How will Arsenal line up against Fulham?

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Sparta PragueArsenal draw Sparta Prague

The Champions League qualifying draw took place yesterday and predictably, Arsenal were handed a tough draw against Czech champions Sparta Prague. Arsenal will play the first leg away in the Czech Republic on August 14 or 15 before returning to the Emirates Stadium for the home leg on August 28 or 29. Arsenal’s club secretary David Miles did mention that the club were reasonably happy with the draw:

‘I think we will be pleased with that, we have played Sparta Prague four times in the last six years in the group stages of the Champions League and are very much looking forward to the trip to Prague.”

I know it’s the Champions League and there are no easy games but when you look at some of the other ties that were drawn it’s easy to feel a little hard done by. I mean, FC Zurich v FC Sheriff/Besiktas for goodness sakes. The key advantage that Arsenal have – as mentioned by Miles – is that there will be no surprises when the two teams meet. Arsenal have played the Czech champions on numerous occasions and should get past them comfortably. It was nice to see Liverpool get a tough draw as well against French side Toulouse. Wouldn’t it be funny to see them slip up after all the money they’ve spent?

Adebayor will be on the sidelines for a little while longerAdebayor to miss season opener

Arsenal’s medical staff have some more explaining to do after Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger revealed that the club’s Togolese striker Emmanuel Adebayor will miss the start of the Premiership season because of the groin injury he picked up during pre-season training in Austria. Wenger conceded that Adebayor will not be featuring in the Amsterdam Tournament and won’t return to training until next week, ruling him out of Arsenal’s first Premier League match against Fulham:

“Adebayor has a groin problem. He missed the Emirates Cup and will miss the Ajax Tournament. At best he will be back next week. We hope he can come back in to normal training on Tuesday and Wednesday. But I think he will miss the start of the Premiership.”

In the short term, the injury is no problem. Young Dane Niklas Bendtner has looked impressive in pre-season and could slot into Adebayor’s spot with consumate ease. The same could be said of Eduardo da Silva or even Alexander Hleb, who has been simply brilliant in his more natural support striker role. But it is worrying to see a big player struggling so early in the season after all the problems that Arsenal had with injuries last season. I would hate to see Adebayor fall down the pecking order because of injury after all the hard work he put in last season and hope to see him back in the side quickly.

Arsenal fielded a second-choice team against LazioHow will the team line up against Fulham?

There has been a lot of talk on the blog about what starting line-up Wenger will use for the Arsenal’s opening Premier League game of the season against Fulham. With probable club captain Gilberto Silva still on holiday at that point and the fresh injury to Adebayor the side will have a slightly different feel to it than the first-choice starting team from last season.


Jens Lehmann should start in goal despite Wenger’s continued use of Manuel Almunia and the new signing of Lukasz Fabianski. Recent comments from Fabianski suggest that Lehmann is still first-choice and there’s really no good reason why this shouldn’t be the case at this stage of the season. I’m expecting Arsenal to start with Kolo Toure and William Gallas as the central pair in defence, with Phillipe Senderos just ahead of Johan Djourou as third choice. Bacary Sagna’s impressive performances at right-back should see him get the nod over Justin Hoyte and Emmanuel Eboue, with the latter likely be used further up the field on the right side of midfield. Gael Clichy, who has looked as sharp as anyone so far this pre-season will surely start at left-back.


There’s little doubt that Cesc Fabregas will start in the centre of the park but with Gilberto away the question is about over who will partner him. My personal preference would be Abou Diaby, who was absolutely outstanding against PSG in the Emirates Cup when deployed centrally. We haven’t seen him play since that match but I get the feeling that Wenger will be starting him alongside Fabregas against Ajax as practice for the Fulham game. Tomas Rosicky should get the nod on the left side of midfield but may face some competition from Alexander Hleb. As for the right side, it will either be Theo Walcott or converted right-back Eboue. Personally, I am hoping it will be Eboue as his pace has been electric so far in pre-season and Walcott looked a little flat against Lazio after just returning from injury.

Man of the Moment: Alexander HlebAttack

Up front Robin van Persie is a certain starter but the question marks remain over who will line up alongside him. As I mentioned previously, Eduardo and Bendtner have looked promising but I just get the feeling that it will be Alexander Hleb who starts ahead of them in a support striker role. Anyone who has watched Hleb this pre-season will know that he has looked remarkable in his natural position and his experience at the top level should give him the nod over the other two.

I’m sure we will have an even better idea of the team after the match against Ajax which takes place later today. Wenger played a virtual second-string side against Lazio and is likely to put out a much stronger team against the tournament hosts. To be honest, I’m excited about watching Hleb play again. His performances have been a breath of fresh air and I can’t get enough of him – although that may have something to do with him consistently ripping apart my friend’s Manchester United team in Pro Evolution 5 last night. Five goals and four “Star Man” awards from six games means he deserves a little favouritism from me. After all, who needs Thierry Henry when you’ve got “Super Hleb”?

What do you think?

Have your say on Sparta Prague, Adebayor or Arsenal’s starting team by leaving a comment.


27 thoughts on “How will Arsenal line up against Fulham?

  1. Against Ajax I would like to see Sagna-Eboe partnership and Hleb behind RvP to make sure it could work when season starts.

    Rosicky is in pretty bad form, aswell Fabregas. We need to work on that before season starts.

  2. I wouldn’t say Fabregas is in bad form but I do agree that Rosicky as well as Walcott are looking a little flat. Rosicky needs to stay clear of those niggling injuries that ruined his form last season if he is to have a great season this time around.

  3. With Gilberto not around, i feel its better to play a 4-5-1 with RvP dropping to the left wing. On right Wing we can play Eboue and in the centre we can have Diaby, Cesc and Hleb. And Eduardo can play upfront with Hleb just behind him. If we play 4-4-2 with Diaby and Cesc, we’d be without a proper DMC. But its a home game and i’m pretty sure Wenger will put out a 4-4-2.

  4. SF I’m okay with your selection except that I’ll prefer Hleb to the left instead of Rosicky with Dudu partnering RVP in a 4-4-2 formation as we need to score to build confidence. Well I believe ADE’s position is currently under threat in the perking order. If the development of Bendtner continues as his finishing seems to be better than ADE then I won’t be surprised to see Bendtner coming in often and even starting some games. This ‘cos AW has said that no position is settled and that each player should fight for his place.

  5. Nick: Is you kerazy? To start Van Persie anywhere but up front is ludicrous. Dude is something special in front of goal, don’t take that away from him – wait for a new winger to be signed.

  6. For the start of the season probably Adebayor as his game complements Robin Van Persie’s better.I dont think anyone can guess,but with Hleb in the middle will be what we start with this season.
    At the moment,I would like to see a 4-3-3 to get the best out of players like Hleb and Rosicky.
    Eboue Toure Gallas Clichy
    Fabragas Diaby/Gilberto Rosicky
    Robin Van Persie Eduardo Hleb.

  7. We shouldn’t be too defensive when against weak team like Fullham. We need to kick start the season with flying colour. Anything other than 3 points is seem as failure to me, whether we win it beautiful and ugly. We need to build up the initial momentum and get the habbit of winning against weak team. The main reason we were unable to challenge ManUSA and Chelski last season was we unable to get 3 points from weak and even doubled by relegation threatened WHU. In contrast we doubled ManUSA-The Champion! So

  8. If Arsenal buy Quaresma to join Robin Van Persie I’m sure we are gonna win the premiership just look at our squad.We have very impressive youngsters who all have great potential.
    Arsenal for the premiership!

  9. Samuel, I know its criminal to play him on wings when he has got a cool finishing. And i didnt mean he needs to stay there for all 90 mins. He can and he will definitely be in the box to finish things even if he plays on the wings. Remember our match at highbury against chelsea which we lost 2-0. We had a disallowed goal and that was by RvP and that day he was pretty much around the box even though he started on the wings.

  10. RVP nowhere but upfront, this man is going to be our main source of goals so startimng him anywhere else is ludicrus. Fabregas is his usual self which is why he will be once again the heart of the arsenal midfield, i would like to see Da Silva start, give him some confidence, i also think he will be big for us this season.


    Sagna – Toure – Gallas – Clichy

    Rosicky – Fabregas – Flamini


    Da Silva – Van Persie

  11. Great game,especially second haif,but bad news,Van Persie fresh after scoring the late winner was clattered and went off on a stretcher,must be a big doubt to face Fulham next weekend.
    Arsenal 1-Ajax -0

  12. Can someone plaese tell me about our star striker. Is he badly injured. I must say tho, he did it agen 85th min against Inter 2 win the Emirates Cup and 87th min 2 win amsterdam tournament. When RVP is playin the game is not ova til the ref blows 4 full time.

  13. I thought it was very hyper and physical for a friendly but also a very entertaining game. Arsenal and Ajax were both testing the keepers and RVP broke the deadlock but is RVP ok or not, im confused and worried?

  14. if you go to the video section of and watch wenger’s comments, van persie is thought to be ok.

  15. I’m happy for Van persie, he seems to be capable of scoring 22-25 goals for us and he’s showing signs of leadership as well. His dig at Freddie was ‘great’. He described Freddie’s lies as the basis for leaving the club as weak. I liked that; nobody leave Arsenal and performs better. Cashley was a flop in the Community Shield match and might not be the same again. I’m predicting that Freddie will also fail at West Ham.

  16. personally, as a manu fan i think all the arsenal team are shite and that they wont cum anywheere near manu. manu will be champions, F.A cup winners, champs league winners n will win the carling cup with their reserve team! but atlkeast arsenal will beat liverpool coz der shite! gerrard is a twat pass the word on!!!!

  17. Hleb must have improved some from last year, as he was so frustrating when he got near the penalty box. I hope the above comments are right but I feel he is goal shy. If we got a player to stand at the back of our opponents nets Hleb could pass the ball to him. Thats the only way he will score. I hope I am wrong. We need a good win over Fulham who are a mid table team

  18. I’d like to see Sagna introduced to the team and Eboue pushed up..
    I don’t think Bednter will play this game, maybe sub, but Da Silva will maybe get a start..
    What I predict will be a 4-3-1-1-1 formation:
    Sagna – Gallas(c) – Toure – Clichy
    Eboue – Diaby – Rosicky
    Van Persie

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