Saturday, 26 November 2011

Arsenal's Premier League Game With Fulham Previewed

Arsenal take on Fulham today in the Premier League's evening kick off. There are three teams on a great run at the moment in the Premier League, and Arsenal are one of those teams. Their run of five wins in a row might not be as impressive as the runs both Spurs and Machester City are on, but it's no less impressive in my opinion.

Arsenal's home form has been very good so far this season with five wins out of six games, and their only defeat came in their first home game when they went down to 10 men against Liverpool. Since then they have beaten Swansea, Bolton, Sunderland, Stoke and West Brom, and they have scored 12 goals in the process. Their much maligned defence only conceded two goals in those games too which is quite impressive.

They are playing against a team that have struggled away from home in the Premier League in recent seasons, and have failed to score in four of their six away games so far. They did manage one win on their travels, but that was against the bottom club Wigan Athletic. Fulham have rarely managed to get anything out of their trips to Arsenal in the past, and they will struggle to do so today too.

Arsenal beat Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday night to win their Champions League group, and they can now rest some of their more regular players in their final group game away to Olympiacos on December 6th. Those players all played against Dortmund on Wednesday night and away to Norwich in the Premier League last Saturday too, and there is a suggestion that some of them will be rested for today's game. I think it's vital for Arsenal to win this game, and if it means they have to play the same strarting 11 again then so be it.

According to the latest team news there were no new injuries picked up on Wednesday night, and Laurent Koscielny was only withdrawn because of fatigue. The defence looked solid on Wednesday night and against Norwich last Saturday too, with the exception of Per Mertesacker's mistake for the Norwich goal. With so few defensive options available to Arsene Wenger because of injuries I think it's crucial that he keeps some consistency in his defence.

As long as Arsenal continue to approach their games in a professional manner they are good enough to keep winning for the next few games. The trip to Manchester City a week before Christmas will be a much tougher test, but that's for a different day. It is vital that Arsenal reach that game with as many points as possible though.

If Arsenal can make as many chances as they did against Norwich last week I think they will win easily, but I expect Fulham to be a lot tighter at the back. It could take a while for the first goal to arrive, but it's Fulham's reaction to going behind that will decide how many goals Arsenal score. That's assuming that Arsenal score first of course, but even if they don't score first I have faith in their ability to come from behind.

In their last two away games they managed to do so against Norwich and Chelsea, and this team are showing more determination and commitment than Arsenal have done for a few years. The last time Arsenal won six league games in a row was two seasons ago, and that run ended after six games. Arsenal have the capability to go into that game against City on the back of eight wins in a row, and if they do so they are bound to be in the top four.

It's hard to look beyond Robin Van Persie scoring for Arsenal today, but I think somebody else might jusy get a goal as well.It's bout time Theo Walcott got himself a goal, and surely Gervinho must put away one of the many chances that have being coming his way in recent games. I would also love to see Mikael Arteta get one of his free kicks just right, as it's a big part of his game.

Arsenal's two goals against Dortmund were from a cross and a corner, and both Walcott and Gervinho are capable of putting good balls in from wide areas. I know they didn't make the goals on Wednesday night, but it's one more worry for opposing teams if Arsenal are scoring from their crosses.

The form of Alex Song, Laurent Koscielny, Thomas Vermaelen and Mikael Arteta has been excellent in recent weeks, as Arsenal have shown the strength and leadership which was missing too often in the past few seasons. So many players now seem able to step up and take responsibility, and it has to be a great thing for the team as a whole.

Vermaelen has taken to making fast breaks forward when Arsenal attack, and it's no surprise that he has a goal and an assist in Arsenal's last two home games. His goals were missed when he was out for most of last season, as well as his defensive capabilities of course.

With so much going for this Arsenal team I think they will win today's game 3-1, and RVP will continue his incredible scoring form.

Arsenal will know the results of four of the teams ahead of them before they play, and at least one of them will definitely have dropped points. If Newcastle lose against Manchester United, then Arsenal can go ahead of them as their relentless assault continues.

That's it for today.

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Here's a classic goal from Carlos Vela against Fulham a couple of years ago.

See You Tomorrow.

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