Arsenal vs Fulham preview: Home win and going top + Starting lineup

After qualifying for the Carling Cup semi-final, we are back to Premier League. Today we face Fulham at our home for the first game of December. Having lost the previous two matches at home, we have to produce a win today as we would go top again (Depends on Chelsea’s result against Everton as Man Utd’s game has been postponed).

With no changes to the casualty list, the squad for tomorrow is the same as it was available against Villa.

Based on this, starting eleven that I would like to see is

Probable XI: Fabianski, Sagna, Koscielny, Djourou, Gibbs, Song, Rosicky, Wilshere, Nasri, Chamakh, Arshavin.

With another good performance by Szczesny in the Carling Cup, the situation of our keepers is certainly stable at the moment. Fabianski is also responding well and therefore he is going to start in goal tomorrow as Szczesny needs more games to wrestle the No.1 spot. The same goes for the centre backs. All are almost on the same level so it’s a question of who Arsene picks. I would go with Djourou and Koscielny as they both looked comfortable in the Wigan game although the opposition didn’t trouble us much. Djourou is improving with every match and he offers us more aerially than the other two so for me he must start. On the flanks Sagna to come back to his place and Gibbs to start on the left side. Gibbs had a good game against Wigan and he offers us more going forward. Although at the back he is similar to Clichy but more games will certainly improve his performances.

In the middle I would go with the same three players that started against Villa. Rosicky and Song were rested so they are going to feature tomorrow. The doubt is just of Wilshere’s start as he also played the Wigan game. Wenger might even surprise us and start with Van Persie again in the same role as he started against Wigan. The question is that will Wenger risk him by starting with him two games in a row?

Upfront Chamakh to return to the starting eleven after his rest. Chamakh is doing great and it will be interesting to see if Van Persie starts behind him. He should be partnered by Nasri and Arshavin as both of them were great against Villa and they also were rested during midweek.

The team is pretty much similar to the starting eleven against Villa and hopefully they will perform in the same way with improvement in the defensive department.

Fulham’s season isn’t going well as it should have been with plenty of drawn games. They are a good team and on their day can cause upsets. They are coming into this match on the back of a few injuries to key players. Still they have enough quality to give us a hard time.

We would have to be at our best as we have to start winning games at home. We have to stick to the basics and play our game. Defensively our whole team has to step up a gear. The midfield has to remain close to the defenders when under attack to challenge the second balls as there will be plenty of high balls into our area. The forwards have to combine well with the midfielders to press them effectively so that they can’t play their game. The midfield will need to keep balance as they will be the key in maintaining possession.

I am expecting us to win this but again no score predictions. It will be great if we can score an early goal or two and then go on to keep a clean sheet.

With the all important Champions League game against Partizan coming up, let’s hope none of our players get injured.

p.s. I hope the match isn’t called off due to bad weather.

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