Arsenal vs. Fulham Saturday January 18, 2014 10am Eastern/3pm London The Emirates Stadium, London, England Form: ARS WWWWW | FUL WLLWL TV: NBCSN SB Nation partners-in-crime: Cottagers Confidential
It seems like it's been a long time since Arsenal last played, even though it's only been since Monday. I'm not really sure why - it may just be me. Anyhow, we're back in action tomorrow morning against London "rivals" Fulham, in what should be a fairly straightforward game against an opponent only one point above the relegation zone. In years recently past, though, it hasn't really been that way. Weird losses and upsetting draws have peppered the fixture since Martin Jol took over as manager, but two things have changed. Fulham are worse than they've been in a while, and Martin Jol is no more. So maybe the jinx is broken, and this actually will be a comfortable result.
Luckily, though, "short in midfield" for Arsenal these days still means a possible trio of Mesut Ozil, Mathieu Flamini, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, with Santi Cazorla on the wing. The OC is, of course, only recently returned from an injury of his own, but he's had success as a central midfielder for Arsenal in the past, so if it ends up necessary here's hoping he shows the skill he did at the Emirates against AC Milan several years ago, and not the late-game exhaustion that led to a substitution.
For the opposition, the only news appears to be that Brede Hangeland is back from injury, and that Darren Bent still exists. The latter fact may prove annoying, as I feel like Darren Bent has scored at least once in every game I've ever seen him play against Arsenal. I still have horrible visions of sitting in a bar in May 2011 and watching him score two against us for Aston Villa, while we limped into fourth place. That was a long time ago, though, for both Bent and Arsenal. But he did score Fulham's one goal against us in the reverse fixture this fall, so I guess I'll remain concerned. I also wouldn't be shocked to see Clint "I'm still adapting to MLS" Dempsey show up.
Sagna - Mertesacker - Koscielny - Gibbs
Oxlade-Chamberlain - Flamini
Gnabry - Giroud - Cazorla
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain channels Aaron Ramsey and scores twice from midfield. He does the "A" celebration (A is for Alex!) and Gareth Bale files a lawsuit on Wilshere's behalf.
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