Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Friday May 20 2011
There may be no silverware at stake this Sunday but a London derby, against Arsenal, is a great way to finish off the season. If results go our way then we could well finish in a very lofty seventh position whilst Arsenal will be going for a win to ensure that finish third in the Premier League and don`t have to play a qualifying match to participate in the tournament next season. A tasty encounter awaits all!
Could we really finish as high as seventh? Especially after many thought we`d be struggling in the relegation zone after a dodgy start.
Ahead of the clash with Arsenal, Mark Hughes had this to say,
'It's been a massive turnaround in the second-half of the season.
'We always anticipated we would improve with the return of key personnel like Bobby [Zamora] and Andy Johnson.
'We've been really strong and have exceeded our own expectations.'
It makes you wonder where we`d be if both had been fit all season!
Mark Hughes takes his squad into this fixture wanting to finish the season with a victory. But the Welshman does have a few injury problems.
Moussa Dembele isn`t available, side-lined with a knee injury. Damien Duff is out with an Achilles injury whilst Diomansy Kamara, back from his loan spell at Leicester City, has a back problem.
Fulham will also be without Chris Baird who will be serving out a one game suspension.
An ever-present this season, let`s hope Aaron gets a start to complete a rare full set.
Arsene Wenger, who has seen his sides season fall apart since that calamitous Carling Cup Final defeat to Birmingham City, has a whole host of problems ahead of the fixture at Craven Cottage.
Definitely not available are Bartley, Eastmond, Fabianski, Fabregas and Mannone whilst there are doubts that Clichy, Nasri, Diaby, Djourou, Koscielny and Rosicky will be fit enough to be considered.
It also remains to see whether Denilson, who has stated he wants to leave Arsenal this season as they`ve not won a trophy in five years, will get a start of the grand old order of the boot!
The Dutch forward can`t stop scoring and has established a Premier League record for scoring in consecutive away games. Hopefully, it`ll come to an end this season with the Arsenal drawing a blank.
For those of a weak disposition look away now!
Our form against Arsenal, especially in the Premier League, leaves a lot to be desired.
In 19 Premier League clashes with Arsenal we`ve won only 2, both those victories were by a one-goal margin, 1-0 back in 2008 and 2-1 back in 2006.
In 48 clashes with Arsenal we`ve won 7 to the 34 of Arsenal with all those 7 wins coming at Craven Cottage.
Our officials are:- Referee - Martin Atkinson Assistants - Jake Collin and Adam Watts Fourth Official - Michael Oliver
We thought Craven Cottage was developing into a bit of a fortress until Liverpool came here and derailed us big time with a 5-2 win. But, Arsenal are on a poor run of form, form that has seen them win only 2 of their last 10 games. On the back of that I`m taking Fulham to get at least a share of the spoils or perhaps even sneak a win.
That`s it for this season folks!
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Date:Friday May 20 2011
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