What can we expect?
Fulham or the pirated version of the Northern Ireland national team have done some heavy spending by the Cottagers’ standards. But was the money spent wisely? Well, I have never seen some of them play since players like Cook, Healy etc. have come from lower divisions.
Lawrie Sanchez has been quoted as saying he will play 4-4-2 but I really doubt he would be so adventurous first day of a new season away at Emirates. I expect a hardworking 4-5-1 formation with long balls being peppered to Brian McBride or Kamara whosoever plays. Lawrie Sanchez loves playing long ball and physical football but ironically some of the players in Arsenal may give a more physical game. Christanval, Zat Knight, Konchesky and Hughes should be the back four with lack of pace being their biggest problem.
A hardworking midfield of Diop, Bullard, Davis in the centre with Davis and Volz in the wings might try to crowd us out. But I really do not see a physical presence barring Diop in this midfiels. Also, the Northern Irish Davis may be used as a playmaker with Lawrie being a self confessed fan of this dimunitive midfielder. McBride may be asked to plough it alone at the top with probably Kamara being brought in later.
Hardly any. Volz may come steaming down the right flank but Clichy is more than upto it. If Fulham actually play two strikers, I suppose they may be more of a threat in the air. Playing Senderos to mark McBride may be a good idea. But I doubt, we will.
Arsenal- What do we do?
I am still not sure if we would play 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 tomorrow. I would wish to see the former but the first game of the season means we may see the latter. Most of the team picks itself. The back four that played through the friendlies with Rosicky, Fabregas and Eboue being certainties in the midfield. Van Persie would be playing as atleast one of the strikers. So it comes down to who would be playing the Gilberto’s role? And would we have Eduardo as a second striker or Hleb playing just behind Persie?
I hope we see Diaby playing in Gilberto’s role. If we play either of Flamini or Denilson, the midfield would be too light weight in a 4-4-2, thus forcing us into a 4-4-1-1. I expect a 4-4-1-1 even with Diaby because of a news of slight niggle that Eduardo has. Also, an injury to Eduardo in the game can be disastrous for our CL game. Also, the fact that with Ade’s injury, we dont have any decent strikers to come of the bench may mean a 4-4-1-1.
The main threat should be Van Persie and Eboue, considering the pace or the lack of it that Fulham possess. Dont expect much of a threat from the wings from Fulham. Looking at the number of the strikers, they bought recently Lawrie may be serious about a 4-4-2. This should make things easier. A simple 2-0 with 2 million chances for Arsenal.