Arsenal V Fulham at Emirates Stadium : Match Preview

10 November 2012 02:42
Arsenal V Fulham - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Wenger wants Gunners to raise the roof

Manager Arsene Wenger has challenged Arsenal to lift the 'flat' atmosphere at the Emirates Stadium by turning on the style against Fulham.

The Gunners head into the clash with the Cottagers looking to bounce back from last weekend's defeat at Manchester United, and build on the midweek Champions League draw away at Schalke.

Wenger admits recent lacklustre displays have left the Arsenal fans less than impressed, but maintains it will be the team's duty to get them off their seats again.

"We just have to play good games. The atmosphere comes from the team, not the fans, and we have to think like that," Wenger said.

"The vibes come out with the quality of our game, the fans are behind the team. That is what is about us.

"I agree we had one or two flat games at home, especially against Schalke, even the game against QPR.

"I believe that it is down to the quality of our game - that is our responsibility."

Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is close to a comeback from his ankle problem and could be included in the Arsenal squad for the first time since mid-September.

Vito Mannone has performed well as his deputy, and the Italian is determined to hold onto the jersey even when the Poland international is fully fit again.

Wenger feels that 24-year-old Mannone, who found himself farmed out on loan to Hull last season, has "handled the situation very well".

However, the Arsenal manager indicated Szczesny, who made a couple of handling errors in his appearances earlier this season, is likely to eventually come back into the side.

"When both Vito and Woijech are fully fit, then we will see," said Wenger. "Wojciech is the number one, so when he is truly fit, I will make that decision, but at the moment it is Vito who will play on Saturday."

Arsenal will, though, be without suspended midfielder Jack Wilshere after his red card at Old Trafford.

Meanwhile, Martin Jol has demanded his Fulham side play more like "warriors", starting with the trip to Arsenal.

Days after the Cottagers' 2-2 draw with Everton, Jol was still fuming at the way they had allowed themselves to be completely dominated in a home match before getting out of jail with a stoppage-time equaliser.

The Dutchman admitted he did not have the type of players who enjoyed chasing the ball but warned he would not tolerate such a limp attempt to win it back at the Emirates Stadium.

"When we don't have the ball, we don't have these warriors, probably, and that is what we're working on," Jol said.

"That is what we saw against Everton, for example. We want to be better off the ball. And if you are good on the ball, you can cause any team a problem.

"So, hopefully, we can do better than what we did against Everton because that was not good at all."

Jol insisted he had made his players fully aware of what was expected of them, adding: "Of course we didn't do everything right - and we knew that. Hopefully, we can do better."

That could depend on the fitness of midfield strongman Mahamadou Diarra, who is in a race against time to shake off another knee injury after Jol rated him only "50-50" to do so on Thursday.

Should he be declared fit then there is every chance of Fulham travelling to Arsenal less in hope and more in expectation, despite having won none and lost all but three of their visits there.

Source: PA

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