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Fulham welcome Arsenal ~ Match Preview .

last updated Friday 20th May 2011, 12:56 PM

Fulham manager Mark Hughes Arsenal's record of two wins in 12 matches tells you all you need to know about why they have slipped to fourth in the table.

Since the Carling Cup final defeat to Birmingham it has all unravelled for Arsene Wenger's side. It has been an unsettling period for the club and Wenger has come under fire for his lack of activity in the transfer market, as their weaknesses at centre half and in goal have been regularly exposed.

Unless the Gunners beat Fulham and Manchester City slip up away at Bolton, Wenger's side will be stuck in fourth. With that comes a tricky qualifying round to reach the group stage of next season's Champions League, where they could face sides of the calibre of Bayern Munich or Lyon.

Fulham could find themselves in Europe next season as they are in line to qualify for the Europa League through the Respect Fair Play rankings.

One thing that has gone under the radar is that if the Cottagers beat Arsenal, and Everton lose to Chelsea, they will finish seventh on goal difference. This would equal their best-ever finish in top-flight history, set under Roy Hodgson two years ago.

Their season has had a remarkable turnaround, given that back at Christmas they briefly flirted with relegation and Mark Hughes's job was rumoured to be under threat.

Hughes said things would be different when they got all their players back from injury, and he was right. The return of striker Bobby Zamora in particular gave everyone at the club such a massive lift.

Their home form has been so consistent, and with a potential return to Europe in the offing, there is much to look forward to at Craven Cottage next season.

  • The sides have met on 48 occasions. Arsenal have won 34 times, Fulham seven and there have been seven draws.

  • All of Fulham's seven victories have come at Craven Cottage.

  • They have beaten Arsenal just twice in 19 Premier League matches: 1-0 in 2008 and 2-1 in 2006.

  • Fulham have scored just twice in their last six meetings with the Gunners.

  • Fulham attempted 14 shots (including blocks) in the reverse meeting between these sides, the most of all 19 teams to visit the Emirates in the league this term.

  • Fulham have won five out of their last nine matches.

  • Fulham have kept clean sheets in four of their previous seven games.

  • The next goal Fulham let in will be their 500th conceded in the Premier League.

  • They are also the only club without a red card in the division this season. The last club to go a whole season without a sending off was Liverpool in 2008-09.

  • Andrew Johnson and Danny Murphy are two short of 50 Premier League goals.

  • If Clint Dempsey scores he will equal Louis Saha's club record of 13 goals scored in one Premier League season.

  • 30% of Fulham's goals have come from headers, the highest proportion in the division.

  • Arsene Wenger's side have won two of their last 10 league games (W2, D5, L3).

  • They have won 19 league matches - only once in the last 13 seasons have the club failed to win 20 matches in a single season - in 2006-07.

  • Samir Nasri's brace against Fulham in December took him to eight league goals (and 11 in all comps) for the season - he has scored just two in the league since (four in all comps).

  • Robin van Persie has scored as many Premier League goals in 2011 as the entire Blackburn Rovers team.

  • If Van Persie scores against Fulham, he will equal the record of 18 goals scored in a season from January 1 onwards held by Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo.

  • Fulham - Leading goalscorers
    Dempsey: 13 goals (12 league); Zamora: 6 goals (4 league)

  • Arsenal - Leading goalscorers
    Van Persie: 21 goals (17 league); Nasri: 15 goals (10 league)

  • Referee: Martin Atkinson

Source John Motson at BBCSport
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