Fulham ready for Gunners’ barrage


Meulensteen has been impressed by the Gunners’ consistency as they continue to stay just ahead of Manchester City in the championship race.

“Arsenal have got a very good chance compared to the previous seasons, but Arsenal have got no secrets and they have had no secrets for the last eight years. They play as they play — they won’t change. That is the way they are,” said the ex-Manchester United coach.

“For many seasons they have picked up the accolade of being the team that plays the most beautiful football.

“You know what you are going to be up against — you are going to be up against a very good football team, some very good individuals, but there are no secrets.”

Meulensteen believes this season’s title race is set for an exciting conclusion.

“The reason why Arsenal are very confident at the moment is because they are up there, when in recent seasons they haven’t been,” he said. “Arsenal are at the top, then City are at the top, then Chelsea — it is like a revolving door and they know every game is so important to make sure they stay up there.

“Only time will tell which teams will sustain that. That is why it is going to be one of the most fascinating ends to the season.”

The Cottagers head across to north London on the back of their midweek 3-0 FA Cup third-round replay win over Norwich.

However, Fulham will need to produce a much-improved display from the one they gave last time in the league when Meulensteen’s men were thumped 4-1 at home by fellow relegation-battlers Sunderland.

But he cannot guarantee what Fulham will be able to produce, accepting he is still learning about his team, who he compares to a new set of playing cards.

“And that is the situation you get when you are thrown in and taking over at a club,” said Meulensteen, “because you are playing a deck of cards that is not yours.”

Arsenal manager Wenger wants his team to focus on their own strengths and not get carried away in the hype surrounding City, who are looking to chalk up 100 goals in all competitions this weekend.

“In terms of their resources, no (we cannot compete) because they have unlimited resources. But with our resources available, we are ready to fight,” said Wenger, who indicated he may have now made a decision on whether to extend his contract, with confirmation of an extension expected to follow in the coming weeks.

“What is very interesting is what we want to do and how we want to play. Can we beat these teams? They are top quality, which I acknowledge, but we want to beat them and therefore with our style, we need to get our resources out there in every game to have a chance to do it.”

Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky is set to play in a protective face mask following surgery on a broken nose, but full-back Nacho Monreal (foot) is doubtful.

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