Jack Stroudley looks ahead to our second London derby of the season.
It’s not been a great week for Fulham; an awful performance at home to Brentford, followed by Mitrovic’s departure has certainly dampened the mood around the club. Add in the fact we haven’t recruited more players and we now head to the Emirates to take on Arsenal, surely it can’t get any worse? I quite like to get these fixtures out the way and while our squad isn’t fully complete getting a ‘free hit’ isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But can Fulham get anything from this game?
Arsenal come into this game off the back of two consecutive victories against Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace, and have added the likes of Declan Rice and Kai Havertz to an already immense looking squad. Arsenal will be without Takehiro Tomiyasu and new signing Jurrien Timber for this game so will be slightly weaker defensively. The Gunners have won both games narrowly and shown some defensive frailties during those two fixtures which Fulham could exploit.
How do we prepare?
It’s not going to be easy but we’ve got to give it a go right? Here’s how I’d line-up.
I would make three changes from the Brentford game starting in defence with Calvin Bassey. Albeit stupid, Ream is now suspended following his red card against Brentford and Marco Silva stated in his press conference that the Nigerian international will start on Saturday. Elsewhere, Joao Palhinha has to come in. Lukic has been good but Arsenal are going to bombard us with attack after attack and Palhinha’s tough tackling could be the difference in nicking an unlikely point.
The third and final change comes in attack with Carlos Vinicius coming in for Raul Jimenez. I want to give Jimenez a chance but he was extremely poor last week, losing the ball 17 times and winning just two of his nine aerial duels. I think Vinicius deserves a shot; he was decent enough in the back end of last season and proved that he could score a goal against the big sides. I would’ve also brought Willian in for De Cordova-Reid as his technical ability could’ve been crucial on the counter but Marco Silva has claimed the Brazilian is a doubt.
I’m glad we’re getting this one out the way and while Arsenal haven’t been majorly convincing so far, I’m struggling to see how Fulham get anything out of this one. No Willian/a proven goal-scorer will leave Fulham weak in that final third and I think the Arsenal onslaught will just be too much for us.