So, a couple of wins to kick off the season and you can’t really ask for more. No one really had a bad game against West Brom (apart from maybe Bendtner, who besides being loosely involved in the goal did nothing else of note in the game). It was good to see Nasri get on the score sheet and give a good performance, he looks like he’ll settle in quickly. He’s lively, always looking for the ball, not afraid to run at people and had more attempts on goal in 90 minutes than Hleb did all of last season. And scored a third of the goals, too. We were missing two of our more creative attacking players in Fabregas and van Persie and in the circumstances we currently find the squad in the performance was adequate. We’ll improve as the season kicks into gear and our long term injured like Rosicky, Diaby and Eduardo start to return to the squad. Although they’ll probably be swiftly replaced by new long term injuries, or Rosicky and Diaby will walk into each other in a hallway and be out for a year.
I watched Manchester United’s game with interest, because without Ronaldo it looks like they’re going to struggle a little bit in front of goal. It’s not massively significant, but given that they have to play Portsmouth away, Liverpool away and Chelsea away before he returns, we need to be winning these early season games to get an early advantage like we did last season (but with a better ending, preferably) because I can definitely see them dropping points. In the program notes on Saturday, Arsene said that he thinks we’ll win the league this time round if we got into the position we found ourselves in last season again. That’s about as big an if as you’re ever gunna see, but I agree with him. We drew our first away game last season thanks to a massive error from Jens, let’s hope for a better start to our away campaign this time round.
In their current eight season stint in the Premier League, we’ve only failed to beat Fulham twice in thirteen meetings. A 2-1 loss at Craven Cottage the season before last, and a 0-0 draw in 2003. In the six previous away games against Fulham, we’ve scored sixteen goals and conceded three. We comfortably won this fixture 3-0 last season with two first half headers from Adebayor and an icing on the cake finish from Rosicky.
ArsenalFabregas is probably still injured for this game, he might be back by the second leg of the Twente tie, although it doesn’t really seem worth rushing him back for that. Not sure for how long Senderos is expected to be out for, but I doubt he’ll feature. If Toure is fit enough he’ll probably come back into the side, as will van Persie. Alex Song will join the squad after competing in the Olympics with Cameroon. Nasri appears to have got over his thigh injury which ruled him out of playing for France. New signing Mikael Silvestre should take his place on the bench. Armand Traore has gone to Portsmouth on loan.
Subs: Fabianski, Djourou, Silvestre, Wilshere, Ramsey, Vela, Bendtner.
Diomansy Kamara and Antti Niemi are out for this game. New signing Andy Johnson was injured for their game against Hull, could possibly be fit for Saturday.