After the heartache of being denied a rare three points on the road, up at Norwich on New Years Eve, Fulham will be looking to get back to winning ways when Arsenal visit Craven Cottage in a live televised game this afternoon. The game has all the makings of an entertaining classic with Arsenal keen to keep their slim title hopes alive and Fulham looking to jump into the top half of the table.
Much has been written about the sublime scoring talents of Robin Van Perise but now another striker who knows where the back of the net is has signed a temporary contract with Arsene Wenger`s club, a certain Thierry Henry.
When news of the deal broke, Martin Jol was forced to comment,
“It is fantastic for Arsenal fans. He is a legend.”
Let`s hope his introduction doesn`t prove to be our downfall!
Fulham Team News:
Mark Schwazer will, once again, be conspicuous by his absence through a spinal injury but the more than capable David Stockdale will continue to deputise.
Once again it looks as if Martin Jol will have to do without the injured striking duo of Bobby Zamora and Andrew Johnson although Damien Duff is reported as being fit again and available for selection.
Player to watch: Kerim Frei
Still only eighteen but starting to put in the kind of performances that will see him become a regular in our starting eleven before very much longer.
Arsenal Team News:
Arsene Wenger, who has turned around Arsenal`s season after the 8-2 reverse at Old Trafford, will be without Thomas Vermaelen who suffered a calf strain in the win over Queens Park Rangers, once again Francis Coquelin looks set to deputise.
Player to watch: Robin van Persie
A prolific goal scorer who recently eclipsed Thierry Henry`s Arsenal record for the most number of goals in a calendar year. Where would Arsenal be without the Dutch star?
Match Facts & Stats
Earlier this season, in the reciprocating fixture, Fulham earned a draw at the Emirates but wins against the North London side are rare with Fulham registering just 2 in 21 Premier League matches those both narrow victories, 2-1 in 2006 and 1-0 in 2008
In the 50 times the teams have met, Arsenal hold the upper hand with 34 wins to the 7 of Fulham with there being 9 draws.
This is just the sort of game that we need our side to rise to the challenge to. If the good work in obtaining two draws on the road, at Chelsea and Norwich, isn`t to be wasted we need to take something out of this game. Now I`m not saying we`ll brush Arsenal aside but with both sides looking to play football this could be one of the most entertaining games of the season but I`d be well disappointed if we didn`t get at least a draw to finish off the festive period.
It`s a rest from the Premier League next time out when Fulham take on London rivals Charlton Athletic in the 3rd round of the FA Cup at Craven Cottage next Saturday.