Arsenal v Fulham - Match Preview, Stats & Team News

Arsenal Emirates

To be played on Saturday 18th January 2014 at 15:00. Venue: Emirates Stadium, London.

Odds: Arsenal 2/9, Draw 23/4, Fulham 14/1

Last season: 3-3

Preview & injury news

Arsenal have been digging out their results in recent weeks as they are sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League, with Manchester City and Chelsea in hot pursuit. Having had a little dip in form, Arsenal have won their last four and put in some gutsy performances which you could argue resemble Championship winning sides. They seem pretty strong at the back with Per Mertesaker and Laurent Koscielny at the heart of their defence, whilst competition for places in the middle of the park is pretty tough, and a healthy amount of players are making significant contributions in front of goal.

For Fulham, their league standing isn't so great after last weekend's 4-1 defeat to Sunderland, but Rene Meulensteen's men will be buoyed by the convincing manner in which they dispatched Norwich City in the FA Cup third round replay. They currently sit a point above the relegation zone in 16th place having won three and lost seven of their last 10 Premier League games.

On the injury front, Tomas Rosicky was the latest to join the Arsenal treatment room after picking up a broken nose in a challenge in Arsenal's win over Aston Villa on Monday night. Nacho Monreal was substituted during Monday's game as well and is reported to have a fractured metatarsal, meaning he will have a sustained period on the sidelines and Kieran Gibbs should reclaim a starting place in the side. No timescale has yet to be put on Mikel Arteta's recovery from a calf injury whilst Nicklas Bendtner is due to be sidelined until the end of the month.

On a brighter note for Arsenal, the impressive Aaron Ramsey is due to return to the side after a thigh injury, whilst Thomas Vermalen is likely to return to the squad after a knee problem, though it's likely he will have to contend with a place on the bench. Yaya Sanogo is close to returning to full fitness after a back injury.

For Fulham, they have a relatively clean bill of health with the only injury concern surrounding full-back Matthew Briggs who has a groin problem, but was unlikely to play a major part given his short amount of game time so far this season.

Key stats

Olivier Giroud is Arsenal's top scorer in the league this season with nine goals.

Steve Sidwell is Fulham's top scorer in the league this season with five goals.

Arsenal had 64% possession in their last league match, a 2-1 win away against Aston Villa.

Fulham had 59% possession in their last league match, a 4-1 defeat at home to Sunderland.

5 players to watch

Olivier Giroud - He was back in the side after illness on Monday night and back in amongst the goals. Giroud scored twice in the same fixture against this weekend's opponents last season, and scored against them in the reverse fixture earlier on in the season. You wouldn't doubt him to get on the score-sheet again.

Dimitar Berbatov - He's always the player to watch in the Fulham team, more often that not for his attitude. But when he's on form he is very difficult to play against as Arsenal discovered last season. A similar performance, and a couple of goals again would do the Cottagers very nicely.

Aaron Ramsey - After a short spell on the sidelines, Arsenal's candidate for player of the season is in line for a return to the side. If he can pick up from where he left off then the Gunners will be confident of claiming their fifth league win on the bounce.

Steve Sidwell - Fulham's top scorer this season in the league and in the middle of the park he is going to have to work very hard against an energetic Arsenal side if he wants his team to come away with a positive result. 

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - He made his return from a long injury layoff against Aston Villa and looked pretty sharp so he may be involved a lot more against Fulham, and will look to prove he can inject fresh impetus into Arsenal's title charge.

Earlier on in the season

Fulham 1-3 Arsenal - August 2013

After a disappointing start to their league season, Arsenal bounced back by building on their Champions League win over Fenerbahce with a comfortable win at Craven Cottage. Lukas Podolski scored twice with a goal in each half after Olivier Giroud gave the Gunners the lead early on. Fulham managed to grab a consolation for themselves through Darren Bent 15 minutes from time, as they failed to build on their opening day victory against Sunderland. 

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch