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Arsenal vs. Fulham

Emirates Stadium

12/08/07

12:00

Arsenal V Fulham Preview

The Premiership may be under way after our neighbours were out-played and beaten 1-0 by Relegation candidates Sunderland, but the Premiership season doesn't really start till noon (GMT) on Sunday.

That's right folks, that's when Arsenal kick off their assault on The Premiership against the white half of West London.

It'll be the first competitive game The Gunners have played since the departure of two more invincibles in the form of Thierry Henry and Freddie 'socks in me pants' Ljungberg.

It's been a long 80 days with no competitive football to watch, and watching Spurs play Sunderland was something of an anti-climax, so I'm sure you'll all be even more excited about Sunday's game, just as I am.

Fulham will be no pushover after new manager Lawrie Sanchez added considerably amount to his squad.

Vital Quotes:

In his pre-match press conference Arsene Wenger stressed that the Arsenal are moving into a new era, and that no comparisons (especially Henry - Eduardo) should be made: 'You have to accept that the team will be different and you cannot compare any individual.

'We've had a few good strikers at Arsenal and in 130 years, nobody scored more goals than Thierry Henry so you cannot put that kind of pressure on anybody else.

'So yes we will be a different team. The only thing I can say is that we have a strong belief, a great desire for success, a great togetherness and we are very hungry. And the fact that everyone doubts us reinforces that.'


Lawrie Sanchez was somewhat dismissive of Arsenal's title credentials and I have to say that his reasons are, to be frank, complete boll***s: 'I'm not sure Arsenal can quite bridge the gap between themselves and the top two.

'When you look at the investment made at both Chelsea and Manchester United, and then see the investment Arsenal have made, then I don't think it's going to be enough.'


I don't think I need to make a list of Arsene's bargain buys, do I?

Arsenal Team News:

New boy Eduardo Da Silva will have a fitness test on Saturday on an ankle problem to determine if he can play a part against Fulham. Arsene Wenger says he is likely to be fit.

Bakary Sagna looks set to make his competitive debut against Fulham after an impressive pre-season.

Adebayor will miss out with a groin problem, although he is back in training and could feature in mid-week.

Gilberto is not yet fit. He was given an extended holiday after helping Brazil to the Copa America title.

If Eduardo doesn't make it, Theo Walcott is likely to start up front with Robin Van Persie. The other possibility would be to play Hleb as a second striker, as he did in several pre-season games.

Player to watch: Robin Van Persie

Rockin' Rob has impressed during pre-season, and I think he'll want to show his class in this game more than most.

It's his first chance to show that he is the man to replace the departed Theirry Henry as Arsenal's talismanic striker.

I'm seeing a brace from the Dutchman.

Fulham Team News:

If there's one area of the pitch you want to keep your players fit when coming to Arsenal, it's in defence. Unfortunately for Fulham, they could be missing three. Aaron Hughes is out with an ankle problem, while former Arsenal trialist Philippe Christanval and Ian Pearce are both doubts.

Lee Cook will also miss out with a knee injury. While fellow midfielder Jimmy Bullard is still 8 weeks away from fitness.

Any number of Fulham's 9 new signings could make their debut.

Player to watch: Niemi

The Fulham stopper will have to be in top form to shut out Van Persie and Co.

It's not unusual for 'keepers to play a blinder against Arsenal, so it's a safe bet that he'll have a good game.

Match Facts & Stats

Ref Watch:

Phil Dowd will over see Arsenal's first game of the season. He only ruled over 17 games last season, but still managed to dish out 50 yellow cards and 3 red cards. Only one of those games involved Arsenal, but he still managed to book six Arsenal players. Toure, Henry, Lehmann, Rosicky, Clichy and Fabregas were all handed yellow cards that day.

Match Prediction:

It's always tempting to predict a massacre when you're playing a team such as Fulham on the opening day, but I'm going to have to go for a comfortable 3-1 win. A Van Persie brace and a goal from Theo Walcott to seal it.

Next Fixtures:

Up The Arsenal!




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The Journalist

Writer: Nick Simmonett  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday August 11 2007

Time: 6:27PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Damn It feels good to see the match previews going again! I hadnt thought about Theo partnering RVP if both da Silva and Ade are out but its an intresting option.
gunnerkid107
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11/08/2007 18:43:00

Bendtner??? He is higher up in the pecking order.
Goofle
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11/08/2007 18:55:00

looking at the league table and seeing sp*rs at buttom made me have a girly giggle.
NeoGunner
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11/08/2007 19:18:00

1-0 to fullham, they'll score at the last minute and kill all of your hopes and dreams that you all mouthed off at your rival fans during pre-season. Naaah, just kidding, you ain't gonna do a "spud". lol, 1-0 to arsenal, goal coming from silly willy billy...
k_chelski
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11/08/2007 19:56:00

Well, best of luck to you for tomorrw then.
Blue is the colour
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11/08/2007 20:28:00

Thanks. And I just saw that who Liverpool play on Weds for the CL just beat Lyon! I say we got a really good draw.
gunnerkid107
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11/08/2007 21:05:00

GK I saw that game too I think liverfools will have a dificult 2 leg against them
afghenry
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11/08/2007 22:34:00

If Dudu isnt fit then le Boss will play Bendtner upfront with RVP
afghenry
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11/08/2007 22:36:00

Nah if Dudu is out Hleb will play off of RVP with Theo or Eboue wide right.
iceman10
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11/08/2007 22:52:00

iceman is probs right but i think rvp and theo could work realy well. bur i dont think it willl hapen tomorrow anyway.
ArsenalRob
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11/08/2007 23:52:00

Nah I think if Dudu isnt fit then Hleb will be behind the striker and Rosicky and Eboue will be on the wings,
gunnerkid107
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12/08/2007 00:54:00

It would be interesting to see Theo pair up with RVP. I'd like him to prove me wrong as I keep saying he's not ready to play up front yet, but if he proves me wrong i won't be complaining! But yeah, If Eduardo isnt fit then I think Bendtner will partner RVP up front
itsup4grabsnow
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12/08/2007 02:04:00

I am not interested in the score just a win will do to settle the old nerves. Get the points on the board and build from there. Go you mighty gunners.
alwaysgunner
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12/08/2007 03:08:00

A win is the most important. Beyond that, I really, really, really hope we can keep a clean sheet. So 2:0 would make be really, really, really happy. :) Regarding the second striker off RvP, the pecking order looks to me like Dudu > Hleb > Bendtner > Theo > Rosicky (mainly because of fitness).
Louisa
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12/08/2007 09:14:00

hleb gets the nod...what a delicious looking squad...season on
anonymous
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12/08/2007 11:58:00

a very frustrating 1st half !!
HENRY`14
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12/08/2007 12:56:00

great stuff in the 1st half, no goals in the fulham net, jens lehmann-stuff of a legend, we're down 0-1, familiar pattern?
G4L
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12/08/2007 13:07:00

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!! how many chances!!!??.... that denzel in net!! pfff get one past him Gunners!!
ajwb
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12/08/2007 13:10:00

hope we win this...i dont wanna draw,,,!!
HENRY`14
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12/08/2007 13:24:00

or `gulp`.... lose....
HENRY`14
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12/08/2007 13:36:00

1-1 c`mon lets win it !!!!
HENRY`14
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12/08/2007 13:44:00

KING KOLO!! I LOVE YOU!!
ajwb
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12/08/2007 13:46:00

state on them!!! runnin' off with ball defo needs slap!
ajwb
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12/08/2007 13:47:00

the first of many, RvP, now please get the second of many...
JakeB
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12/08/2007 13:47:00

hleb !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
HENRY`14
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12/08/2007 13:51:00

Hlebster!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
ajwb
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12/08/2007 13:52:00

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS ***** YEAH
AB_Arsenal
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12/08/2007 13:53:00

i personally dont like the term "comeback kings" but i think its gonna stick
Spartan Gooner
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12/08/2007 13:53:00

YES!!! hello by the way, first time actually posting :)
YankeeDeuce
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12/08/2007 13:53:00

Alex HLEB!!! KISS MY ARSENAL HATERS!
G4L
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12/08/2007 13:54:00

keep our heads now,nothin stupid ( jens!!)
ajwb
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12/08/2007 13:54:00

Yes!!!!!! Bring it all on
ajwb
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12/08/2007 13:58:00

Man im losing years off my life watching arsenal.....but man what a game and good on Fulham for playing some good football.
AB_Arsenal
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12/08/2007 13:59:00

gr8 game... good to have ALL 3 POINTS !!!
HENRY`14
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12/08/2007 14:00:00

wohooooo men ive been shaking for 90 mins. great win we should have destroyed them 5-0 HLEBBBBB thats 2 for the seasonishh from him
anonymous
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12/08/2007 14:02:00

Arsenal 2-1 Fulham RVP PENALTY and HLEB GENIUS!!!!! YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS~!!!
stukazufuss
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12/08/2007 14:05:00

God I love my team you bloody blood beauties go you mighty gunners
alwaysgunner
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12/08/2007 14:07:00

done it again! im glad it was hleb and rvp to score today both need some goals this season.
ArsenalRob
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12/08/2007 14:10:00

I've just aged about 5 years, we would have in all likelihood drawn this last season, we are showing FIGHT beyond our years and Brum have just equalised against the chavs!, UP THE ARSERNAL!!!!!!!!
nikolaijns
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12/08/2007 14:10:00

i know we were always expectin a win before match but havin three points feels so good today! and when you look at other teams there isnt a single one which we cant beat. not saying we will win evry one but we can! exciting times....
ArsenalRob
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12/08/2007 14:14:00

My life got reduced at least a couple of yrs today..Grt win gooners. Lets gets this show on road properly.
questforavalon
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12/08/2007 14:18:00

The defining movement was King Kolo running that solo run. That is the stuff of the legends. Like the late lung bursting run from clichy in Amsterdam. This my friends is the watershed year for the new era :) Makes me wonder what really happened between the Kolo's intro into Arsenal Supporter's club as captain and the time when Gallas was named. Kolo will definitely show everyone this season. The squad looks a little thin. And I really like Nicky since he seems to give us options. And Hleb, what a game!! In the ideal world he would get play the striker in the hole role that he played today every match.
questforavalon
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12/08/2007 14:18:00

Hleb had a great game. Cesc looks a touch off the pace, he held the ball to long at times.RVP is not quite ready. Sagna and Clichy had great games. Jens needs to shout at the defense more and come for the ball when needed. I thought we looked a different team once Nic came on. He put himself about and once he was there I knew would score. I am not sure if Eboue or Walcott are the deal on the right, Theo is really light weight and needs to push himself more and Eboue really faded in the second half. Good comeback though, we would have lost this one last year. Gooners Gooners
themadafrican
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12/08/2007 14:20:00

I think this game is evidence that Eboue cannot play right wing. He looked out of place, literally at times. It wasn't the best performance to be honest.. to similar to the way we played last year.. the great improvement was the fact that we shot more. There is a blatant lack of width on both sides and we desperately need to sign couple of attacking players.. our defending was patchy too.. considering we were behind for large parts of the game, I'm glad about the result but too many concerns at the end of it.
arsenalrulz4ever
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12/08/2007 14:58:00

i personally think eboue was pretty decent....
HENRY`14
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12/08/2007 15:01:00

Altho Hleb had a good game.. I do think he is too lightweight to play behind the forward.. The big teams could well destroy him.. it is a worry. Bendtner was brilliant for whatever time he was on.. Clichy was good.. not to mention Lehmann was far too circumspect. A win is a win tho! I hate to keep on sayin that we cudve scored 5.. wen are we actually going to convert chances?
arsenalrulz4ever
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12/08/2007 15:01:00

You gotta give their keeper some credit...
k_chelski
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12/08/2007 15:07:00

agreed ,,,their keeper was brilliant !
HENRY`14
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12/08/2007 15:09:00

i thought eboue was good on the right...he did fade away though but you could see the potential with a few games and hleb looks excellent infact i think his lightweight is somewhat of an advantage coz he turns on a dime and picks up pace quite well. id love to see more of nicklas
anonymous
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12/08/2007 15:10:00

Hleb man of the match Ebue didnt do his best,and bendtner was ******** good he should have come on earlier
afghenry
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12/08/2007 15:12:00

Hleb is not too light, Theo is. Warner did a great job for them in the posts and I thought Davies played well for them. I dont know what it is with Tomas I love the way he plays he just frustrates the crap out of me coz he hardly ever finds the net after getting into great positions. Reading the other blogs, some people are already knocking the team but they forget that there was no Bert, Diaby, Denilson, Dudu, Ade. We would have lost this game last year. The guys showed a lot of spirit even though at times it resembled a frenetic headless chicken, this team has got faith and I tell you what, lets see come Oct, them we will really know how good or bad we are. Personally, I think we are a lot better then we are getting credit for.
themadafrican
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12/08/2007 15:39:00

great result, v.frustrating at times, but why is it that average keepers seem to have a world class performance against us!?
TR7
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12/08/2007 16:06:00

Eboue & Sagna were good down the right. Especially in the first half Eboue got past his man easily enough. Walcott didn't fare anything like as well when he got his chance. We played well today. Take away the nervousness, as a consequence of Jen's stupidity, and later in the game an understandable air of panic and this was a performance to be pleased with.
Amos.
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12/08/2007 17:24:00

I just come back from the game. For the most part I thought it was still last season! I don't think Eboue works as right mid at all. Thought Flamini and Toure were great today, Cesc off the pace. At times our defence was awful. I saw Fabregas having a go at Walcott for not passing the ball and Theo arguing back. Good to see - Walcott needs to start being more aggresive in his play too. I have to say though that there are some Arsenal fans that do nothing but complain - they don't know what being a 'supporter' is.
Gooner_Vin
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12/08/2007 17:26:00

Utd held at home lol, feckin onslaught it was, 0-0 tho
nikolaijns
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12/08/2007 17:58:00

and it was 10 man reading!!
afghenry
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12/08/2007 18:13:00

Amos, I wouldn't agree that it was a good performance, barring the fight we put up later on. This was encapsulated by Fab going to collect the ball out of the net after RVPs penalty, but being delayed by the Fulham boys. Like Niko said though, this was a game we would have drawn last year, and that in itself is great improvement. Overall we played in disjointed fashion though, and Lehman cast an uncertainty that shrouded our back line. Hleb did well - third time lucky after firing straight at the keeper twice previously. At least he had more goes. Other observations: Gilberto's calming influence was missed and midfielders were sometimes given too much space; Fab did look a bit jaded before the goal - anyone else feel this? Sagna is quality - he made just the one mistake, but overall makes you feel confident when he's on the ball. When Bendtner came on, Fulham got nervous at having to deal with him. Flamini, Toure and Clichy - a picture of dedication these boys!!! The match was like to torture to watch, but at least we got the points... together with Spuds being in relegation zone, this is not a bad start!
Andy-bayor
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12/08/2007 18:58:00

I think we played very well in the first half. Take away Jens gift and we were the only team in it. Fulham played a high line in the second half and squeezed our play which became shoddier the longer the game went on. The penalty was a blessing because we were running out of ideas and though it is tempting to think that the long ball strategy towards the end was the sign of team fighting back in reality it was borne more out of a lack of ideas and increasing frustration. The last 20 minutes was when the play was disjointed. We created the better opportunities in this period when we tried to play through them.
Amos.
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12/08/2007 19:25:00

first of all jus relieved that we got the three points......the only diff b/w last season and this season from that game was hleb.....really...he had a blinder today....going past ppl for fun.shud hav got the penalty in the first half........i tot RVP except the spot kick was terrible today.although i would say that it was becuz he was playing on the left..he'd do much better cutting in from the rite.....kolo had a gr8 game exceept fro the one almost fatal mistake...i tot eboue and sagna were brilliant in the first half.if nik had been there im sure...... he'd hav got his head on to one of those crosses......rosicky showed promise but seemed rusty....fab was poor today....too many misplaced passes.....he looked very rusty...flam was brilliant....showed real passion.i tot gallas did a good job as captain....but the dilemma now is wat will our fromation be ....i think we defo need to play RVP and eduardo/ade/nik....and hleb was great in the behind the striker role...i hav the sol......play rvp on the rite....eduardo/ade/nik in the centre.....hleb/rosicky behind him and hleb/rosicky down the left......that is we leave oout eboue.....wat do u guys think
karley
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12/08/2007 20:50:00

It's a shame that with all the corners won today we posed little if no danger from any of them, I know it's nothing new but really no other team pose as little threat from corners as us :(
nikolaijns
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12/08/2007 21:50:00

gotta second that niko...there were times when we were about to take the corner and there were 2 guys in the box it seemed... we're just not comfortable in the air... I have to say though, that we dont even take corners well... most were in the keeper's sweet spot!
Andy-bayor
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12/08/2007 22:37:00

We had so many corners that we got fed up taking them and wanted to get them over with as quickly as possible to get on with the game. We seemed to lack variety in taking them yet had plenty of opportunities to try something different.
Amos.
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13/08/2007 08:08:00

Any reason why Hoyte wasn't even in the squad?
In MON we trust!
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13/08/2007 10:37:00

 

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