Archive for September 26th, 2009

Fulham Preview: The team I’d pick today + Vermaelen chant

Add comment September 26th, 2009

My line-up to face FulhamLast year we had two horrible games against Fulham: one a gut-wrenching defeat, the other the dullest of draws.

Today is as much about eradicating those memories as it is about continuing to pick up points against, with respect, the league’s lesser lights.

Manuel Almunia is still out, and I am sure that in his absence Arsene will plump for the marginally more experienced Vito Mannone rather than Woijcech Szczesny (I just typed that without checking the spelling, so apologies if it’s all over the place).

The back four is starting to have a pleasing regularity about it, whilst I think Song and Fabregas are similarly likely to be constants in the midfield three.  As the third man in that central trio, I’ve opted for Tomas Rosicky, whose return to fitness has been one of the early highlights of the season.

Upfront, I’ve picked the three players I believe to be our most technically gifted forwards: Eduardo, Van Persie, and the returning Andrey Arshavin.  Whilst it’s not a set of attackers that possesses blistering pace, the combination of craft and finishing power could be lethal.

Note: this is my team, and I’m not that confident that Arsene will replicate it.  Fulham provide a set-piece threat (as we found out to our cost last season), so the manager will most likely draft in the likes of Abou Diaby and Nicklas Bendtner to combat that.  Whilst that would be a sensible call, I’m not exaggerating when I suggest that the line-up you see above ought to be able to play its way past teams regardless of their height.

Theo Walcott could be in the squad for the first time this season, and it’ll be interesting to see how he adapts to the 4-3-3 system: a formation which, on paper, ought to suit his game far better.

Robin van Persie has been writing headlines all over the press this morning after confessing he occasionally exaggerates fouls to make them clear to the referee.  He’ll probably be castigated for his cynicism when perhaps he ought to be rewarded for his honesty.

Now for two men we hopefully won’t see too much of in the headlines in the coming weeks: Emmanuel Adebayor, dismissed superbly by Van Persie here; and Marouane Chamakh, who Arsene insists is no longer a target.

Right, time to settle down into the pre-match routine.  Just before I go, a very happy birthday to Arseblogger, and a merry boilking to him too.

ps. For those going to the game today, this Vermaelen chant (to the tune of ‘Oh my darling Clementine’) is sweeping North London:

“Tom Vermaelen,
Tom Vermaelen,
Tom Vermaelen, number 5
Tom Vermaelen,
Tom Vermaelen,
Tom Vermaelen, number 5”

See if we can get it going today.  He’s a player that deserves recognition from the fans – it’ll be interesting to see how his performance compares with rumoured former transfer target Brede Hangeland…

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