Fulham manager Chris Coleman sends his team out against champions Arsenal candidly admitting he has not ‘got a trick up his sleeve’ to surprise Arsene Wenger.
Arsenal’s unbeaten run now stands at 44 matches and Coleman realises that no matter what tactics teams employ against the Gunners, Wenger’s men always come out on top.
Heading into the showdown at a sold-out Craven Cottage on the back of two successive defeats, Fulham’s young boss will be relying on grit and determination to give his side a fighting chance.
He said: “They’ve not lost in a long, long time and they are a special team. Everybody’s tried everything and it hasn’t been good enough. If you can’t get revved up playing against a team like that – the best club team in Europe at the minute and the best Premiership team I have ever seen – then there is something wrong.
“The players will be aware Arsenal haven’t lost for a long time but they have got to walk onto the pitch with their sleeves rolled up, full of confidence and determination and we are going to have to show a little bit of bottle.”
Fulham’s problems could come at the other end. Because of international calls, the manager has has had little opportunity to work on tightening his defence after the 4-3 defeat at Portsmouth.
“I said my piece to my defenders and we’ve got to move on and concentrate on Arsenal.”
Coleman laughed off a suggestion that Arsenal, without injured England defender Sol Campbell, lack pace at the back as he said: “That’s not a weakness because they haven’t lost for so long. “They score more goals than anyone else and concede less so I don’t see a weakness. They’ve been without Sol, who is a very good player, but they still haven’t lost.”
“They can’t keep winning – or not losing – forever. Somebody is going to have to beat them so why not us? “Even if we come off with a draw it will be an achievement for us. Ideally we want to take three points, beat them and make a bit of history. We need a win, we’ve just lost our last two games.
“We’re now playing against the best team in England so we have got to go and be brave, which we will. “I’m not going to get 10 men behind the ball, which we did in the past. That works sometimes but we have got to ask them questions,” said the Fulham boss.