As a CL birth is now almost secure it becomes important that Arsenal keep winning and putting in good performances. They are a young team and still lacking self confidence so they have to prove to themselves really that they can beat teams such as Fulham. Especially at the Emirates where a lot of points have been dropped against middle and lower table teams this season.
We still believe that a 4 5 1 formation should be continued even for a game that looks like to most punters a home banker. There are two reasons for this.
Firstly we don’t think it is a foregone conclusion, as Fulham will be playing under a new manager and experience shows that players respond to a new coach; and this manifests itself in the first few games. So we should be expecting a strong spirited performance from the Cottagers.
Secondly, as we have argued before, a 4 5 1 formation suits Arsenal better with the current players at Wenger's disposal. Yes we know that Baptista could play up front with Adebayor but we do not consider the Beast a good enough player to put on the red jersey as those of you who are regular visitors to the site will know by now! And even if Ljumberg had been available for today's game still we would not be advocating his inclusion in the starting eleven!
Unless Wenger wants to try a youngster from the reserves we would like to see Aliadere given a try in the wide midfield position (where Rosicky would have played). Aliadere we believe has the skills and pace required to play in this position. Wenger’s insistence in playing him through the middle has contributed to his ineffectiveness this season and to calls for him to be sold. We think he may surprise a few people.
Fulham are likely to play with one player up front, adopt a defensive formation and try and nick a goal from dead ball situations. So Arsenal’s defence will have to be at their best in defending under these conditions. On the other hand we consider Rosicky’s absence an important loss for Arsenal but if the rest show enough determination in front of goal then he should not be missed.