Date: 21st August 2008 at 6:51pm
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After the disappointment of last Saturday whereby we tossed away the chance to earn our first Premier League points of the 2008-2009 season thanks to a defensive error, we could probably have wished for an easier match than one against probably the most fluent football side in the Premier League. Sadly, the fixture computer doesn`t do mercy and doesn`t dish out easy games, or as some might say – there are no easy games in this league. So let`s just get on with it and see if we can get into them and catch them on an off day!

Vital Quotes:

“You`ll never win anything with youngsters” – BBC pundit Alan Hansen once said relating to Manchester United, but they did. Already Arsene Wenger has seen his hopes of Premier League glory written of by several pundits but we`re not so sure. If they can get a run going increasing confidence will compensate for the lack of experience.

As for what Roy has to say on the forthcoming fixture – we`ll update you tomorrow, it`s the least we can do.

Fulham Team News:

All Fulham supporters will be hoping that Andy Johnson is able to feature. Our latest signing featured in training this week and it is purely a case of deciding whether he`ll be fit enough to start. If he does we expect him to be paired with Bobby Zamora.

Elsewhere, after capitulating at Hull, Roy may well be thinking about playing a holding midfielder to add a bit of support to the back line, but who should he drop? It`d be a tough decision to make especially as, being the home side, we`re supposed to be the ones trying to force the issue.

Here at Vital Fulham, we`ll reckon that Roy will be brave and stick with the same eleven that started at Hull, unless Andy Johnson is fit. If that is the case we expect Seol Ki-Hyeon to be the one to make way.

Our starting eleven – Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Gera, Murphy, Bullard, Davies, Zamora, Johnson or Ki-Hyeon.

Player to watch: Paul Konchesky

After his monumental error last weekend, where he appeared to be caught in two minds, we`re going for Paul Konchesky. It`ll be interesting to see if Paul can put that error out of his mind and deliver a stirring performance, possibly venturing forward and smashing in a long range shot!

Arsenal Team News:

It`ll be interesting to see who Arsene Wenger can call upon considering the absentees from his starting eleven against West Bromwich Albion last weekend. For that fixture they had Fabregas, Diaby, Senderos, Eduardo, Rosicky and Bischoff out injured whilst Song was participating at the Beijing Olympics.

With the Cameroon`s now out of the tournament Song may be available and Wenger has moved quickly, this week to sign Silvestre from close rivals, Manchester United.

To put it bluntly, we have no idea as to how Arsenal will line up but we`re in no doubt that they will play attractive football and create chances.

Player to watch: Samir Nasri

In the absence of Cesc Fabregas who may be absent due to an injury, we`ll go for the new signing, the Frenchman – Samir Nasri – who opened his Arsenal Premier League account with a goal on his debut. He`ll need watching Roy!

Match Facts & Stats

Looking at the history of our clashes with Arsenal would have you weeping, it doesn`t look pretty. We barely register on the win scale in the Premier League fixtures played between the two sides at Craven Cottage and in all fixtures we`ve a hefty deficit to make up.

See for yourself below-

Premier League at Craven Cottage

Fulham 1 win, Arsenal 6 wins, Draws 0

All fixtures at Craven Cottage

Fulham 6 wins, Arsenal 11 wins, Draws 4

Last season, the corresponding fixture saw Arsenal inflict a 3-0 defeat on us with Adebayor scoring twice in the first half and Rosicky wrapping matters up late on.

Ref Watch:

The referee chosen to officiate this London derby, our first of the season, is Martin Atkinson of Yorkshire.

Match Prediction:

It might be easier to keep my gob shut on this one. After all, whenever I predict a Fulham win we usually end up losing. Should I be a bit devious and predict an Arsenal win? Or should I simply abstain and ask you – our readership – to predict the outcome in the comments box below.

Now that seems the best choice doesn`t it?

Next Fixtures:

It should have been a simple affair, a trip to Old Trafford to take on the current European Champions, Manchester United, except they`ve bottled it and cancelled the fixture in order to participate in something called the European Super Cup! Make them forfeit the points do I hear you cry? So the next premier game will be against Bolton Wanderers.


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