Arsenal welcome Fulham to the Emirates on Saturday looking to their Premier League campaign back on track.
It wasn’t the result at Old Trafford that was the problem, in fact 2-1 flattered us, it was the manner of the defeat. We were poor in every department and while there were signs of improvement during the first half in Germany, we need to up the tempo on Saturday against Fulham.
We currently sit seventh in the league after three defeats in five games compounded us to our worst ever start to a Premier League season under Arsene Wenger, which is all the more bizarre when you consider the fact we have the best defensive record in the division!
Arsenal will be without midfielder Jack Wilshere for the game after his sending off last week against United, Francis Coquelin and Aaron Ramsey will be pushing to replace the Englishman but I’d go with Coquelin for his energy next to Arteta. Besides, Ramsey faces a late fitness test on a groin injury.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also faces a late fitness test on a hip injury but goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny may be in the squad after playing for the under-21′s on Friday afternoon, but is likely to be on the bench at best. Vito Mannone has performed well in recent weeks and Wenger is highly unlikely to replace him for tomorrows clash.
Gervinho, Kieran Gibbs, Tomas Rosicky and Abou Diaby all remain out. With Gibbs still out, hopefully Arsene will continue with Thomas Vermaelen at left back. Santos has been a liability and while Vermaelen had his moments on Tuesday, he’s certainly a more solid option than the Brazilian.
Fulham are sweating on the fitness of midfielder Mahamadou Diarra who is rated at 50:50 to play. Usually that means they play, so expect him in their starting eleven. Simon Davies remains out.
We laboured to a 1-0 win over QPR in our last home game and Wenger has to pick the tempo up. Fulham have a poor record against us, losing 22 of their 26 visits to Highbury/Emirates, but they are a well orgiansied side under Martin Jol and they’ll test us. Make no mistake.
But if we can grab an early goal to not only settle the nerves of the players, but the fans also, then we should be fine. I’m going for an Arsenal win, but only if we get our game ticking in the final third! Arsenal 2-0 Fulham.
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