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  • 24 August 2013
  • • 17:15
  • • Craven Cottage, London
  • Referee: H. Webb
  • • Attendance: 25622
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Fulham-Arsenal Preview: Cottagers have lost only one in last five against Wenger's side

Fulham-Arsenal Preview: Cottagers have lost only one in last five against Wenger's side

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The Gunners will look to bounce back from their opening-day defeat but do so without several key players, while Scott Parker and Darren Bent could make their debuts

Arsenal are confident that they can bounce back from a shock home loss to Aston Villa when they visit Fulham in the Premier League on Saturday.

Arsene Wenger's men made a dreadful start to their league campaign, suffering a 3-1 home defeat to a Villa side who only just avoided relegation last term but the Gunners recovered strongly on Wednesday, posting a terrific 3-0 win at Fenerbahce in the first leg of their Champions League play-off.

Theo Walcott starred for Arsenal, creating two of the goals, and feels that his side can beat anyone at their best.

"If everyone works hard for each other, we can get the results," the forward told the club's official website. "I think at the weekend that probably wasn't the case and we knew how disappointing it was. You don't want to start a season like that.

"We've forgotten about that and we're concentrating on Fulham. And if we perform like [Wednesday], with that intensity, we can beat anyone."

GOAL PREDICTS THE PL
7/1 Bet365 offer 7/1 for Theo Walcott to score first and Arsenal to beat Fulham
Defender Laurent Koscielny suffered a deep cut to the head against Fenerbahce but was suspended for the trip to Craven Cottage anyway, while Wenger is also without club captain Thomas Vermaelen as he recovers from a back injury. Bacary Sagna is expected to fill in at centre-back.

Midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee) is sidelined for up to three months, leaving Wenger short of midfield options with Abou Diaby (knee) and Mikel Arteta (thigh) not expected back any time soon.

Left-back Nacho Monreal has recovered from a back problem, though, and featured against Fenerbahce.

Fulham enjoyed a far better opening day to the season as they claimed a 1-0 win at Sunderland thanks to Pajtim Kasami's second-half strike.

New signings Scott Parker and Darren Bent could make their debuts on Saturday. Parker joined from Tottenham for an undisclosed fee on Monday, while Bent, on a season's loan from Villa, did not feature from the bench at Sunderland.

Fulham will be without goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg (shoulder) and Kieran Richardson (hamstring), who both limped off at the Stadium of Light, but attacker Alexander Kacaniklic has a chance of returning from a hamstring problem of his own. David Stockdale is likely to deputise in goal for Martin Jol's side after coming off the bench for Stekelenburg.

Fulham have enjoyed a good record against Arsenal in recent times, losing just one of their last five fixtures, but Arsenal did win the most recent meeting as Per Mertesacker scored the only goal in a 1-0 away win in April that saw both sides end the match with 10 men.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
-David StockdaleGoalkeeper
3John Arne RiiseDefender
-Brede HangelandDefender
18Aaron HughesDefender
20Sascha RietherMidfielder
4Steve SidwellMidfielder
10Pajtim KasamiMidfielder
16Damien DuffMidfielder
10Adel TaarabtMidfielder
28Scott ParkerMidfielder
9Dimitar BerbatovStriker
38Neil EtheridgeGoalkeeper
17Matthew BriggsDefender
11Alexander KacaniklicMidfielder
14Georgios KaragounisMidfielder
9D. BoatengMidfielder
11Bryan RuizStriker
39Darren BentStriker
1Wojciech SzczesnyGoalkeeper
3Bacary SagnaDefender
4Per MertesackerDefender
25Carl Jenkinson Defender
28Kieran GibbsDefender
7Tomas RosickyMidfielder
16Aaron RamseyMidfielder
19Santi CazorlaMidfielder
9Lukas PodolskiStriker
12Olivier GiroudStriker
14Theo WalcottStriker
21Lukasz FabianskiGoalkeeper
17MonrealDefender
10Jack WilshereMidfielder
35Emmanuel FrimpongMidfielder
58Gedion ZelalemMidfielder
22Yaya SanogoStriker
44Serge GnabryStriker

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