19 April 2013

Arsenal vs. Fulham: Starting XI Prediction

We have a tricky one coming up, no doubt about it, but it's one from which we absolutely must take all three. With that in mind, we have to take it to the Cottagers early and often. We have a full eight days after this one to prepare for Man U. I therefore want to see an assertive side named, one that will put
Fulham back on its heels. That demands some speed, clinical shooting, and aggressiveness.

I'm therefore hoping to see Podolski start this time out to see if he and Giroud can continue their symbiosis and for Oxlade-Chamberlain to come on in place of the heretofore ineffectual Walcott (who should perhaps come in at around 60' to see what he can do). Shift Cazorla to a more central role to take advantage of his two-footedness and to see if he can distribute down that right side a little more. With Cazorla starting on the left but tending to drift to a more central role, it might be interesting to see what happens with him starting in that more central role with the option to distribute to either side.

Behind him, the rock-solid tandem of Arteta and Ramsey look set to continue their friendly competition to see who can have the most touches, the highest passing accuracy, and the most tackles. They may not be the most exhilarating of players, prone to staid consistency rather than swash-buckling forays, but the attacking midfielders can more than make up for that.

The backline might see a few changes with Monreal and Jenkinson coming on to spell for Gibbs and Sagna, and Koscielny has earned a rest after having played a full 90' in our last five matches. As long as they mind Berbatov, we should be fine.

Of course Wojciech Szczęsny will be between the sticks, if only because Fabianski's rib injury continues to plague him.

In my previous post, I boldly dubbed Giroud the MOTM as I hope he'll replicate his performance against Fulham the first time 'round. This might be an away-game, but it's ours to win.  Fulham has little to play for other than pride, and ever since Clint Dempsey left, I harbor no sympathy or affection for them. Come on, you Gunners!