Arsenal - Fulham Preview: Jol's side chase their first ever victory at the Emirates
Arsene Wenger's charges will be looking to put a rotten recent run of form behind them with a return to winning ways on home soil, with improvement needed at both ends of the pitch
By James McManus
Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen
Walcott, Giroud, Podolski
Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise
Duff, Baird, Sidwell, Diarra, Ruiz
Arsene Wenger will be without the suspended Jack Wilshere - after the midfielder's red card against Manchester United last weekend.
Elsewhere for Arsenal, Wojciech Szczesny (foot), Gervinho (ankle) and Lukasz Fabianski (ankle) will all miss the game, with Abou Diaby, Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all long-term absentees.
Midfielder Tomas Rosicky has an outside chance of a place on the substitutes' bench after returning to training following an Achilles injury, but the visit of Fulham could come too soon.
It is much more positive news for Martin Jol, who is just waiting on the fitness of Mahamadou Diarra (knee) ahead of the trip across London. Simon Davies is the only other injury concern for the Cottagers, and is not expected to return before the New Year.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Arsenal have made their worst ever start to a Premier League season under Arsene Wenger this year, picking up just 15 points from their first 10 games and losing three of their last five Premier League outings.
- Theo Walcott (pictured right) is the club's top goalscorer across all competitions this season with eight goals, three ahead of his nearest challenger Gervinho.
- The Gunners have kept just one clean sheet in their last 13 games.
- Last season's corresponding fixture ended 1-1, with Thomas Vermaelen netting at both ends.
- Fulham have never won away at Arsenal in any competition, losing 22 and drawing four of 26 visits.
- Former Arsenal youngster Steve Sidwell has scored in both of his Premier League appearances for Fulham against his old club.
- Martin Jol has beaten opposite number Arsene Wenger just once in nine top-flight games against him, a 2-1 victory at Craven Cottage in January.
- Fulham have lost 12 points from winning positions this season, more than any other club.
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Top 3 Predictions
Arsenal FC 2-0 Fulham
- 17.96 %
Arsenal FC 3-1 Fulham
- 14.82 %
Arsenal FC 2-1 Fulham
- 12.21 %
|Premier League (EPL)||24 Aug 2013||Fulham 1 - Arsenal FC 3|
|Premier League (EPL)||20 Apr 2013||Fulham 0 - Arsenal FC 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||10 Nov 2012||Arsenal FC 3 - Fulham 3|
|Premier League (EPL)||2 Jan 2012||Fulham 2 - Arsenal FC 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||26 Nov 2011||Arsenal FC 1 - Fulham 1|
|14 Dec 2013||Manchester City 6 - Arsenal FC 3||EPL|
|11 Dec 2013||Napoli 2 - Arsenal FC 0||UCL|
|8 Dec 2013||Arsenal FC 1 - Everton 1||EPL|
|4 Dec 2013||Arsenal FC 2 - Hull City 0||EPL|
|30 Nov 2013||Cardiff 0 - Arsenal FC 3||EPL|
|3||John Arne Riise||Defender|
Arsene Wenger will have watched Maroune Fellaini's second goal against Fulham with great interest last weekend, with the giant Belgium international bullying and out-muscling centre-back Aaron Hughes. While not boasting quite the same physical presence, Giroud is no meek forward either and has the ability to threaten the home side's backline.
Tracking Santi Cazorla's runs from deep in midfield will be essential if his side wants to earn a clean sheet, and the Northern Irishman will likely be tasked with a man-marking role on the creative Spaniard.
Martin Jol's side have found it tough to keep clean sheets and holding on to leads recently, yet they face an Arsenal side showing a distinct lack of form in front of goal. The game has the makings of being a cagey affair with two vunerable defences, but the home team's attacking edge could prove the difference.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed