0 users online

Fulham v Arsenal - Match Preview

last updated Friday 01st November 2002, 1:32 PM
Fulham Manager Jean Tigana Fulham will attempt to continue Arsenal's streak when the French connection assembles at Loftus Road on Sunday .

The champions are in the middle of their worst losing run in 19 years having lost their last four games at home and abroad. Fulham, of course, will have taken heart from the fact that Arsenal are clearly beatable despite Wenger's early season claims.

The Cottagers will also want to re-establish themselves in the top half of the table with a win on Sunday. They have slipped to eleventh in the Premiership with some believing that their Intertoto Cup efforts may be the reason for Fulham's recent poor form.

The Cottagers certainly appear to be more prolific in front of goal this season having converted 13% of their shots compared to a below-average nine per cent return in 2001-02. They have also made more crosses, tackles and blocks than the Gunners

However Fulham will definitely struggle to get anything from a game they would love to win if they are not 100% fit as well as committed.

Arsenal, hungry for a win have an attack that will punish any team lacking effort, but Tigana's men will surely be up for arguably their biggest game of their season, a London derby against the Champions.

  Fulham Arsenal Div
Games Played 11 11 11
Goals 16 26 13
Ave Goals Per Game 1.5 2.4 1.2
Shots (excluding blocked shots) 124 149 114
Ave Shots Per Game 11 14 10
% Shots On Target 44% 52% 43%
% Goals To Shots 13% 17% 11%
Short Passes 2977 3719 2840
Long Passes 1458 1511 1287
Total Passes 4435 5230 4127
Ave Passes Per Game 403 475 230
% Overall Pass Completion 72% 80% 73%
Total Crosses 253 243 250
Ave Crosses Per Game 23 22 23
Completion 26% 26% 25%
Goals Conceded 14 13 13
Ave Goals Conceded Per Game 1.3 1.2 1.2
Tackles 385 359 309
Ave Tackles Per Game 35 33 28
Tackles Won % 74% 73% 72%
Blocks, Clearances & Interceptions 463 438 470
Ave Blocks, etc., Per Game 42 40 43
Fouls 171 147 151
Ave Fouls Per Game 16 13 14
Yellow Cards 20 18 18
Fouls per yellow 9 8 8
Red Cards 1 1 1
stats from opta
Arsenal Manager Arsenal will be desperate to close the four-point lead Liverpool have opened up at the top of the table in recent weeks. Arsene Wenger has to rally his troops together quickly, as they cannot afford to keep conceding ground to the Premiership leaders.

Although Wenger admitted that the current losing run had affected confidence, he said his players had the mental strength to bounce back.

"You always have a little doubt in your mind when you lose three games, but I am here to give them belief," said Wenger.

"We have a great spirit and the players are mentally strong enough individually to help each other, trust each other.

"This is a team of winners and you don't lose your winning streak in two days or in one week."

Arsenal's recent shacky patch has lead to harsh criticism of their notoriously solid defence. However Gunner's midfielder Freddie Ljungberg believes the whole team are to blame for the bad run of results.

"It is always a team effort whether you defend well or score a lot of goals," said Ljungberg. "The fact that we have conceded two goals in each of our last three games means you have to blame the whole team."

A clean sheet and three points on Saturday would certainly ease the pressure of the under-fire Arsenal back four

Player performance analysts Opta Index can reveal their determination to be successful by the fact that their tally of 385 challenges is the most in the division.

Meanwhile Arsenal are not far behind in second place with 359 tackles attempted so this match will not only be between two highly technically gifted teams but should contain be all the commitment and desire that the supporters demand in a London derby.

Jeff Winter

Matchday Referee: Jeff Winter, Stockton-on-Tees, Cleveland

Jeff Winter has been a regular Premiership referee over the past seven seasons, but arrived in the top flight after a number of years as one of the country's top linesmen. The 47-year-old spent six seasons as a Football League referee's assistant, before graduating to gain full control of matches.

Previously a financial services advisor by trade, Winter is yet to make FIFA's referee list and needs some more high profile matches in order to make the step up. His career highlight so far has been taking charge of a women's FA Cup final. Winter is hopeful of developing his reputation as a dependable official this season and is always a popular figure amongst the players - because he only dished out an average of 2.65 yellow cards in his 20 matches during 2001/02.

(Ed. In his 5 games so far this season Mr. Winter is issuing yellows at a slower rate than last season and still at a slower rate than other refs. His last Fulham game was the Charlton home clash when he booked Rufus for dissent. Last season he reffed 3 Fulham Premiership games, Charlton, Liverpool and Southampton, and booked just one Fulham player. It was Rufus again, that time for unsporting behaviour, not much love lost there then)

Mr. Winter's score sheet Average Premiership Referee score sheet
Total Match
Total Match
Games 20 16
Fouls 638 31.90 472 29.81
Penalties 3 0.15 3 0.19
Yellow cards 51 2.55 49 3.07
Red Cards 2 0.10 3 0.19
Fouls per Yellow 12.5   9.7  

Latest League Table
Latest Form Table
Latest Squad Stats
Latest Disciplinary Stats
DESPITE losing their last four matches Arsenal are still odds-on favourites to beat Fulham in the London derby at Craven Cottage on Loftus Road on Sunday.

The title favourites are generally available at 8-11 to defeat Jean Tigana’s side, while the Cottagers themselves are as big as 4-1 with internet bookie Bet Direct to follow in the footsteps of both Everton and Blackburn who have inflicted misery on the Gunners in recent weeks.

Betting odds Fulham Draw Arsenal
Coral 10/3 11/5 8/11
Hills 11/4 23/10 4/5
Ladbrokes 3/1 12/5 8/11
SuperSoccer 3/1 5/2 8/11
Stanley 3/1 5/2 8/11
Betfair 39/10 14/5 9/11
All prices subject to fluctuation(particularly Betfair).
Since 1998
"It's been updated!"