Arsenal will host Fulham on Saturday, January 18, 2014 (7:00 AM PST/15:00 GMT) at Emirates Stadium in North London. Fulham has 19 points and it is only one point above the relegation zone, and two points above Crystal Palace and Sunderland; the worst teams of the season. Therefore, they have to gain as many points as they can – of course, playing away against Arsenal, they’ll surely be happy if they earn a draw. On the contrary, Arsenal is in the first position with 48 points, only one point above Manchester City and two points above Chelsea, so they need a win if they want to remain in first place.
Arsenal is in a 4 game win streak in the Premier League (5-win if one takes into account the 2-0 victory in the derby against the Spurs in FA Cup), and despite some injuries, the team has remained in good form. Their manager, Arsene Wenger, spoke about the injured players Nacho Monreal (knee) and Tomas Rosicky (nose), both injured in the match against Aston Villa last Monday. According to Arsenal’s official website, “Monreal looks in doubt for Saturday, a big doubt, because he twisted his foot on the kick. It is not the bruise, he turned and twisted the ligament. Rosicky had surgery with a general anaesthetic for a broken nose in two places. With a mask he may be available, but we have to monitor it closely.”
Furthermore, Wenger discarded defender Thomas Vermaelen (knee injury against Tottenham on January 4) and midfielders Mikel Arteta (calf injury against Spurs) and Aaron Ramsey (thigh injury against West Ham on December 26): “Ramsey and Arteta are both out for this game. Vermaelen too. I personally believe the three will miss the Coventry game [on January 24] as well and will be available after that”.
On the other hand, Fulham lost a key match last Saturday, 1-4 against Sunderland -a direct opponent in the relegation fight- playing at home, and of course they want to show another face against Arsenal. Their manager René Meulensteen thinks that they have to play without fear despite the fact that they will visit the leader of the tournament. The head coach commented for Fulham’s website that, “In the Premier League… teams that are there or thereabouts at the bottom will suddenly pick up points against a team in the top four who don’t expect it, so we need to go there with confidence in ourselves. If we are well organized, if we’re doing the right things, we should have all the confidence to get something out of the game”.
The only doubt for the match against Arsenal is the Venezuelan defender Fernando Amorebieta, who had a little niggle in one of the ligaments around the knee on Wednesday’s training. He did not train on Thursday, but he is not discarded yet for the weekend. If he does not play, Dan Burn -who had great performances in the last two clashes against Norwich City in the FA Cup- will take his place.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Gibbs, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Sagna, Flamini, Wilshere, Gnabry, Ozil, Cazorla, Giroud
Fulham: Stekelenburg, Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise; Sidwell, Parker; Dejagah, Dempsey, Kacaniklic; Berbatov
Fulham only won 1 out of the last 10 matches against Arsenal (5 losses and 4 ties), 2-1 on January 2012. In their last meeting on August 2013, Arsenal won 1-3 playing away at Craven Cottage stadium.
Fulham never defeated Arsenal playing on the road, in any competition. They’ve played 27 matches -the first one in 1904-, with 22 victories for Arsenal and 5 draws.
Arsenal vs Fulham Prediction
Arsenal is clearly the favorite team to win the match, because they are at the top of the table while Fulham is very close to the relegation zone. Furthermore, Fulham only won on the road against Sunderland, Crystal Palace and Norwich City, three teams that are in the relegation fight, while Arsenal had a wonderful performance playing at home (7 wins, 2 draws and only 1 lose, in the first match of the tournament). The Arsenal vs Fulham will end in a 3-1 win for the Gunners.
Arsenal vs Fulham TV Schedule
The Arsenal vs Fulham match will be televised this Saturday, January 18, 2014 on: NBCSN and Mun2 at 7:00 AM Pacific (USA) and BBC One at 15:00 GMT (UK).