Fulham vs Arsenal, Saturday 12:45
– Patjim Kasami picked a good moment to score his first Fulham goal as his second half header earned Martin Jol’s side all three points on their opening day fixture.
– Brede Hangeland’s presence in the centre of defence will clearly once again be crucial to Fulham’s chances this year. The giant Norwegian centre half already leads the Fulham squad for clearances with 13.
– New signing Martin Stekelenburg will no doubt be hoping the relatively quiet introduction he got to Premier League life against Sunderland will continue this week. He only had to make two saves according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, the second lowest of any keeper in the league and 3 less than the other keeper starting life with a new club in the Premier League, Simon Mignolet.
– Derek Boateng has already earmarked himself as Fulham’s potential midfield enforcer for this season, racking up 4 fouls in his first appearance.
– Arsenal’s season got off to the worst possible start as they fell to a 1-3 defeat to Aston Villa at The Emirates. Olivier Giroud’s well-taken goal had seemingly set the stage for the Gunners to dominate the match but a spirited fightback from Villa saw their afternoon end in disappointment and yet more pressure heaped on an embattled Arsene Wenger.
– Despite his expertly taken goal, Olivier Giroud struggled to consistently test Brad Guzan last weekend. He scored with his only on-target attempt on goal, being off-target with the other 75%.
– Although Arsenal fans are desperate for Wenger to spend before the close of the window, one area where they do have relative strength in depth is in creative midfielders. Despite coming out on the wrong end of 1-3 home defeat last weekend, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey still placed 2nd and 4th on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for passes completed inside the opponent’s half, with 54 and 52 respectively.
– The loss of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for the near future to a knee injury deprives Arsenal of one of their gamer-changers and Arsene Wenger will be concerned about losing the attacking purpose the Ox brings to the team. The young winger took on Villa with a joint squad-high 4 dribbles and the Gunners will miss his surges forward in the coming weeks.
– Key in replacing Oxlade-Chamberlain’s attacking instincts will be Tomas Rosicky who already leads his colleagues for attacking contributions with 7 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance. This is despite being the oldest member of the Arsenal squad.