Fulham vs Arsenal: Predictions, Preview, Team News, Expected Lineups and Injuries of English Premier League Game From Craven Cottage

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Aug 23, 2013 02:44 AM EDT
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Arsenal Aaron Ramsey Santi Cazorla
Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey celebrates with teammate Santi Cazorla after scoring against Fenerbahce in their Champions League playoff first leg, August 21"

 

A 3-0 win over Fenerbahce in the Champions League playoffs was quite impressive; now another similar performance at Fulham in the early kickoff of the English Premier League on Saturday, would make the week near perfect.

Of course, Arsenal have not made any real signings yet, but then Arsene Wenger has promised a few new faces before the window closes on September 2.

For now, though, he will have his eye on another potent performance from his small squad against Fulham at Craven Cottage.

Laurent Koscielny picked up a nasty injury in the game against Fenerbahce, but with the French international already suspended for the game after seeing red against Aston Villa last weekend, he will have another few days to recover.

Bacary Sagna will again deputize for Koscielny at the back, with Carl Jenkinson slotting in at right-back. Arsenal are still missing Thomas Vermaelen, but the defender is back running and should return in a few weeks.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Abou Diaby and Mikel Arteta are out longer, however, although Arsenal could have a new midfielder in place possibly for the Fulham clash with Wenger seriously considering giving Mathieu Flamini, who has been training at London Colney, a contract.

The experienced Frenchman who left Arsenal in 2008 will add some experience to the squad and his versatility will be seen as an added advantage.

Arsenal currently need as many bodies as possible, and the sooner Wenger can bring in new faces the better.

For now, though, the onus will again be on the likes of Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey to ensure the Gunners pick up their first win of the Premier League after last weekend's debacle against Villa.

Ramsey was brilliant against Fenerbahce and seems to be growing in stature with every passing game - the more he plays in his preferred central midfield position, the better he seems to get.

Fulham have been a bit of a bogey time off late for Arsenal, and Wenger will be well aware of the threat posed by the fellow Londoners - especially a certain Dimitar Berbatov, who seems to keep his best games for Arsenal - the North London side did win the last game between the two sides 1-0, though.

Darren Bent has also been added to the Fulham squad, with the England international capable of converting even a half-chance, while Scott Parker will add a bit more bite to the midfield.

Sagna has looked quite capable at center-back, but the Frenchman will have to be at his best and communicate well with Per Mertesacker if they are to keep the Fulham attacking threat at bay and come away with another clean sheet.

Fulham, who will be without goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg and Kieran Richardson, pulled off an impressive 1-0 away victory over Sunderland last weekend, and Martin Jol is putting together a strong side well capable of finishing in the top ten this season.

Arsenal cannot be complacent even for a minute, and while two defeats in the first two games is unfathomable, if they play anything like they did against Fenerbahce, then a first win of the Premier League season will come their way.

Expected lineups: Fulham: Stockdale; Riether, Hangeland, Hughes, Briggs; Sidwell, Boateng; Taarabt, Kasami, Duff; Berbatov.

Arsenal: Szczesny; Jenkinson, Sagna, Mertesacker, Gibbs; Ramsey, Wilshere; Walcott, Rosicky, Cazorla; Giroud.

Prediction: 2-1 to Arsenal

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