Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against Fulham

Don’t know about you but I am glad that this season is ending. It’s hard to see a turnaround in the way this current side is playing without a proper break. The summer will be an agonizing period for all of us addicted to the beautiful game and the Arsenal, even more so for those who hate waking up to nonsensical transfer rumours, but it is a necessary evil at this stage. As I think about that I have to salute the fans that will be travelling to Craven Cottage. That kind of support deserves better accolades than anything I can imagine.

I guess some of you must have realized I don’t really have any hopes from this game. Fulham has been a tough place to visit of late and I don’t see that changing on Sunday.

The key battle against Fulham is always in midfield. At the Emirates this season they started off with a conservative approach and held back. This allowed Arsenal to dominate. But once the Gunners scored, Fulham pushed forward and pressed us really well in midfield. Coupled with a simple tactic of hoofing the ball over the top of the central defenders, this was an effective approach to bring the game back to 1-1. Only some magical footwork and finishing from Nasri saved the day for Arsenal.

I expect the hosts to play with an aggressive approach right from the start. On the positive side, that will inevitably leave space behind their defence, something that Arsenal crave for but rarely find. However, in the past the Gunners have struggled to use this space effectively, especially when Cesc has been missing. Theo can be unstoppable in this game if the midfielders show they can hold of pressure and find the right through balls.

Fulham’s attack, like almost all our opponents, will be completely predictable but that hasn’t stopped other teams from scoring and I don’t expect to see a clean sheet from the Gunners in this game either. Long balls around the Left-Back and over the top of the central defenders will lead to goals either from open play or from set-pieces. Won’t it be ironical if Senderos turns out to be the big centre-back who scores against us!

I have said this quite often in the recent past but will repeat it again. Song and Wilshere have to play a lot deeper than they have been playing. In all probability, Fulham will come out to play higher up the pitch but if they don’t then Arsenal have to lure them out. We must not play the sideways passing game in front of the Fulham box.

I also believe Wilshere will need better support from the left sided attacker because he is completely exhausted. Playing Arshavin will be a huge risk as we have seen in the last few games.

The attacking job must be left to RvP, Theo and Ramsey. Wilshere must pull the string from deep. Song should provide cover on the right while a defensive minded player supports the left. If Nasri is fit he would do the job in front of Clichy or Gibbs.

This game can lead to a goal-fest if Arsenal score early, but it could also be a tough midfield battle if Fulham get one in.

The starting line-up is difficult to predict as there are many players who will be undergoing a fitness test.

Szczesny – Sagna, ?, Vermaelen, Gibbs/Clichy – Song, Ramsey, Wilshere/Diaby – Walcott, RvP, Nasri/Arshavin/Bendtner.

It will be nice to finish on a high but I also believe that having expectations in such cases is an open invitation to misery.

19 Responses to Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against Fulham

  1. dutchgunner says:

    my main concern is if we smash fulham in our last game wenger might bust out his old rose tinted shades and have second thoughts about revamping the squad this summer, I really hope thats not that case because we NEED to freshen it up for next season, get rid of the dead weight and bring in a few proper players

  2. andersonaa07 says:

    I’d like to see us start the game the same way we ended the game against Villa tactically. Song in the back with Verm, Ramsey and Wilshere in the midfield, chamakh up front, Van Persie playing behind him Bendtner on the left walcott on the right

    • max says:

      yeah except of nasri instead of bendtner

    • G4L says:

      I agree. But with Song in midfield. Wenger has said on a few occasions Wilshere is tired. It’s best to give him a break. We might pay the price next season if we keep playing him. The idiots in the English set-up won’t leave him out anyways.

      • Miranda says:

        Yes, they’re idiots in the England set-up, and selfish idiots in the case of Pearce who’s only concerned about furthering his own career. But I’m not actually that worried about Wilshere as England will probably go out pretty early anyway – so much for the crap about it being of benefit to Wilshere to play in a team that wins something for a change. In fact, I read somewhere that it’s clubs with South American players who’ll be suffering this summer from player exhaustion. By comparison the under-21s isn’t that strenuous.

      • G4L says:

        I agree U21 might not be that strenuous but Gunners have a horrible recent record with injuries when players don’t get a proper break in the Summer.

  3. alphie says:

    funniest comment i saw all day was: if i hear an arsenal player talk about mental strength one more time i’ll flip mad….

    desi i guess its a game i’d love to see wenger experiment anything although he wont…am not expecting a spectacular perfomance either but i’ll sit there and watch…its all i can do anyway

  4. Miranda says:

    I’m afraid Fulham will be up for it than us – Mark Hughes just loves beating Wenger – and, though City could slip up at Bolton, third isn’t now in our own hands. Under the circumstances and given our feebleness against Villa, I really don’t see us making that much of an effort. Hope I’m wrong, hope we can exploit poor Senderos’s weaknesses.

  5. santori says:

    Last season it was Felipe Melo. Conventional ‘wisdom”s answer to all our problems.

    This season is Sct=ott Parker, Chris Samba and Gary Cahill.

    But whatever happened to Brede Hageland?

    I’ll be on Hageland watch tomorrow. @29 6’4, is he the sh#t brick house we need to plug the gap at the back?

  6. santori says:

    1)Vermaelen/Djourou if possible. Would like to see how the choice pair do. It will give us indication as to what we need to reinforce at the back.

    2)Song to start but I’d like to see how Koscielny does as cover (maybe with Diaby). Again, it will give us indication of what we may need in DM.

    3)Like to see us play 4-4-1-1 if we are still at deadlock (god forbid behind) with 4-3-3. Maybe have Chamakh start with RVP behind and then Bendtner with Arsharvin. Again, might give us an idea of alternative systems and what we may need if Fab leaves.

  7. Miranda says:

    According to the Guardian, Clichy, Nasri, Kos, Djourou and Diaby are all doubtful. Also from the Guardian some cheering match pointers:

    1. We usually score 4 in the last game of the season.

    2. Van P has scored more goals this season than the entire Blackburn squad put together.

    • G4L says:

      Are you sure point 2 is correct?

      We did put 4 past Fulham in the last game but I think that was year before last. Usually those are home games.

    • santori says:

      RVP, considering he’s only played half a season, he is a 20 goal a season striker.

    • G4L says:

      Just checked it. It’s goals in 2011 not the season, which makes sense because Robin has played most of his football after Christmas. Still a staggering statistic. Glad Wenger didn’t listen to some fools and sell the glass-man!

  8. Phil23 says:

    This is the kind of game when a second more defensive midfielder would thrive. Jack

  9. Phil23 says:

    This is the kind of game when a second defensive midfielder would thrive. Jack should not be playing in this game. I’d prefer to see Diaby in there if he is fit. I agree that the attacking should be left up to the top 4 players in a match like this. Ramsey should really be committed to attack as well. I wonder if we will see Bendtner for the last time? Most likely as a substitute. Lets sign off with a win as it sets a slightly better vibe for what could be next season. I dont think the result will change the signings situation. We will get 2 or three and lose some deadwood. I expect to keep Nasri, Arshavin and Fabregas. Arshavin would surely be a very important impact player as he can always change a game. Nasri will hopefully add to his consistency more and he will be world class. Fabregas just needs to avoid injuries, in fact so does Nasri, Walcott, Van Persie, Song, Diaby and Vermaelen!

  10. Bergkamp10 says:

    Hey Fellas, anyone know where on the internet i could find delayed coverage for this afternoon’s game??

  11. Phil23 says:

    When’s the post match Desi? Waiting anxiously. = P

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