Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Friday November 9 2012
Fulham make the short trip, across London, to take on Arsenal this weekend. On paper the fixture looks a real tough one and here at Vital Fulham we reckon that will be the case with Arsene Wenger`s side keen to get back to winning ways after losing at Old Trafford last time out. On the other hand, Fulham will be hoping that they can add to an away record that has shown considerable improvement this season, compared to others.
We`ve struggled to uncover the actual words Martin Jol used but the Dutchman could well have lit the blue touch paper, ahead of the clash, when he`s supposed to have remarked that it is no longer realistic for Arsenal fans to expect a regular haul of silverware, whilst also adding that Arsenal are no longer competing on a par with the two Manchester clubs and Chelsea.
Arsene Wenger takes his squad into this match without the influential Jack Wilshere. The England midfielder is suspended after his red card at Old Trafford last Saturday.
On the injury front, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain both face fitness tests. Manone is expected to continue in goal although Wojciech Szczesny is nearing full fitness a she recovers from an ankle injury.
His future may be unsettled but, if selected, the winger who wishes to become a forward; has shown that he has the ability to not only influence games but to turn things on their head. Whatever happens, we mustn`t let Walcott run at our defence or give him space on the flanks.
Martin Jol has one major doubt ahead of the visit to the Emirates Stadium with Mahamadou Diarra rated as only 50-50 with a knee injury.
The Emirates Stadium could be the perfect stage for the Bulgarian to weave his magic. The big pitch will enable Dimitar to drift around looking to play those balls that set up others whilst also hoping that he can engineer some space to score himself.
Our record against Arsenal, on their pitch, is pretty abysmal with us never winning there. Our paths have crossed 26 times and Arsenal have won 22 and drawn just 4.
On the goals front, we`ve scored just 7 in our 11 Premier League visits to Arsenal and have yet to score more than once.
Our officials are;- Andre Marriner (referee) R. Ganfield (assistant) A. Holmes (assistant) Lee Probert (fourth official)
I`m not mad enough to sit here, tapping away on a keyboard, and suggest we`re going to go to the Emirates Stadium and come back with three points as that may be a wish too far. But, and it`s a big ask, if we can play at the top of our game and Arsenal are suffering European hangover after Tuesday evening, then we can at least get a share of the spoils, can`t we?
Our next fixture, in the Premier League, will be a home fixture against Sunderland.
Date:Friday November 9 2012
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