Is Fulham a banana skin waiting to happen?

By Avenell Dave

It's typical that Fulham have their best win of the season just before they play against us.

We know from last season that they are capable of making life difficult.

The almost inevitable penalty miss by Mikel Arteta at the end was symptomatic of our season.

If you remember, we were 2-0 up and found ourselves losing with just over 20 minutes to go and to miss a gilt-edged opportunity to take the points felt as bad as a defeat.

Fulham have been dire this season, but to find their form and welcome back Brede Hangeland couldn't have come at a worse time for us.

The Premier League is tighter than a pair of extra small spandex trousers being worn by a sumo.

We all know how imperious City are at the moment and their squad looks so good that for them to NOT win the title would be something of a shock.

But, while in Spain and France, the most impressive squads always win, you only have to look at United's canter to the title last season with a squad that didn't exactly inspire to see how different things are over here.

Arsene Wenger said on Friday that we have to make sure we don't suffer any slip-ups against the lower-placed sides and our record this season against them has been decent.

We have to start beating the top sides to really keep our pursuit of the title going but on Saturday we have to ensure that Fulham's revival doesn't last more than one game.

It feels that we can't expect our rivals to drop any points at present - with Chelsea likely to beat United and City and Liverpool likely to beat Cardiff and Villa unless there is a shock.

We've never ever lost at home to Fulham, but we have drawn at home with them in the past two seasons.

I have this pessimistic feeling that the most likely side to buck the trend is us, so we have to make sure we don't repeat what we did on Monday and let sides back into games where we have been in absolute control.

The worry for now is that we keep losing players in every match.

The likely absence of Tomas Rosicky and Nacho Monreal further stretches a squad that is already struggling to cope - although cope it does - and the fact that we have Fulham and then Coventry could not come at a better time.

Whatever the rumours about Julian Drazler - and whether he will indeed be the next Ronaldo or turn into a Reyes/Nani clone, remains to be seen.

I've heard that Schalke need money and his stock has slumped this season, so selling now may suit all parties, but with Theo Walcott now out, we seriously need some pace and magic to help us break down the very toughest of defences.

With the exception of Serge Gnabry probably continuing instead of giving Lukas Podolski or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain a game, I can't see who else may come in to mix things up.

I'd love the Pod to be given a game upfront but I suspect Wenger will want Giroud to keep playing and hopefully retain his goalscoring touch that had abandoned him before Villa.

I really hope this isn't going to turn into one of those games but with the defence playing as they have done, it gives us a great platform. 

Am I sounding like George Graham?



Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny Gibbs

Flamini Wilshere Cazorla

Gnabry Giroud Ozil