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Preview: Arsenal v Fulham – Latest Team News, Preferred XI & Prediction
It’s back to Premier League action on Saturday as we make the short trip across London to face Fulham at Craven Cottage.
We put last weekend’s shock defeat to Aston Villa firmly behind us with an impressive 3-0 win over Fenerbache on Wednesday and while that result put us within touching distance of the Champions League group stages, it’s time to get some points on the board in the league.
Fulham are never an easy opposition and we just scrapped a win last year. Martin Jol is building a decent side and we could see former Spurs players Scott Parker and Darren Bent make their debuts tomorrow.
Unfortunately another week has gone by with no new faces coming in so we’re going into the game with a thread-bare squad once again. It’s been made all the more difficult by the suspension of Laurent Koscielny after his harsh red last week, but he would probably have missed out anyway after taking a boot to the face in midweek.
The hosts opened up with a solid and unspectacular 1-0 away at Sunderland and we can be sure they are going to be a compact and resolute side this weekend, and with Berbatov up front and their threat from set pieces, we’ll need to be on guard at the back.
As I’ve said, Koscielny misses out through suspension so Bacary Sagna will play alongside Per Mertesacker in the centre of defence. It’s pretty shambolic that our starting right back has to play in the middle due to our lack of depth, but that’s the situation we find ourselves in.
Carl Jenkinson will come in at right back to fill in for Bac. Apart from that I don’t foresee any other changes. We didn’t pick up any other injuries on Wednesday so the other absentees remain Thomas Vermaelen, Abou Diaby, Mikel Arteta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Ryo Miyaichi is back in contention after returning to training while Nacho Monreal might get a run-out after coming on as a late sub in midweek.
Lukas Podolski has been out-of-favour over the last two games so i expect he’ll continue on the bench as Tomas Rosicky and Santi Cazorla were impressive against the Turks.
Fulham are expected to give debuts to Scott Parker and Darren Bent. The good news is that goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg and left-back Kieran Richardson both are likely to miss out after picking up injuries on the opening weekend.
Defender Fernando Amorebieta is also in-line to make his debut with former Arsenal centre-back Philippe Senderos expected to be among the subs.
A tough match in store but I can’t imagine us losing our opening two games. A 1-1 draw is possible but I’m going to back the boys to get all three points. 2-1 with Giroud on the score-sheet again!
What would be your team and what’s your score prediction?