Arsenal will travel to London to play Fulham on Saturday, 24 August in their second Premier League fixture of the new season. The Gunners will be hoping to build on an impressive 3-0 victory away at Fenerbahce. With the North London club being resolutely beaten by Aston Villa on the opening day, pressure is on Arsene Wenger to provide results. The mid-week win in Turkey will serve well to appease dissenting fans as it has almost ensured the club's participation in this season's UEFA Champions League.
Fulham will be hoping to begin the season with back-to-back victories for the first time since 2000/01. Last weekend, Martin Jol's team recorded an impressive 1-0 away victory at Sunderland. In Arsenal, the former Tottenham Hotspur manager faces a tougher test, but will be confident of getting a good result considering the game is at Craven Vottage. All of Fulham's three victories against Arsenal in the Premier League have been at home. Jol has been active in the transfer market, significantly adding to his firepower up front. Darren Bent has been brought in from Aston Villa as has Adel Taarabt. Forwards Dimitar Berbatov and Darren Bent, with Taarabt playing just behind has enough creativity to trouble the best of teams. Scot Parker has also been signed to provide more defensive security in midfield.
Center back Laurent Koscielny is suspended for three games after receiving a red card against Villa. Winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will also miss due to a knee injury. Defender Thomas Vermaelen and midfielder Mikel Arteta are also unavailable as they are recovering from long-term problems. As a result, Wenger may be forced to play right-back Bacary Sagna in the central defense and bring in Carl Jenkinson to play on the right. A boost for Wenger is the fitness and form of Thomas Rosicky. The Czech international's time at the club has been plagued by injury but has started this season seemingly fit and sharp.
Pajtim Kasami, who scored Fulham's winning goal against Sunderland, is likely to be included once again. Jol will also be tempted to play loan-signing Bent as he has scored seven goals in his 11 appearances against Arsenal. Goalkeeper Martin Stekelenburg is out with a shoulder injury and will be replaced by David Stockdale.
Where to Watch
Kick-off is at 5:15pm IST (Saturday, 24 August) and live coverage will be available on Star Sports and ESPN HD.