19th April 2013
Fulham slipped further down the league standings as the were hammered at home by Chelsea in midweek, and the Cottagers face another stern test in their attempt to remain in the top half of the standings. Arsenal remained in fourth in spite of the goalless draw with Everton, but another slip-up would seriously damage their top 4 hopes.
The main objective is already complete, with Fulham having reached the magic 40-point mark, although Martin Jol’s side don’t seem to be fully living up to their potential. The Cottagers were tipped to join the race for European places after the likes of Dimitar Berbatov, Mladen Petric and Hugo Rodallega all arrived in the summer, but Martin Jol hasn’t quite managed to get the maximum out of his players. While Fulham showed some improvement on the road, they have allowed too many sides to easily escape Craven Cottage with maximum points, with midweek defeat to Chelsea the last of those home setbacks. The fact is the Cottagers have missed Steve Sidwell over the last couple of weeks, but I seriously doubt his return can change much in team’s performances. Fulham have been pretty disappointing ever since they virtually secured survival with the 3-2 home win over QPR, and they clearly face an uphill task against in-form Arsenal. With top scorer Dimitar Berbatov misfiring at the moment and Damien Duff out injured, the hosts don’t have much to hope for at the moment. Ashkan Dejagah and Mahamadou Diarra miss out through injury, whilst Emmanuel Frimpong is ineligible to face his parent club.
Arsene Wenger and his players had to take a lot of stick for some under-par results this season, but they, nonetheless, showed a lot of character to revive their top 4 bid when everybody was writing them off following the defeat at White Hart Lane. The Gunners become one of just two teams that have beaten mighty Bayern Munich at Alianz Arena this season and it was from that game that things started to fall into place. Arsenal went on to record four straight victories in the Premier League, thus climbing back to the top 4, while they were very close to making it five on the bounce, having largely outclassed Everton in midweek. The Gunners may be sitting in fourth place at the moment, but they are just two points clear of bitter rivals Tottenham, who have a game in hand, meaning this is a must-win game for the Emirates outfit. However, having won last three fixtures on the road, Arsenal look a good bet to extend the winning run against out-of-sorts Fulham. Lukasz Fabianski and Abou Diaby miss out through injury, while Tomas Rosicky faces a fitness test.
Fulham appear to be far from the desired form and after they were soundly beaten at home by Chelsea, nobody would be surprised if Arsenal claim maximum points at Craven Cottage as well. The Gunners have seriously improved their away form of late and I can see them making it four in a row on the travels.
Verdict: Away win Arsenal (2)
Best Odds: 4/5
Bookmaker: Paddy Power