and a win for the team could send the supporters away for the summer break with a least a few smiles.
For the last time this season, Come On You Gunnerssssssss!!!!!