Friday, January 18, 2008

Fulham vs. Arsenal: Team News

Arsenal travel to the Craven Cottage tomorrow to face Fulham. The reverse fixture at the Emirates, the first game of the season, ended up a 2-1 win for the Gunners after conceding an early goal to David Healy through a Jens Lehmann blunder. Arsenal will be looking to keep a clean sheet this time around, while Fulham, a team mired in the relegation zone, would be happy to take a valuable point out of the match.


Arsene Wenger will be without injured duo Robin van Persie and Johan Djourou. The club's three African players, Kolo Toure, Alex Song, and Emmanuel Eboue, will also miss the match on international duty at the African Cup of Nations. Lassana Diarra is also out, after transferring to Portsmouth earlier this week. However, Tomas Rosicky could return in the place of Theo Walcott after missing last week's disappointing draw against Birmingham with a virus.

Van Persie will be out for an estimated two to three weeks, and will be flying back to his native country of Holland to rehabilitate. The Dutchman has only featured in 8 Premier League games this season, but still sports an impressive 5 league goals. Djourou, who featured in the Carling Cup match against Tottenham, is also out for a few weeks.

Recently instated Cottagers manager Roy Hodgson will be without new signing Brede Hangeland, who has not yet received clearance to feature for Fulham. Impressive full-back Paul Konchesky is also out due to suspension, but Jimmy Bullard could make his return for the Cottagers in the place of Moritz Volz.

Paul Konchesky will be sorely missed as the defender has been one of the few bright spots in a defense that has already allowed 39 goals this season. Hangeland's ineligibility could also play a key factor in the match as Hodgson is hoping that the 6 ft 5 in central defender will finally plug Fulham's leaky back-line.