Given our recent fantastic run of form (and wins), the Gunners find themselves looking down in the table at a majority of their Premier League opponents. Arsenal are now in seventh place, nine spots above the Cottagers, who are 16th.
If we look at history, Arsenal have had the better of the clashes between the two clubs, winning six of the previous 10 league encounters.
But aside from the numbers, most of these clashes have been closely fought affairs, as derbies usually are. The games in which Arsenal have dropped points have been frustrating to watch, and occasionally pivotal in their outcome.
In Robin van Persie, Arsenal possess the form player of the Premiership, if not world football. There was an interesting article I read yesterday comparing his numbers with those of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
And while it would be foolhardy today to place him at par with those two, the stats are both interesting and revealing.
Arsenal go into this game without all their long-term absentees: Jack Wilshere, Bacary Sagna, Kieran Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson. However, on a positive note, there have been no casualties after the mid-week Champions League fixture against Borussia Dortmund.
It’s a fair reflection of our injury horror-story of recent seasons that I am this sanguine in the absence of three regular starters.
Fulham are in the midst of a minor injury crisis themselves, with Damien Duff, Stephen Kelly, Simon Davies, Orlando Sa, Steve Sidwell and Zdenek Grygera all expected to miss out. However, they are a tightly knit unit, and in Martin Jol, possess a manager with diverse experience and a respectable track record.
While I look forward to celebrating all three points and a sixth league win on the bounce a few hours from now, I believe that there are reasons why this match may end up breaking Gunner hearts.