Fulham Preview & Sunday Gossip

Arsenal travel to Craven Cottage for the final match of the Premier League season. A win will not guarantee third place, that depends upon events at The Reebok. Victory though might be enough for tomorrow to be less confrontational over where we have been, what we should have done. You know things are bad when someone who apparently hates Wenger supports him.

According to Arsène’s press conference, there will not be many changes to last weekend, with Cesc’s injury ruling out his participation in the upcoming internationals whilst Diaby, Nasri and Clichy all appear to have lost fitness battles. The absence of the latter duo has allowed imaginations to run wild, speculation this morning as to whether or not one or both has played their last game for the club.

Nasri’s public utterances have been positive on his new contract whilst Clichy’s had slipped under the radar until recently, so low key have the negotiations been. A Flamini situation is not going to be allowed to develop according to the club and Wenger admitted that signing Nasri is his first key step this summer.

Not that it will be his only activity,

Of course we have lists. Number one, two, three. We will try to sign them. We will always try to buy at the right price but we will also try to invest.

Well, that is surely what is expected? That said, naysayers will draw on recent signings to point out weaknesses. And invent others. The media it seems, will not let go of the goalkeepers even though most supporters appear to believe it is no longer an issue,

We are happy with our ­goalkeeping situation.  However, we expected central defender Thomas Vermaelen to return from injury in January – and he didn’t play.  If we had known that was going to be the case, maybe we would have done something. But would we have won the league? It is very difficult to say that.

Indeed. There are those who will tell you authoritatively that Wenger knew Vermaelen would not be fit for the season. Of course, they offer no proof of this in the same way that wages are bandied around, becoming received wisdom without evidence to support the supposition.

Back to this afternoon. Fulham are one red card away from missing out on a Europa League spot which begs the question of whether this is going to be a thunderous London derby or played in a long forgotten sense of bonhomie, the typical end of season match? My money is on the latter.

For some it is the prelude to a long summer break. Arsenal’s squad needs a rest. Those that played in the World Cup have suffered according to the manager. This time around there will be no delayed starts for anyone if reports this morning of Wilshere‘s omission from the Under 21 squad are true.

Sadly this is the same organ that believes Barcelona will bid £50m for Cesc. Credibility is a bit of an issue. It will not be enough, Manchester City’s rumoured interest in the player just began the auction at £58m. This has the potential to get into Ronaldo territory, in the media at least, before Arsenal sell him for £25m. Which would fund a new striker. Sow What, I hear you say.

No, it’s true although the papers believe it will be funded by Denilson and Arshavin hopping it. One thing I would ask of all hacks. Stop with the ‘Shock signings‘ or ‘Shock bid’ routines, they are neither. I would prefer you to admit, “I read it in the paper this week“.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. ’til Tomorrow.

216 thoughts on “Fulham Preview & Sunday Gossip

  1. Conférencier says:

    @ dfb 11:06pm

    fair argument but it will be a PR disaster imagine what frenzy ex-players like Perry Groves et al would whip up

  2. dfb says:

    Under-promise, over-deliver. Cracking approach. Works every time. Arsenal does exactly the opposite. Read the player’s statements. Read Arsene’s interviews. Read the board’s comments with respect to transfer funds. Or is that all fiction made up by the anti-Arsenal media conspiracy ?

  3. Anicoll5 says:

    Bring me my bow of burnishd gold
    Bring me my arrows of desire
    Roll on next season – love it

  4. Ateeb says:

    I agree with G4E. Feel the same way. The team and management screwed up big time.

    Passenal,
    If a team collapses because of a couple of games where decisions went against them, that is no justification for the form they carried for the rest of the season. That’s just saying they’re mentally too weak. IF they are we need to change that. And as for going for 4 trophies, well, we didn’t play our main players mostly in the CC and FA cups, did we? We did rotate as much as every other big clubs did. We actually lost to a pathetic Manchester United team, with better players on the pitch. I think, the problem lies both in the starting 11, we need at least one or two players there. And judging from Arsene, the way he used the squad this season, he doesn’t trust the players not in the starting 11, he sparingly used them, rushed back our main players from injury e.t.c. And then the defensive frailties is a completely different problem.

    In my opinion, if we go with the same strike force next season, we won’t win anything again. RVP is class, Bendtner isn’t ready, and Chamakh is decent, but nothing too special I am afraid. And we’re the only top European club without two lethal strikers. That also explains our horrible goals conversion statistic. Won’t happen. Unless Theo can step up. But I doubt that. We have only one winger, and I doubt Arsene would move him to the CF position.

  5. Dexter says:

    Theo hasbeen excellent thisseason. His return both from goals and assists was brilliant too. To say e cannot step up is weird to me. He is a very effective player for us, him and RvP have carried the goal threat fo months now. What wecould do with, is another striker to ease the burden on RvP, Theo is fine playing where he is, in fact he will be even better again next eason.

  6. Anicoll5 says:

    Theo with a football in front of him is a formidable creature – unfortunately he has neither by instinct , training or regular luck the chance to get the object he requires in front of the tools he commands – and five years is a long time

  7. goonzablazin says:

    Theo is effective when the site is counter-attacking or play is spread out across the pitch. He’s useless when we’re trying to break down two rows of four defenders. Nothing against Theo, who is one of my favorite Gunners.
    Which makes me wonder if maybe Arsene needs to totally re-evaluate our tactical setup. Instead of playing possession football, maybe we need to play with 3 holding mids and turn ourselves into a fortress at the back and exploit the lethal counterattacking pace of Theo as a single striker with Robin just behind him. If we lose Fabregas, which I fully expect to happen, Ramsey and Jack might do better in this type of setup than in one where they have to work in tight spaces all the time. Arshavin might do better as well, although his fitness would need to improve. Even Nasri has the speed to exploit defenses in space. I just think a fresh tactical approach is needed and the players might benefit from it. What they’ve been asked to do is causing both the players and the fans to become very frustrated.

  8. goonzablazin says:

    I’ll just add that the approach I’ve suggested will only work if we get a LOT better at defending set pieces. We could use a couple of defenders and a DM with height. Maybe a Fellaini or Hangelaand to anchor us against corners and free kicks.

  9. Goonerton says:

    Anicoll5 | May 23, 2011 at 12:15 am |

    He’s got 13 goals this season and thats after starting well and coming back from injury also being strangely subbed for no reason I could work out when there players out there strolling around.

    One of the sickest sights of the season for me was seeing Theo being subbed for Number 52.

    If some of the other showed some heart we wouldn’t of just made 4th place.
    Piss off with the Theo slating.

  10. Paul N says:

    The question is what makes a team play great at the beginning and then this implosion at the end. Whats even worse is we actually take a break from the poor play, beat United and then go back to the poor ways. That is quite an enigma.
    Its cannot be about talent, there is something else at work and I will leave it to Wenger.
    I still believe the team is good enough but the couldnt get back up from the dissapointments. If they did we would be PL Champs.
    Again, I trust Wenger to get it done. The season is terribly dissapointing but there is just nothing I can do about it but trust it will be rectified.
    I fully expect these players to take a a good hard look at themselves this offseason. Our manager went out on a limb and they havent kept up their end of the bargian.
    I expect a 100% committed team next season. I am sure they are quite ashamed of themselves and know that they must do better.

    Oh well, onto next season.

    Arsenal!

    God bless!

  11. Gunner4Ever says:

    I don’t think we have any problems with goal keepers, we have too good ones in Fabinaski and Wojciech, the problem is the defense and I think our goal keepers really feel “naked” in some games.

    You wouldn’t understand goal keeping until you stand between two posts (8’H x 24’W) then you will know how hard it is to have no defense or a shaky one in front of you.

    Goal Keepers are supposed to be the “Last line of defense” not the only defense.

  12. OneOfUs says:

    I know I’ve been commenting a bit too much recently. Anyway…

    Bendtner’s a funny case. He was ridiculously good in our reserve side and away on loan at Brum, but by the time he got back in 2007 it looked like he’d had a late growth spurt. I think he lost some of his dynamism and that initial burst of pace, and suddenly appeared a bit ungainly. Look at the way he moves in this video from 2006 – it’s like a completely different player. The quality of the opposition has nothing to do with it; there’s a bit of zip missing now:

  13. goonerwife says:

    what good does the gloating do GA? Please gloat to yourself. What do people like you gain for that statement? What is wrong with this dude.

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