It seems the confidence levels for Arsenal are completely different after their midweek success compared to the opening weekend, but Fulham usually provide a very difficult challenge for the Gunners at Craven Cottage, which might make things just as complicated as they were after their opening day loss.
A 3-0 win in the Champions League over Fenerbahce takes cares of a lot of problems, but the pressure to win in the league is just as great if not greater, and two matches without a win will bring the usual questions about Wenger’s outdated philosophy and his inactivity in the transfer market, regardless of what he says.
For Fulham, there wasn’t anything too impressive about their opening weekend win, a 1-0 victory over Sunderland with a goal from Pajtim Kasami, but could like quite different from that match with Scott Parker and Darren Bent possibly making their debuts for the team.
They’re also going to miss Maarten Stekelenburg and Kieran Richardson, both picking up injuries against Sunderland. David Stockdale will probably get the responsibility of being the goalkeeper, while Alexander Kacaniklic will probably get the chance to return to the lineup after a bothering injury went away.
Arsenal seem to be in a lot more trouble when it comes to their centre back situation, as Laurent Koscielny still hasn’t recovered from the kick in the head he suffered against Fenerbahce, and Thomas Vermaelen not fit for the match as well. In the midfield, Mikel Arteta and Abou Diaby still can’t play, which means we’ll continue to see the Wilshere-Ramsey-Rosicky-Cazorla midfield.
With Fulham playing very tight and narrow, it’s probably going to be up to Cazorla and Walcott to create the width and the opportunities, as Fulham will likely target Wilshere and Ramsey most of the time and try to make the same thing that happened in the first match for Villa occur again.
Prediction – Arsenal won’t look confused as they did on the first Saturday of the season, and they won’t be as done badly by a referee for the second straight week. And still, early struggles aren’t something new for the Gunners, and there’s a very good chance that their recent run of bad results in West London (only one win over the last five matches) will continue with a draw.