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Premier League

  • 20 April 2013
  • • 15:00
  • • Craven Cottage, London
  • Referee: A. Marriner
  • • Attendance: 25700
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Fulham - Arsenal Preview: Top-four hopefuls have won just three of 13 London derbies away from home

A victory for the Gunners would see them leapfrog Chelsea and extend their lead over Tottenham, albeit temporarily, while Martin Jol's side have a top-10 finish in their sights

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

FULHAM

Schwarzer
Riether, Senderos, Hangeland, Riise
Ruiz, Karagounis, Sidwell, Kacaniklic
Petric, Berbatov
ARSENAL

Szczesny
Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs
Ramsey, Arteta, Wislhere
Walcott, Giroud, Cazorla

Martin Jol will be desperate to get back to winning ways after suffering a crushing 3-0 defeat against Chelsea at Craven Cottage on Wednesday despite troubling the Blues for the majority of the game.

Fulham will be without Damien Duff, who is struggling with an abductor strain. This opens up a spot for the returning Alexander Kacaniklic, who scored in the reverse fixture earlier this season, after the youngster was recalled from a loan spell at Burnley.

Steve Sidwell is likely to handed a place in the starting line-up after serving a three-match suspension, particularly given that Emmanuel Frimpong is ineligible to face parent club. Ashkan Dejagah (ankle) has been ruled out for the rest of the season.

Despite failing to see off Everton on Tuesday night, Arsene Wenger’s side travel to Craven Cottage in need of a win if Arsenal are to replicate their remarkable late-season charge for a third-place finish from 2011-12.

The visitors will have an almost fully fit squad at their disposal, with Jack Wilshere looking to make his third consecutive appearance after recovering from injury.

The clash comes too soon for Lukasz Fabianski, however, who is sidelined with a cracked rib, meaning the out-of-favour Wojciech Szczesny will be handed a start between the posts.

Tomas Rosciky will face a late fitness test, as will Kieran Gibbs, who could make way for Nacho Monreal at left-back.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Fulham are unbeaten in their last four encounters against Arsenal.
  • The Cottagers have recovered fewer points from losing positions (five) than any other team in the Premier League this season.
  • Fulham have been saved by the woodwork 18 times this season, more so than any top-flight club this season
  • If the Premier League table were to be composed solely on second-half performances, Arsenal would top the league table with 61 points.
  • Arsenal have lost just once in their last 11 top-flight encounters.
  • But, since the start of 2010, the Gunners have won just three of 13 London derbies away from home.

Players to watch

D. Berbatov

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
With his lissome touch and artistic flare, Berbatov has been an enduring source of excitement and creativity in an otherwise underwhelming cast. With 13 league goals, the Bulgarian has almost triple the number of Fulham’s next top goalscorer, Mladen Petric (five). And with the undoubted scoring threat Arsenal can pose, Berbatov will need to be on his best form to keep Fulham in this tie.

J. Wilshere

Position: Midfielder

Games: 5

  • 1
  • 3
  • 0
Regardless of his questionable fitness and largely underwhelming performances in recent appearances against Norwich and Everton, Fulham’s midfield vulnerabilities provide a perfect opportunity for Wilshere to put Steve Sidwell and Giorgos Karagounis through their paces on Saturday.

Editor's Prediction

Martin Jol will be optimistic Fulham can tear the form book apart as they did against Tottenham last month following a morale-boosting performance against Chelsea - despite the heavy loss - but the vein of form Arsena find themselves in could render victory a bridge too far for the hosts.

Arsenal’s vulnerability from set-pieces could be Fulham's best route to the scoresheet, as could the sort of magic that has become a hallmark of striker Dimitar Berbatov but, ultimately, the visitors will likely prove too strong.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Fulham

Arsenal

Wins
1
1
3
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Fulham FC FUL
Fulham FC Fulham
Draw
Arsenal FC ARS
Arsenal FC Arsenal
15%
77%

Top 3 Predictions

Fulham FC FUL
0 - 2
Arsenal FC ARS
Fulham FC FUL
1 - 2
Arsenal FC ARS
Fulham FC FUL
1 - 3
Arsenal FC ARS

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