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Fulham welcome Arsenal:- Match Preview

last updated Friday 19th April 2013, 1:21 PM

Fulham manager Martin Jol
Fulham manager
Martin Jol
Martin Jol
The game at the Emirates between Arsenal and Fulham in November was one of the most entertaining I've seen all season. Dimitar Berbatov was the best player on the pitch and gave something of a masterclass in controlling a game without actually moving very much; helping Fulham come from 2-0 down to lead 3-2. After another Arsenal goal and then a last-minute Mikel Arteta penalty miss, the teams shared the points and six goals between them.

You may remember Arsene Wenger's rather startled expression in his post-match interview on Match of the Day with my colleague Jonathan Legard, who asked the Arsenal boss why he had not tried to sign Berbatov himself. It was a great question, to which Wenger gave the less than convincing response that he hadn't known that Berbatov was available.

Five months on and Fulham's job is really done for another year. Forty points on the board with five games to spare represents a success and they look set for their usual upper mid-table finish.

To be so consistent without spending ridiculous money is a testament to sensible management of the squad and of the business by Martin Jol and chief executive Alistair Mackintosh, both of whom wisely choose to allow the chairman to take the lion's share of the credit.

Arsenal's win at Jol's old club Bayern Munich (for whom he made Bundesliga appearances in 1978-79) may not have kept them in the Champions League, but it certainly seems to have galvanised them for the last few weeks of the Premier League.

That win in Germany followed a defeat at Spurs in the derby - since then, Arsenal have taken 13 points whilst Spurs have taken four, albeit from one fewer match.

It's been a season of frustration, introspection and some dissent at Arsenal. They have been out of the Champions League qualifying positions for most of the campaign, but seem to have timed their run to perfection, leaving Spurs most likely to miss out. Arsenal fans would see that as a very sweet twist to a rather sour season.


  • Fulham are unbeaten against Arsenal in their past four meetings. Arsenal's last win was 2-1 at home in December 2010.

  • The Gunners last triumphed at Craven Cottage in September 2009, Robin van Persie scoring the only goal.

  • Arsenal have won 15 of the 23 Premier League meetings between the two clubs. Fulham have only won three of them.

  • Fulham

  • Fulham have only taken one point from their last three matches, having been unbeaten in the previous five.

  • The Cottagers have picked up 11 points from London derbies this season. They have only fared better in 2002-2003 (13 points).

  • They have benefited from five own goals this season, a league-high with Manchester United.

  • Dimitar Berbatov has scored five goals in the club's last seven matches. Ten of his 13 goals this season have been scored in the first half.

  • Arsenal

  • Arsene Wenger's side have won seven of their last nine league games (W7, D1, L1).

  • The Gunners have scored 18 goals in the final 15 minutes of games this season, by far the most in the top-flight.

  • Ten of Olivier Giroud's 11 Premier League goals this season have come at the Emirates.

  • Mikel Arteta has scored five successive penalties in the Premier League since missing a last minute spot-kick against Fulham in November.

Source Steve Wilson at BBCSports
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