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Premier League

  • 2 January 2012
  • • 17:30
  • • Craven Cottage, London
  • Referee: L. Probert
  • • Attendance: 25700
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Fulham - Arsenal Preview: Cottagers have not beaten London rivals in six previous clashes

The Craven Cottage outfit look to beat Arsene Wenger's Gunners for the first time since August 23, 2008 in both sides' first game after the turn of the year 2012


PROBABLE LINEUPS

FULHAM

Stockdale
Kelly, Hangeland, Senderos, Riise
Murphy, Etuhu
Dempsey, Ruiz, Dembele
Orlando Sa
ARSENAL

Szczesny
Djourou, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen

 Ramsey, Song, Arteta
Walcott, Van Persie, Gervinho

Striker Andy Johnson is due to return to Fulham in time for their first game of 2012 but is unlikely to go straight into a starting role, with Orlando Sa's goal against Norwich City expected to be enough to keep his place. Martin Jol will likely want to beef up his midfield for the visit of the Gunners, so Dickson Etuhu should feature in central midfield with Clint Dempsey moving further forward in place of Kerim Frei. Bobby Zamora is no closer to a return to action from his calf injury.

Arsenal are still without long-term absentees Jack Wilshere, Bakary Sagna and Andre Santos among an eight-strong injury list, so manager Arsene Wenger has options restricted with regard to changing his lineup from Saturday's QPR clash. Gervinho may come in to freshen up the forward line and to make best use of the Ivorian's talents before his imminent departure to the Africa Cup of Nations.


DID YOU KNOW?

  • The last time that Arsenal met Fulham, on November 26 at the Emirates Stadium, defender Thomas Vermaelen scored at both ends in a 1-1 draw.
  • Fulham have not beaten the Gunners since August 23, 2008, when a solitary goal from centre-back Brede Hangeland was enough to sink Wenger's men at Craven Cottage.
  • In the six meetings that have followed that result, three have been Arsenal wins and three, including the two most recent clashes, have ended in a draw.
  • Gunners captain Robin van Persie fell one short of Alan Shearer's Premier League record of goals scored in a calendar year, notching a still-inredible 35 times in the league over the course of 2011.
  • Clint Dempsey is the home side's top scorer so far this season with nine strikes to his name in all competitions. Compared to Van Persie's record, the American struck 13 in the past 12 months of Premier League football.
  • Fulham have struggled to overcome fellow London sides so far this season, with three draws in five local derbies in all competitions so far this season. They also lost once to Tottenham and thumped QPR 6-0.
  • The Gunners have fared slightly better, recording two wins and two draws in their own five derby games in 2011-12.
  • Philippe Senderos, likely to start in central defence for Fulham, made 84 league appearances over seven years at Arsenal between 2003 and 2010.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
13David StockdaleGoalkeeper
2Stephen KellyDefender
3John Arne RiiseDefender
5Brede HangelandDefender
14Philippe SenderosDefender
4Steve SidwellMidfielder
13Danny MurphyMidfielder
11Bryan RuizStriker
30Mousa DembeleStriker
2Clint DempseyStriker
25B. ZamoraStriker
38Neil EtheridgeGoalkeeper
6Chris BairdDefender
18Aaron HughesDefender
15Marcel GecovMidfielder
16Damien DuffMidfielder
21Kerim FreiMidfielder
9Orlando SáStriker
1Wojciech SzczesnyGoalkeeper
4Per MertesackerDefender
6Laurent KoscielnyDefender
5Johan DjourouDefender
8Mikel ArtetaMidfielder
16Aaron RamseyMidfielder
17Alex SongMidfielder
35Francis CoquelinMidfielder
20Robin van PersieStriker
14Theo WalcottStriker
27GervinhoStriker
1Manuel AlmuniaGoalkeeper
18Sébastien SquillaciDefender
48MiquelDefender
7Tomas RosickyMidfielder
10Andrey ArshavinMidfielder
30Yossi BenayounMidfielder
29Marouane ChamakhStriker
Players to Watch
Clint Dempsey
Clint Dempsey
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 2
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
There were rumours during Arsenal's madcap shopping spree towards the end of the last transfer window that Arsene Wenger had his eye on the American, and he could do a lot worse than to take another look at Dempsey now that the January window has opened. The versatile, forward-thinking American has quality and determination in equal measure and could potentially torment the centre-backs who are likely to continue filling in at full-back for the Gunners.
Robin van Persie
Robin van Persie
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 20
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The visitors' exemplary skipper may have failed to hit the hat-trick against QPR necessary to set a new record for the most Premier League goals in a calendar year but he is still a phenomenal player in phenomenal form. He should once again be the man to make the difference for the north London side and open his account with a possible view to making another tilt at history in 2012.
Prediction
Arsenal's disastrous start to the season is almost a distant memory now with Saturday's win over QPR lifting them into the top four after a length absence. Fulham have struggled against the north Londoners in recent years and the visitors should have enough to emerge from Craven Cottage unscathed.
Editor's Prediction
Fulham 0

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