Is Fulham boss Meulensteen right to label Arsenal predictable?

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The Cottagers manager feels his club's chances may be helped knowledge of Arsenal's playing style as they go in hunt of a first Premier League crown since 2004.

Fulham manager Rene Meulensteen believes playing against Arsenal will be a hard challenge, but not a match in which the home side hold secrets.

The Gunners, despite sitting atop the table, are considered third favourites behind Manchester City and Chelsea to secure a first top flight success since the 'Invincibles' season of 2003/2004.

Meulensteen and his Fulham side visit the Emirates Stadium this weekend and while the Dutchman believes Arsene Wenger's side are firmly in the mix, he feels their well-documented playing style could see them fall short.

"They have got a very good chance of winning the Premier League compared to previous seasons," Meulensteen told reporters. "But Arsenal have got no secrets, they have not had any secrets for the past eight years.

"They play as they play and they will not change. That is what they are. You know what you are going to be up against, which is a very good team with very good individuals.

"I have always had a lot of respect for Arsenal as a club and the way they play football. Arsene [Wenger] has been there for many years, that is why there is not too many secrets we are going to be coming up against."

While the former Manchester United first-team coach's observation rings true about the Gunners in previous seasons, their ability to hold onto leads and show a steelier defensive resolve has led many to look at Arsenal in a different light.

The vulnerability at the back which would almost certainly prove their downfall in the past appears just that, a thing of history, and no longer looks the slight on an otherwise impressive team.

Their goalscoring prowess may have taken a hit because of that, but that is exactly why the Gunners have proven to be the polar opposite of predictable this year, scoring a wider variety of goals - if not as many - with the presence of a physical spearhead in Olivier Giroud offering more options to the team.

Is Meulensteen right to label Arsenal 'predictable'?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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