Give respect and take the points at Craven Cottage

Fulham troubled us in both the games last season. They stopped us from playing, hassling every player all over the pitch tirelessly. They also defeated United at home and held Chelsea for a draw losing only to Liverpool in stoppage time. They deserve a lot of respect.

The side they put out might be very similar to the one from last year. We, on the other hand, will have a new formation and more than half the personnel different. The return of Arshavin will certainly give us an edge.

I am really keen to see whether Wenger will go for a more attack minded starting eleven or will he play two defensive midfielders. The other interesting selection will be the choice of the front three. Will RvP get a rest? Will Bendtner make it back to the starting line up? Will Rosicky start?

Personally, I would like to see any 5 out of Cesc, Arshavin, Rosicky, Bendtner, Eduardo and Van Persie start. This line up is strong enough to continue our scoring streak. But for this to happen, either Arshavin or Rosicky will have to start in the central three along with Cesc. That would mean we would have to play Song as the lone DM. I see this as a good opportunity to test how the team plays with only one Defensive minded player in the middle. Fulham are certainly not the most attacking team in the league and if we can’t play them without worrying about our defence then one has to seriously doubt our title credentials.

The back four will pick itself unless Le Boss decides to rotate and plays Gibbs instead of Clichy. In his interview yesterday Arsene was not sure on who the goal keeper will be. I don’t know if he was trying to hint that Szczesny might get a chance. I think it makes more sense to continue with Mannone and let him build some confidence.

Won’t it be a delight if Vermaelen can continue his scoring streak and put one past Schwarzer after beating Hangeland with a giant leap. But I think our biggest threat will come from the speed of our passing and movement. If we are to get three points at Craven Cottage we need a high tempo right from the start. An early goal will force the issue and make the game more open. Far too often in the recent past we tend to leave it late only to suffer from a freakish goal by the opposition.

My ideal starting line up would be


Sagna               Gallas               Vermaelen        Clichy

Rosicky            Song                Cesc

Bendtner          Eduardo           Arshavin

I believe Robin could use a rest. But strange are the ways of Arsene Wenger. Strange but mostly right. So let’s wait and watch. Hoping to see a football feast…

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