When last these teams met on August 24, Arsenal came away with a 3-1 win that propelled Arsenal to a nine-game unbeaten streak in the Premier League. The Gunners have been riding that wave since and remain atop the Premier League table, though just by a point over Manchester City and two over Chelsea.
Fulham have struggled, meanwhile, and the team has a battle on its hands to avoid the relegation zone this season. A matchup against Arsenal won't make that goal any easier.
Let's break down this Premier League matchup.
When: Saturday, January 18 at 10 a.m. ET/3 p.m. GMT
Where: Emirates Stadium, London, England
Watch: NBC Sports Network; NBC Sports Live Extra; BBC One (U.K.)
Odds: Arsenal (67.8 percent), Fulham (13.5 percent) and draw (18.7 percent), according to Bloomberg Sports
Arsenal remain atop the Premier League table, but many pundits believe Manchester City or Chelsea will eventually overcome the Gunners for the league title. Manager Arsene Wenger understands why they might feel that way, but doesn't share the sentiment, as he told Kevin Palmer of ESPN:
People make Man City the favourites or Chelsea the favourites and we can accept that. We have an opportunity to convince people that we are serious about what we can achieve. You can convince people two ways: the quality and consistency of performances and results.
In terms of resources, we cannot compete because they have unlimited resources, but with our resources available, we are ready to compete.
Consistency is important and if you look at the last 12 months, we have had that. We need consistency against the teams in the bottom half and also some outstanding results against the top teams.
According to Palmer's report, both Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta will miss this match, though Wenger may have Nacho Monreal and Tomas Rosicky available despite the pair picking up knocks against Aston Villa.
The return of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to fitness is also a huge factor, especially after Theo Walcott was lost for the season. And Olivier Giroud's return to the scoresheet with a goal against Villa should boost his confidence as Arsenal mount their second-half title push.
With Ramsey and Arteta out, Jack Wilshere will need to put forth another strong performance for the Gunners. He scored a goal and added an assist for the Gunners against Villa, earning WhoScored's Man of the Match with a 7.85 match rating.
For Fulham, a win against Arsenal at the Emirates is a big ask. At this point, the Cottagers will be more interested in staying out of the relegation zone. As Phil Mison of ESPN notes, a solid January transfer window will be required for Fulham to avoid the Championship:
Go out and secure a fast, direct winger, a target man (is Gus Poyet interested in offloading Steven Fletcher?), a commanding central defender and, of course, a left-back.
That is the bare minimum needed in this window. Much as he tries, I've never been convinced by Steve Sidwell. He plays like Adel Taarabt, a wind-up toy with not much going on between the ears. If we can add that elusive successor to Danny Murphy, that puts the cherry on the cake.
Fail to work the market between now and Jan. 31, and with that bunch you have to pick from, Rene [Meulensteen], I'm afraid Fulham are heading into the Championship.
Fulham is currently in 16th place, but just one point clear of 18th-place Cardiff City. They've played decently of late, however, winning three and drawing once in their last six games across all competitions, though 4-1 and 6-0 losses to Sunderland and Hull City, respectively, didn't sit well with supporters.
One player that could be leaving the club this January is forward Dimitar Berbatov, who was linked to the Gunners at the beginning of the transfer window, though those rumours have generally been dismissed. Don't expect him to make much of an impact on this game if he does play—Berbatov has just four goals on the season.
Yes, Fulham have been playing better of late. And yes, Arsenal have some key injuries. But let's be honest—the Gunners are clearly the superior team here, and with the home-field advantage, to boot. Plus, Fulham have yet to take any points from a top-10 team.
Arsenal has too much talent and too much incentive to win to blow this game. Expect them to win easily. The Gunners get all three points, winning 2-0.
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