Confidence has been restored at the Emirates after Arsenal’s win over Roma but with Denilson playing well and the returning Arshavin providing the dynamism, the Gunners fans go into the game at Fulham with greater optimism.
Arsenal produced a much better performance against Roma than in recent games as the Italians showed a more attacking nature than Arsenal’s previous league opponents as Arsene Wenger switched to a 4-2-3-1 formation. With Nasri behind Van Persie there was greater fluidity, movement and dynamism. The two wide men also meant Arsenal denied Roma from passing the ball out by pressuring early. Against Fulham it is likely to be a defensive affair from the London rivals, looking to break on the counter.
Denilson remains underrated among some Arsenal fans but the Brazilian kept the Gunners ticking alongside Diaby allowing the front men to play with greater freedom. The game could finally become the making of him as he takes greater reign in midfield, demanding the ball and looking to create chances for his teammates.
The one thing that was lacking was the greater decisiveness in the final third, which is done to composure and confidence. Arsenal will have Arshavin back and the Russian is likely to play behind Van Persie if the Wenger decides to stick with a 4-2-3-1 or on the right in a 4-4-2. Either way Arshavin will be key; his dynamism and ability to take on and beat the man key as Fulham defend in a deep compact block. We will probably see greater interchangeability from the front men as Arshavin drifts around the pitch, hopefully dragging defenders out.
Roy Hodgson likes his team to be organised, playing with two banks of four but away he usually deploys a five man midfield. It is unlikely the Fulham manager will be very adventurous with a goalless draw a good result for the club. With Bullard having joined Hull it is not as potent a Fulham as it could be rather the threat coming from the counter attack with the strength of Zamora and the pace of Johnson.
Arsenal Likely Line Up (4-2-3-1 )
Sagna – Gallas – Toure – Clichy
Nasri – Arshavin – Bendtner
Subs from: Fabianski, Djourou, Song, Gibbs, Ramsey, Vela, Eboue
Fulham Likely Line Up (4-4-2)
Pantsil – Hangeland – Hughes – Konchesky
Davies -Murphy (c) – Etuhu – Dempsey
Zamora – A. Johnson
Subs from: Zuberbuhler, Nevland, Kamara, Gray, Stoor, Geraz , Davies, Brown, Smalling, Kallio, Barnes, Dacourt