Arsenal v Fulham - Match preview and team news
Arsene Wenger’s men are looking to reignite their flagging Premier League season by continuing their impressive home form against perennial away-day strugglers Fulham. The Cottagers have not won away at their London rivals since their arrival in the Premier League in 2001. However, Martin Jol’s men are unbeaten against the Gunners in their last three league encounters and took four from six points available against them last season.
Arsenal will be missing midfielder Jack Wilshere following the red card he picked up against Manchester United. Wilshere adds to a growing list of absentees that includes Wojciech Szczesny, Abou Diaby, Kieran Gibbs and Tomas Rosicky, though Szczesny is nearing a comeback and could be available for the clash at the Emirates. However, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could both be fit to return if they pass fitness tests. Up front, Wenger must choose whether to persist with the in-form Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud.
Fulham have doubts over Mahamadou Diarra, who is struggling with a knee problem. The Mali international is rated as no more than 50-50 for the clash at the Emirates. Elsewhere, Jol’s squad is relatively fit from injury problems with only long-term absentee Simon Davies remaining absent after Kieran Richardson returned to training this week.
In attack, Jol looks set to continue the partnership between Dimitar Berbatov and Bryan Ruiz, who have both found impressive form in recent weeks, the latter scoring two superb long-range strikes against both Reading and Everton.