Arsenal will focus on the few positives from the 2-2 away draw in a midweek Champions League group stage match, ahead of the Premier League game against Fulham. The Gunners were held in Germany by Bundesliga side Schalke 04 after going two goals up inside the first 30 minutes.
Arsene Wenger's side are nine points behind league leaders Manchester United going into this fixture, and the words of Cottagers' coach Martin Jol, as well as warnings from Wenger himself, should be ringing in the players' ears... lose any games and drop any more points and this is likely to be another league season in which the Emirates club struggles to maintain a respectable finish.
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Kick-off is set for 3pm GMT and live radio commentary is available on BBC Radio 5 live. Online text updates can be found on Gamecast.
The north London club need consistency more than anything else. They have shown glimpses of championship-winning style and substance but more often than not, one win is followed by a string of defeats and that has to change.
The draw at Schalke was a barely deserved one, in a match that the Gunners, apart from the first half-hour, often found themselves struggling to shut their hosts down. The 2-2 draw, on balance, may have been a slightly unfair result to the Germans but something Wenger was understandably happy with. The Frenchman has called for improvement, though, with the coach accepting the team is to blame for the lacklustre football of recent games.
The last league game for Arsenal has no fonder memories - it was the abject 2-1 defeat to United at Old Trafford and the one before a scrappy win, at home, against relegation-threatened QPR. In fact, Arsenal have won only twice in the last five league games and lost to both United and Chelsea in that period.
Fulham, meanwhile, are enjoying a decent start to their season and the Cottagers find themselves in a healthy eighth position in the league, level on points with their hosts for this game. Dutch coach Jol has coped well with the loss of American forward Clint Dempsey and Belgian midfielder Moussa Dembele (both to Spurs), with new signing Mladen Petric (from Hamburg) slotting in well alongside old hands Damien Duff and Steve Sidwell. The signing of Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov has also worked well, with the ex-United player joint top of the club's goal scoring charts with three strikes.
The Cottagers, equally, importantly, are unbeaten since the 1-2 home defeat to champions Manchester City in late September and come into this game after two draws and one win in their last three.
- Last Five Matches (most recent first): D L W W L
- Last Match: Schalke 04 2 - 2 Arsenal
- Last Five Matches (most recent first): D D W D L
- Last Match: Fulham 2 - 2 Everton
Arsenal: Wenger will be without England midfielder Jack Wilshere, after the youngster was sent off for a second bookable offence in the defeat against United.
The good news is that first choice goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is finally match ready. However, since he played the full 90 minutes in an Under 21 game on Friday, he will probably only make a senior team start next weekend, when Spurs visit for a London derby.
Meanwhile, Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky is reportedly back in training but the 32-year-old is nowhere near match-ready; he may, however, start on the bench. The English and Welsh pair of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey, respectively, are believed to be reasonably fit but will face late fitness tests.
Long-term absentees are Ivorian forward Gervinho, Polish goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, wing Kieran Gibbs and midfielder Abou Diaby.
Probable Line-Up: Mannone; Sagna, Mertescaker, Koscielny, Vemaelen; Arteta, Coquelin (Ramsey, if fit); Cazorla; Walcott, Giroud, Podolski
Fulham: Martin Jol has only two major concerns - former Real Madrid midfielder Mahamadou Diarra and Simon Davies. The Mali international is to face a late test and could play some part in this match. Winger Kieran Richardson is the other player who might present a selection issue but, like Diarra, he faces a fitness test and will probably be ready.
The Cottagers do have some history to buck. Jol's side have never won at the Emirates and lost 22 of the 26 games played there. Worse still, the former Tottenham coach has beaten Wenger only once in nine games.
Probable Line-Up: Schwarzer; Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise; Duff, Baird, Sidwell, Diarra, Ruiz; Berbatov
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