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Fulham vs. Arsenal

Craven Cottage

Saturday 23rd August


Preview: Fulham v Arsenal

After the brief midweek break, Arsenal returns to action on Saturday when they travel to Craven Cottage to face lowly Fulham. Arsene will be somewhat concerned that he only had 2 first team players, Almunia and Denilson, in his practices earlier in the week, but the news of no new injuries is a big plus. The West London side suffered a demoralizing 2-1 defeat to the Championship playoff winners, Hull City, on the opening day of the season. Fulham fans can be excused for thinking they were experiencing déjà vu, because last year they also blew an opening day lead to Arsenal.

Even with the monotonous international friendlies this week, Arsenal has had a wild few days. A shock signing, straight out of left field, made headlines throughout the football blogosphere. Mikael Silvestre made the journey south to join Arsenal from Manchester United, the first time a player has switched between those clubs since Brian Kidd in 1974. For me, after the initial shock of seeing a long-time Manc in an Arsenal shirt, I looked at the deal from a more neutral perspective and saw the brilliance that lies in it. We sold Justin Hoyte for 3 million and bought a better, more seasoned player for a third of that, and it also allows Armand Traore to go out on loan and gain invaluable Premier League experience at Pompey. Mikael will be an excellent addition to the squad that has bolstered the depth of our defense.

This weekend Arsenal will be looking to metaphorically kick Fulham while their down. Even though the Gunners got three points with considerable ease against West Brom, they were criticized by many for not inflicting further damage on the newly promoted side. A dominant win Saturday, on the road, might do a lot to silence those critics.

Vital Quotes:

Arsene Wenger gave his thoughts on the season so far. "We have just started the season and had a very difficult game last Saturday," said Wenger. "Everybody has discounted us at the moment but one more player will not make a big difference for us.

"For me, what is very important is to start the season well, by qualifying for the Champions League and winning our first few games. Then if we need an addition we can still do it.

'I do not especially [like being discounted]," Wenger went on. "It doesn't take any special pressure off us because I feel we have to win trophies. The pressure is exactly the same. For me we are here to win the trophy.

'However I think there is more to come from my team this season. We have a structure in the team and a way of playing that is very efficient. We have mastered that well so I do not see why we should not set ourselves high targets.'

He also gave his view on the game this weekend. "Fulham have a strong squad now," admitted Wenger. "They look much more dangerous going forward than last year and it's a derby, too.

"For me our success in this game will be based upon how quickly we can focus again after international matches."

Roy Hodgson`s main worry is about Andy Johnson. 'Andy Johnson's injury has improved immensely and he's quite close to full fitness. Clinically he's very close."

'I'm very concerned that the season has just begun and there are 38 matches to be played. It's important for me to have Andy up, running and fit for most of those matches.

I don't want to throw him in early because it's the tempting thing to do. As often happens with these type of injuries, the player gets back and there's a slight recurrence and he misses another couple of weeks.'

Fulham Team News:

The main concern for Fulham is that new signing from Everton, Andy Johnson, is still not fit. Fulham`s hopes for getting anything out of this game might lie on the 27 years old fitness. Another new signing Bobby Zamora will have to step up in Johnson`s absence.

Fulham let USA international striker Eddie Johnson, leave on a season long loan for Cardiff City.

Player to watch: Zoltan Gera

The Hungarian winger, who signed on a free transfer from West Brom, will be important in Fulham`s slender chances on Saturday. He brings a creative edge to the Cottagers that is not usually there. He won`t score many goals, but his passing ability will certainly set many others for goal scoring opportunities.

Arsenal Team News:

New boy Silvestre is a doubt for the game with a muscular problem. This makes me question the quality of our pre-signing medical. On a better note, Alex Song is back from Beijing after once again shining on international duty for Cameroon. These performances and his play at the African Cup of Nations, have some Arsenal fans thinking he is our solution to the hole at defensive midfield. And despite a so called 'injury` that kept Samir Nasri out of the French team, the midfielder will be ready to go for this game.

Fabregas is still not fit, but will most likely be involved on Wednesday against FC Twente. Diaby, Senderos, Bischoff, Eduardo, and Rosicky are still all out as well.

Carlos Vela returned late from the Americas after playing in Mexico`s World Cup qualifying win and will not be in the squad for Fulham.

Player to watch: Robin van Persie

The Dutch striker was marvelous in Holland`s one all draw in Moscow midweek. He was involved in the link up play as well as making penetrating runs himself. He scored a beautiful left footed curler to the upper corner in the first half of the game. His performance made it clear that the striker was back to his best. He should continue on this fine display against Fulham tomorrow.

Match Facts & Stats

Arsenal won both encounters last season with Adebayor scoring two first half goals in a 3-0 win in the corresponding fixture.

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

Fulham has dropped more points to Arsenal than any other Premier League team.

Ref Watch:

Martin Atkinson will be in charge of match tomorrow. The 37 year old was in charge of the other North London team`s first game against Middlesbrough on opening day and he gave out three yellow cards. But more importantly he made an absolute howler of Wheater`s disallowed goal. How he is in charge of any football game this weekend after that is beyond me.

Match Prediction:

4-0 to the Arsenal. Van Persie and Adebayor to grab braces for the Gunners.

Next Fixtures:

FC Twente Champions League 8/27

Newcastle Premier League 8/30

Blackburn Premier League 9/13

Article submitted by Gunnerkid107

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The Journalist

Writer: Rocky7 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday August 23 2008

Time: 12:27AM

Your Comments

Writer Paul Mustchin? Lol ;)
4-0 lol !!! thatz a lot... mine is 3-0. LD plz continue this new optimistic predictions...
Sorry Paul... 'LD' is a typo... my bad :)
hoping rvp DOES have a big game. he needs to kick start his season. as for the scoreline, yeah 4-0 sounds about right. but rvp, bendtner and nasri to score one each, ade to miss 6 before tapping one in from a yard out. sorry.
Rocky might be a bit optimistic, but that's okay- LD would be predicting a score draw : }
No no no ... sorry, I forgot to change the author .... it's all Gunnerkid's work!! Sorry dude, but it's unchangable now. But I'll put it in the article text!!
Haha its alright. Its never easy predicting the score and I rarely get it right but I do see this one getting up to 3 or 4 to nada.
fulham to win 1-0 go the mighty fulham
Don't you mean 1-0 to Sunderland? Go the Keane and the former spuds!
Hey! I've gone 2-0 to the Gooners! Though I have also predicted that van Persie will injure himself in the warm up by breaking his elbow putting his arm around the mascot.
Little Dutch
lol come on, LD played very well for Holland midweek. (oops) I say 3-1 to us! :)
Lou the Gunneress
Er... I meant to say "lol come on, LD, RvP played very well for Holland in midweek. (Oops but that's how he'd usually get injured eh?) I say 3-1 to us! :) Haha I just woke up.. :P
Lou the Gunneress
hey ya bmf we just gave you guys a game head start after all you only just managed to win last week, and wait till u go to boro
3-1 to us... Nasri bagging his second of the season and Gallas heading one in. If Ade has woken up he will add a third. Bullard (is he playing) will put a cross in for Zamora to get a consolation.
Oh and in another match in London (never thought I'd back Keane) - Cisse to score a hattrick and give Bentley a friendly little slap!
What's with the American Date? 8/27?
Wow Penz good attention to detail. Gunnerkid's from the US, he wrote this piece, not Rocky, as said above.
Lou the Gunneress
Ah all make sense now. I think 3-0, Adebayor 2, RVP 1. I don't think they'll live with ade in the air.
Boy, you spuds sure live up to being the most deluded fans of all. yiddownunder, we play at Middlesbrough on December, you sure you spuds won't be already so far behind us by then?
Ahh my bad Penz. Will fix in future previews, I completely forgot about that lol
No worries at all GK - there's so much American English on TV anyway, especially our beloved Sky. If you convert the dates, you'd have to do the spellings, etc. so don't bother! :D
Lou the Gunneress
Lol okay Lou. So you are predicting a break out game for RvP too right?
Just checked, RvP's playing and I think he'll be brilliant! Kolo's back and has squeezed out Djourou too.
Lou the Gunneress
cisse... cisse... cisse.... oh yeah baby.
good news, good news... before we even start the game, spuds lost to Sunderland. not good for a team that aimed to break into the top four, is it? too bad, too bad... maybe next season, again...
A lot of singing from the away crowd. :)
Lou the Gunneress
That is a ******** disgrace, this ref should be sacked after that. Not to over-react, but not only did he not spot a clear red card offence but he gave the freekick the other way. WTF??!!
Am I the only one thinking that maybe, just maybe, if it wasn't Eboue, the decision would've gone our way...?! Ahhh RvP should have scored!
Lou the Gunneress
We're looking really ....... the only word I can think of is .... Crap.
It's gotta be said ... some of those Fulham fans are a bit thick.
bit of a nerve of Sagna to wedge his foot under the Fulhams defenders boot as he tried to get his balance...
Enough is enough! How did the ref and linesman both miss that stepping on Sagna's foot again?!
Lou the Gunneress
Was it Radarman? It's very fast for me, oh well..
Lou the Gunneress
It's good to see our boys not putting up with this "putting the ball out" bull***** anymore. We've been screwed over far too many times before.
lol...yes Lou...only the ref didn't see it..if he had, Fulham would have got a fee kick and I supect , Sagna a talking to...this guy need to be told its not three quarters into the season yet....we are not 5 points clear no need to start stitching us up yet !!
I wonder if anyone has a cattle-prod on the bench ?
I also wonder if we should just give Robin the Oranje shirt and he'll score those brilliant goals again..?!
Lou the Gunneress
Well the was probably one of the worst halfs of football I've seen in years. Not one good player out there. Hopefully we'll come out stronger second half. We need more commitment and desire.
The side is just not the same without Fabregas in it. Its just been so poor from the midfield especially, Eboue and Denilson.
This Arsenal side still has Eboue in it, that says it all.
Professor Calculus
If it had had Essien, Veloso, or any other DM you want instead of Eboue, that still wouldn't have made the other ten ***** poor performances any better.
This is hurting my eyes.
I haven't seen us give away the ball so much...
Lou the Gunneress
the passing is poor and predictable. we need that little spaniard back and we need someone competent to put in beside him. eboue is NOT good enough to be in this team.
Maybe if we lose it might persuade Wenger to squeeze his hand into his incredibly tight pockets .... lol
WTF is denilson doing?
This kind of needed to happen, I just hope this is a wake up call to all the fans who have bought into the Arsenal FC propaganda machine, this team is underinvested and reliant on a 21 year old, the fact that Arsenal still have no solid midfield after the departures and injuries of last season is unforgivable, Arsenal should expect injuries and they should expect internationals to have a bad affect, these are the exact types of games which have meant no silverware for three years on the spin, Wenger has not yet sorted it out. The evidence is out there.
Professor Calculus
Toure - Possibly the only good player today - off for Song.
Er... I think Sagna's ok too Rocky..
Lou the Gunneress
Worst performance in Arsene Wenger reign???
We were cr@p. The better team won. I'll go back to my reading and try to forget about it now.
Lou the Gunneress
my granny would have kept the ball better than denilson...he was the *****e today !!occasionaly nasri looked pretty good tho...! second game of the season we lose 1-0 to fulham ! NO EXCUSES !! no desire shown by any of the players...we defo will finish without silverware unless we can find some kind of form...SO *****ED OFF !!!
Complete and utter crap. The only poll this week had better be who was the worst. When Eboue plays a whole game and isn't our worst player Wenger needs to find a new way to motivate them. They played as if they just didn't care. No heart in that match.
well only 3 points behind arse, now ye no how we felt
I just hope Arsene Wenger doesn't come out and blame the wreckless tackles for the defeat. He has every right to be upset with them but they were in no way influencial on the result.
Shambolic. Uninspired. Flat.
I kepting thinking just how Liverpool played crap and won both games. The late goals were from Torres, Carragher and Gerrard. And who did we have in midfield? Go figure. I rate Denilson, but the thing with young players is the lack of consistency. He played brilliantly in all the pre-season games (too many of them imo) and you just never know. Sigh. Arsene we need that new "body" you keep talking about!!
Lou the Gunneress
I know Cesc is out and that will change everything, but what stood out for me was the absolute lack of hunger or concern for the game. I think that element is where Flamini was the most crucial to the team - that guy was on fire from the minute he stepped on the field until the final whistle - and that was contagious. Some of these players better step up and show they can lead when others around them fall flat.
123 - You play Chelsea next week, I'd concentrate on your own team if I were you :)
i no prob be 3 defeats for us i dint mean it in a bad way honest.
Hey look on the bright side.....we lost to Bolton last year and still won the league.....
I don't want to dwell on this game too much as I'm very convinced it's a bad day at the office thing. But just how so many players had an off day at the same time, I don't know. 1. Internationals? That's Gallas, Sagna, Clichy, RvP, Eboue and Ade (the latter two assumed, as their countries played, I didn't check the teamsheets). Players just coming back from injuries? That's Kolo and Nasri. But I can't explain how Denilson had his worst game for us ever when he's always been around and he was so brilliant the past few weeks. I really don't know. (Just as inexplicable as the ref's off day too.)
Lou the Gunneress
united can u pls buy our sulk....asap
I think you lacked chemistry, especially in the midfield-attack area . Ironically, last season , chemistry was your main weapon.
gallas bottled it for fulham goal
isn't it clear enough now? Denilson and Walcott are not good enough to be in the starting eleven line-up. Eboue is not a central midfield.. stop being stingy and get a real defensive player before more points are lost. we totally deserved to lose today. Song was good when he came on, hardly made any mistake.
a serious kick in the arse for us i think. if lessons are learned from todays complete shambles then maybe this is a blessing in disguise. fair play to fulham, the better team won.
A real poor performance by you guys. Like k_chelski said, I think you lacked chemistry, and when on earth will Adebayor stop pretending to be Henry? He needs to know - he'll never score on Henry's technique. Anyway, can't wait for our own match tomorrow :)
We are so far behind Chelsea and United it isn't funny guys. When Arsene moves into the foetus position we know the signs arent good. Arsene has done good things but it is time to move on now - your faith in these bums is no proven to be misplaced.

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