It is imperative Arsenal get back on track after being held to a frustrating draw against Everton last week. To be fair, either team could have won the tie, although I felt Arsenal had the better chances to come out with all three points. The Gunners have another tough task this weekend against Fulham and will want to come out on top to keep the pressure on both Chelsea and Tottenham.
The only certain casualty going into the match against Cottagers is Pole Lukas Fabianski who sustained a cracked rib against Norwich. His fellow countryman Wojciech Szczesny will therefore retain his spot in the starting line-up. Hopefully his confidence was boosted in midweek with the youngster keeping a clean-sheet against a tough Everton side.
In terms of other team news, Wenger has revealed that there are a number of players that could miss this weekends match, all being from midfield. Cazorla, Rosicky, Chambo and Wilshere face late fitness tests to determine whether they are fit for the upcoming match. If Wilshere is fit it is likely he will retain his number 10 spot with Cazorla remaining out wide.
Another personal preference would be Monreal being introduced back into the starting line-up after being left on the bench in the last couple of games. The Spaniard is more reliable on defence and will have a great understanding with Cazorla owing to their days together at Malaga.
Looking at the opposition, there is one obvious threat that Arsenal must look at for at that is Dimitar Berbatov. The Bulgarian striker has been a stand-out for Fulham this season, no better illustrated by his stunning volley against Stoke in February. No doubt Fulham will target our shortcomings when it comes to set-pieces, but realistically we should be winning this match comfortably.
Fabianski is not back. The keeper situation is similar to what it was before. It is a rib injury. It is game to game for him.
On other team news…
At the back everyone should available. In midfield we have a few people to check like Cazorla, Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain. They will all have tests but I hope they should be alright.
On Tomas Rosicky…
We have to test Rosicky who was not ready to start on Tuesday. There are a number of uncertainties about our squad but I will sort that out on Friday morning.
Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny Monreal
Ramsey Arteta (c)
- The last five Barclay Premier League meetings between the two sides have been an even affair, with three draws and one apiece.
- The Gunners have won just one of their last four trips to Craven Cottage in the Premier League (D1 L2), losing their last trip there in January 2012 (1-2).
- Wenger’s side have lost just one of their last 11 Premier League games, winning eight (W8 D2 L1).
- Since the beginning of February, Arsenal have conceded only six goals in nine Premier League games, keeping four clean sheets during this run.
- There has been a red card given in both of the last two PL meetings between these two sides at Craven Cottage – Johan Djourou (Arsenal) and Zoltan Gera (Fulham).
- Martin Jol has won just one of his 10 Premier League meetings with Arsene Wenger (L4 D5).
- Since the start of 2010, Arsenal have won just three of their 13 London derbies away from home in the Premier League, losing eight and drawing two.
- Fulham have only kept one clean sheet in their last 12 home games in the Premier League.
Fulham 0 Arsenal 1