Cottagers Brace For Big Guns

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Theo Walcott was Arsenal's leading scorer last season. Image courtesy of
Fulham  face Arsenal  at Craven Cottage on Saturday night (AEST) in the unfamiliar position of being ahead of their London rivals on the Premier League ladder. Martin Jol’s side made a strong start to the new campaign by beating Sunderland 1-0  away from home last weekend and will be hopeful of building on that success with victory against the side that finished fourth last season.

England midfielder Scott Parker could make his debut for the Cottagers after joining the club from Tottenham during the week, but Maarten Stekelenberg and Kieron Richardson are unlikely to play after picking up injuries at the Stadium of Light last Saturday. On-loan striker Darren Bent  will be looking forward to this match, having scored six goals in his past eight matches against Arsenal.

The Gunners have a host of injuries problems themselves going into this match with Thomas Vermaelen, Abou Diaby, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mikel Arteta all long term absentees. Laurent Koscielny will miss out through suspension following his red card in Arsenal’s shock 1-3 defeat to Aston Villa on the opening weekend, but Nacho Monreal is available after returning from injury off the bench in the 3-0  Champions League Playoff victory over Fenerbache. Olivier Giroud  was on the scoresheet in that fixture and will be looking to add to his goal tally, with all 12 of his Premier League goals coming in the capital.

Three of the past five meetings between these clubs have ended in a draw , but Arsenal has a great record at Craven Cottage, winning eight of their twelve visits to the ground.

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