Ask the Oppo: Zamora to punish the Gunners!

PGL: Hard to believe it’s the last day of February and we’re sitting in fifth. It goes with out saying that every game is must win and the news that Diaby is available for today’s fixture certainly puts a different face on what I expect from the game. More of the same from Wednesday please Mr. Diaby and we should be on track. This week I’ve been back in touch with Rich from to get the view from the Cottage.
PGL:  So what’s been going on at Fulham since we last met?
Rich: We’re a good team.  Hard to beat (but not hard to draw with) away, invincible at home, so yes, this is a proper team now.
PGL: We’re you sad to see Jimmy Bullard leave the club?
Rich: Not in the end, no.  He made an idiot of himself with all this talk of going on strike, and in the end ran off for the money.  Hull City indeed.   And, not unexpectedly, the team has stepped it up in his absence.  We’ve got the old Simon Davies back, Clint Dempsey is doing a fine job on the left, Danny Murphy is on fire in Bullard’s old role, and Dickson Etuhu is impressing us all.  So while we lack a bit of depth, we don’t miss him.
PGL: Zamora scored his 4th of the season for you v Swansea. Have you been
disappointed in him this season?
Rich: Yes and no.  He’s generally played very well for us, but as a forward you do need to score sometimes, and this is where he was lacking.   A lot of chances have come and gone over the course of the year, and sometimes you wonder if it’s not just a mental thing with him, but he’s got 2 in 2 now and we’re all hopeful that he can go into a bit of a purple patch to close out the season.   The other thing to note is that we’re set up quite  defensively, particularly away from home, so perhaps our forwards are better than they might look.
PGL: What has Dacourt brought to your side?
Rich: Depth and experience.  He’ll do a job here and there, but picked up an injury against Swansea so may not be fit for the weekend.
PGL: Has Arsenal’s form (or lack of it) surprised you this year?
Rich: Slightly, although it’s not that bad is it?  All teams will have their ups and downs and I’m sure you’ll come again.  What does surprise me is some of the negativity I’ve read about your players, especially Adebayor.  Not having seen him first hand much I’m in no position to comment really, but I do wonder if some of your fans appreciate how lucky they are with some of the players you have.   The game’s getting very defensive now and only the very best forwards can consistently dominate teams for weeks on end.
PGL: Which Fulham player will threaten our five-game run of clean sheets?
Rich: Ha!  Zamora!   We usually go for a 0-0 away so it could be cagey. Watch for Dempsey from set pieces and for Johnson on the break.
PGL: RVP has been on fire for us lately, how will Hangeland & Co handle him?
Rich: He’s the big threat isn’t he?  I can still picture him peppering the advertising hoardings at the cottage earlier in the year with shots pinged in from around the D.  I don’t know that our defenders are good enough to stop him shooting, so again I guess it’ll be a question of whether his radar’s working.   I worry about Nasri too, who I think is a terrific player who will only get better.  He and Arshavin could tie us in knots if we’re not careful.
PGL: Arsenal have been recently frustrated by sides who put ten men behind the ball, will this be a tactic Hodgson will employ?
Rich: It might look like this, but not really.  Away from home we simply don’t commit many players to attack, so you’ll probably see the back four being conservative, Etuhu and Murphy sitting deep, and Davies and Dempsey tucking in from the wings to stiffen our defence.  Added to that, Johnson sometimes drops back into our half too.  So yeah, we will defend.
PGL: And finally, what’s your prediction for the game?
Rich: 0-0 seems likely. I am going to put money on an away win, 1-0 Zamora
just because it seems like the sort of thing that might happen, but
realistically we’ll probably lose a close game.
PGL: So that’s the view from the Cottage. “I do wonder if some of your fans appreciate how lucky they are with some of the players you have.” Interesting to see the outsider view of us Gooners this season. Take note of Rich’s words Insiders and don’t forget how great it is to follow this football club!
As for the result today, I can’t even think about anything but three points. Villa face a Stoke side that struggle away from home so I can see Martin O’Neill’s men collecting the maximum from that game so anything but a win today would effectively consign us to 5th. I’m going to stick my neck out and predict a 2-1 win!
Remember insiders that…

Fulham can stay at the Cottage, Southampton can stay at the Dell,
and as for Tottenham Hotspur, they can go to hell, to hell.
So we’ll drink, drink together, in praise of the AFC
Drink, drink together, in praise of the AFC

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