- Fulham v Arsenal: the foibles of the referee
- Fulham v Arsenal: High scoring and those red and yellow cards
- Fulham v Arsenal: why we should never shout “Shoot!” when a chance arises
- Fulham v Arsenal: time for Arsenal to make amends – and the option of a new forward
By Bulldog Drummond
So ahead of today’s game we’ve got all of the “Big 7” in the top ten places in the league. A win for Arsenal would take the club onto 43 points at the top of the league, which could then be overtaken by Liverpool and/or Manchester City each with their own game in hand. Tottenham won’t move up the league even if they win, nor down if they lose.
Meanwhile, although there is a lot of criticism of Arsenal’s forward line no one mentions that Arsenal have the second-best defence in the league, nor the lowest number of yellow cards in the league. Neither of those issues win titles, but each can go some way to helping.
Arsenal’s team news is fairly straightforward: Kai Havertz is available after a one-match suspension while Thomas Partey, Jurrien Timber, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Fabio Vieira remain out with injury.
That injury level is pretty much average for clubs at the moment. Brighton have 11 players out and three teams including Tottenham have ten men down. All the big clubs have a fair number of injuries apart from Manchester City who just have three.
Fulham go into this game on the back of a bad run which itself followed a really good run. First they beat Nottingham Forest 5-0 and then West Ham United 5-0 (both at home) which took them up to tenth in the league. But since then they have lost 3-0 to Newcastle, 2-0 to Burnley and 3-0 to Bournemouth. The names Hyde and Jekyll spring to mind. It seems that if they were to lose today without scoring it would be the first time this has happened since 1971.
In those days they were in League Division Two, which was indeed the second tier. Their results were a 0-3 home defeat to Queens Park Rangers, 2-0 away to Middlesbrough, 0-2 at home to Burnley and then finally 4-0 away to Swindon.
In their fifth match in the run they beat Orient 2-1, but then lost the next two games, again with scoring, against Luton (2-0) and Sheffield Wednesday (4-0). They finished 20th out of 22 that season but didn’t go down.
Perhaps in the light of this we might compare where the two teams were after 19 games last season
So Arsenal are now ten points worse off than a year ago, and so are Fulham. But better news comes with the fact that Arsenal are unbeaten in away matches in London across their last nine games, which I think is a record. And we generally win the last game of the year.
As for the team. The Standard gives us
- White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko;
- Odegaard, Rice, Havertz;
- Saka, Jesus, Martinelli
and so does The Racing Post
And so goes Sports Mole
and with three out of three that probably means that is who will start.
- Is the Premier League getting more exciting or simply ever more predictable?
- How far down might these points deducations take clubs?
- Big clubs that foul less lose fewer players of their own to injury
- What takes clubs up and down the league: attack or defence?
- Referee Extremism: the situation in Spain and in England