Gunners supporter Ed Davis gives us the lowdown on Saturday's game from an Arsenal point of view.
First things first, what have you made of Arsenal’s start to the season so far?
I’ve got to say that I’ve had very mixed opinions of how we’ve done in the games to date. In our first few matches of the new campaign I was really impressed and actually thought that we were improving on how we’d performed last season. But, saying that, some of the games recently just haven’t been up to scratch so I’m not too sure if we have improved or not to be honest.
The recent period has been a tough one for the Gunners hasn’t it? Three points is a must on Saturday, right?
Absolutely. No offence to Fulham but we’ve got to be looking at this weekend as a victory. We’ve got Tottenham Hotspur visiting the Emirates the following week which won’t be an easy game so it’d be nice to go into that with three points under our belt from the Fulham match.
That said, Fulham are a side that has made life difficult for Arsenal over the years, so what kind of game do you anticipate?
I can see it being a very tight match and I think it is going to be important that we nick an early goal as Fulham are tough to break down. I worry that the longer it goes on with the score at 0-0, or even with Fulham winning, that the fans and players will just get more and more frustrated, and that certainly won’t help us play our best football.
Jack Wilshere has returned for you - how much of a boost will he be this season? Although he will of course be missing this weekend.
It’s obviously a great boost to have him back in the side and he has looked really good in the games he’s played so far. It’s gutting he picked up that red card at Old Trafford and he will be a big miss this weekend.
What are your targets for the season? There’s a sense that a top-four finish may not quite be the foregone conclusion it has been in recent years.
I think finishing in that top four is a must this season once again, even with the new competition that we’ve got in the league. Obviously it’d be great to finally end that wait for some silverware so it would be nice if we can pick up a cheeky League Cup or FA Cup trophy!
There are quite a few players missing for Arsenal at the moment. How do you react to that? Is it a case of just getting on with things – after all that’s what you have a squad for, and it’s just part of the game?
We do seem to always have more injuries than most teams! I just worry the players coming in are not good enough but I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see. Hopefully the guys who come in will be able to do a job for us.
Arsene Wenger has said recently that he feels his players have forgotten just how good they are - would you agree with that?
To a degree, but I still think we lack real quality in certain areas.
For you, what are your team’s strengths and weaknesses?
I think our major weakness is definitely the fragility of the players’ confidence when things aren’t looking great. When their heads are down, they just cannot seem to play in my opinion. It’s frustrating because when confidence is high we can absolutely tear teams apart. For a long time now our major strength has been our ability to pass the ball. I think this is still the case and when we are on form, we move the ball about so quickly and can cut teams open at will.
Which players do you think Fulham should be most aware of on Saturday?
Santi Cazorla has been the main man this season; he’s settled very quickly and you’ll need to come up with an idea or two to stop him. Theo Walcott has found a spot of form in recent weeks too and if he starts then he will cause problems as he is very good in front of goal. I think that if he’s given a decent chance he could prove to be a 20 goal a season striker.
And, likewise, what Fulham players do you think could cause you a few problems?
Dimitar Berbatov is a proven goalscorer and if the game is tight then he can make the difference. I’ve also always been a big fan of Brede Hangeland at the back – he’s a very reliable defender.
For our travelling fans, what is the best and worst thing about a trip to the Emirates?
The best is that the stadium itself is fantastic. It’s got great facilities throughout and is just so impressive. If I had to pick the worst thing about a trip there I’d have to say the food and drink prices inside the ground. It is not cheap in there so I’d definitely recommend filling up before you arrive!
What are your stand-out memories from previous clashes between Arsenal and Fulham?
In 2007 we grabbed two late goals to win 2-1 on the opening day of the season. Fulham had taken a very early lead through David Healy. It was a huge relief and the crowd went absolutely mad.
One song we’re bound to hear?
One-nil, to the Arsenal!
Where should travelling fans get a pint? And what would you recommend to eat – what are the pies like?
The Drayton Arms in Highbury is where most away fans go pre-match but there are also loads of options in nearby Finsbury Park. I’ve never had an Emirates pie but I can vouch for the hotdogs.
I’m going to be optimistic and go for 3-1 to Arsenal.