Arsenal head to Craven Cottage to face yet another team in the bottom half of the table and will hope to secure three vital points. The fixture marks the last match in what has been a congested festive period for the gunners where they have played three games within a week against opposition in the bottom half of the league ladder, where a draw against Wolves and a narrow victory over QPR preceded this tie.
If there has been anything to be learnt from the previous two matches against similar opposition it is that we need to be convert the chances we create. The match against Wolves saw an inspired match from Wayne Hennessey and the recent match against QPR looked to be a case of deja’ vu considering the amount of sitters we couldn’t put in the back of the net. Hopefully the boys bring their finishing boots to this tie.
This fixture also marks the last time Gervinho will be used before he heads off to international duty in the African Cup of Nations. The Ivorian has been dangerous down the flank for the gunners and will look to leave the Emirates on a high-note. Expect Van Persie and Walcott to partner the Ivorian up front with legend Thierry Henry’s loan deal yet to be finalised.
On the defensive front with Vermaelen picking up a calf strain in the match against QPR it is likely that Miquel will reprise his role at left-back even though Coquelin was given a small cameo in that position when Vermaelen was substituted. The young Spaniard has started a few ties for the gunners in this position and should provide suitable cover for the injured Belgian based on previous performances.
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on Arshavin’s last match…
I knew he would suffer a bit physically, but Andrey has that quality that at any moment in the game he can give you a ball to score, and that’s what he did.
We know he can be sharper than he was on Saturday but that is linked to the fact I do not play him enough.
on his personal highlight of 2011…
The game against Barcelona was maybe the best game we have ever played on the football pitch here. For me, that was the highlight.
When I look back, it was not the easiest year of my career. The end of last [season] was even more difficult than the rocky time we had at the beginning of this season because it was all doom and gloom, only negatives.
This season we had a very tough time too, but we had something in front of us, we could still fight for something.
With the last two months of last season, once you are in a position where you will not win the Champions League, will not win the league, will not win the FA Cup, you just have to get over the line as well as you can. It was difficult.
Arsenal – Robin van Persie – The flying Dutchman has been impressive form this calendar year and will look to continue his fine form that saw him score 35 goals in 36 appearances in 2011
Fulham – Clint Dempsey – The American midfielder has been Fulham’s best source of goals this campaign with 6 goals and 4 assists in all 19 of Fulham’s games this season.
Djourou Mertesacker Koscielny Miquel
Walcott Van Persie (c) Gervinho
With Vermaelen picking up an injury on the weekend, it is likely that young Spaniard Ignasi Miquel will reprise the role at left-back he has played for Arsenal on a few occasions. With Gervinho rested expect the Ivorian to return to the line-up in place of Russian Andrey Arshavin before he leaves for the African Cup of Nations.