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Fulham visit Arsenal -- PL Match Preview

last updated Friday 17th January 2014, 2:04 PM

Fulham manager Rene Meulensteen
Fulham Head Coach
Rene Meulensteen
Rene Meulensteen
Having notched four consecutive league victories since Christmas, Arsenal would seem to have little reason to fear a visit from Fulham.

After all, the Cottagers have never won a game at either Highbury or the Emirates. They have also conceded four goals to each of Everton, Manchester City and Sunderland and six to Hull in the space of the last month or so and have the fewest clean sheets and most goals conceded in the division.

So where can Fulham fans find a few vestiges of hope to cling to before they hop on the District Line?

Well, Fulham have drawn each of their last two games at Arsenal, and were leading in both. You may recall Mark Schwarzer's penalty save from Mikel Arteta last season which, with the last touch of the game, kept the score at 3-3 and left Arsene Wenger ashen-faced and agitated.

Fulham are also fresh from a morale-boosting FA Cup replay success over Norwich in which they scored three goals for the first time since October. Even better, their towering defensive alpha male, Brede Hangeland, was back in the team having spent almost three months on the sidelines nursing a bad back. I know how he feels.

Then there is Steve Sidwell. Who, Sidwell? Steve Sidwell? The ginger haired midfielder who sits in front of the back four breaking up opposition attacks? The 'wasn't quite good enough to make it at Arsenal and Chelsea' Sidwell? The guy who is solid and reliable, but functional and never flashy?

Yep, that's the one. That's the same Steve Sidwell who has just scored in three successive appearances for the first time since he was a twinkle in Reading's midfield a decade ago.

Throw in the laconic Dimitar Berbatov, who tends to raise himself to face the big clubs, the industrious Clint Dempsey, the ever-ready Scott Parker and a few Arsenal injuries and you have the makings of a bit of Fulham optimism.

But only a bit.


  • Arsenal have never lost at home to Fulham in any competition spanning 110 years (W22, D5).

  • However, Fulham earned a Premier League draw at the Emirates Stadium on each of their last two visits.

  • Arsenal

  • The Gunners are unbeaten in their subsequent nine home league matches since an opening-day defeat by Aston Villa, dropping just four points and conceding only three goals.

  • They have the joint best defensive record in the division, conceding 19 goals in 21 matches and keeping nine clean sheets.

  • Arsenal's total of 48 points after 21 matches is their highest since 2007-08 (50 points). They finished in third place that season.

  • No team has scored the first goal in more Premier League games this season than Arsenal (16).

  • Olivier Giroud has scored the opening goal on a league-high six occasions this season.

  • Fulham

  • Fulham have lost 14 of their first 21 top-flight matches in a season for the first time in their history.

  • They have conceded 46 league goals - 11 more than any other side in the division - and kept the fewest clean sheets (3).

  • The west London side have let in four goals or more in four of their last six league fixtures.

  • Steve Sidwell's goal against Sunderland last weekend was Fulham's seventh from a corner this season; a record matched only by Manchester City.

  • Darren Bent has scored seven goals in 11 Premier League appearances against Arsenal.

Source Steve Wilson at BBCSports
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