Fulham vs. Arsenal  0 - 1


Giroud loses red card appeal

23 April 2013 18:04

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has had his appeal for wrongful dismissal rejected by the Football Association and he will serve a three-match ban.

The Frenchman received a straight red card from referee Andre Marriner for an over the ball challenge on Fulham's Stanislav Manolev.

Arsenal appealed the decision but after an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing on Tuesday it was decided the decision should stand.

The former Montpellier forward has scored 11 goals for Arsenal this season since his 13 million pounds transfer in the summer.


Wenger accepts Giroud red card decision

20 April 2013 20:23

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he has no complaints about Olivier Giroud's red card in their 1-0 victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage.

The former Montpellier striker ruined his own chances of a late season flourish as he saw red in the final minutes of the win after stretching to control a ball that had gotten away from him.

His studs connected with the ankle of Fulham right-back Stanislav Manolev, and the 26-year-old will now face a three-game ban with just four games remaining in the English Premier League.

"It looked like it (deserved a red card), yes," Wenger told Sky Sports.

"I spoke with Giroud just now and he said he slipped when he went for the ball and I don't complain about (the decision).

"We have to find a solution up front now for the final games but that can happen and we have to deal with that."

The France international has scored 11 goals in 33 games for Arsenal this season, and has looked more settled in the Premier League since the turn of the year.

A first-half goal from Per Mertesacker was enough for Wenger's men against Fulham, who had Steve Sidwell sent off in the 12th minute.

Wenger slammed Sidwell, who was in his first game back after a three-match suspension, for the challenge on Mikel Arteta.

"I think the referee could only give a red card," Wenger said about the Sidwell tackle.

"We will see (if Arteta is OK). He played the second half. I don't know how much damage is done. It is a kick, a bad kick.

"I don't know if he has twisted his ankle or not. In these kinds of things it is a question of a fraction of a second.

"If you are fully on your foot at the moment you get it you break your leg. If you ease a bit off – maybe that is why he got away with it."

Fulham manager Martin Jol said Sidwell deserved to be sent off, adding he was upset with the 30-year-old midfielder.

"I can't defend him because that would only sound ridiculous," Jol said.

"I was annoyed with him, but he says it is not intentional. He will regret that tackle. It was the first foul that spoilt the game.

"I know it was not intentional because he wanted to play.

"He has just come back from a three-match suspension and now he is out for another four matches again so it was not only disappointing him, but also for us because we had to play with 10 men for a long time so that was more disappointing."


Premier League: Fulham 0 Arsenal 1

20 April 2013 18:24

Arsenal battled to a 1-0 win at Fulham to move back up into third in the English Premier League on Saturday.

After Steve Sidwell's early red card, Arsene Wenger's men struggled at a sun-bathed Craven Cottage but secured the win thanks to Per Mertesacker's first-half effort.

Olivier Giroud was also given his marching orders late on.

Arsenal jump above Chelsea, who have two games in hand, and into third as Fulham slipped to 11th on the table.

The visitors dominated possession early on and Fulham's frustration showed when Sidwell saw red on 12 minutes for an over-the-ball challenge on Mikel Arteta.

The former Chelsea and Aston Villa man was only just making his return from a three-match suspension and could have no complaints about referee Andre Marriner's decision.

Despite that unexpected boost, Arsenal struggled to create openings and on 20 minutes it was Fulham who went closest to breaking the deadlock.

A surging run from Urby Emanuelson saw the Dutchman set up Dimitar Berbatov, but the Bulgarian could only direct his close-range effort straight at Wojciech Szczesny.

It took until the 27th minute for Mark Schwarzer to be called into action when the veteran Australian made routine saves from Aaron Ramsey and then Theo Walcott.

Those initial openings were followed by Arsenal's first real opportunity when Giroud collected a Santi Cazorla pass and fired across Schwarzer, only to find the outside of the post.

Fulham continued to threaten on the counter-attack and Emanuelson forced Szczesny into a sprawling save after showing good strength to win the ball back off Nacho Monreal.

With two minutes of the half to play, Arsenal finally made their numerical advantage count.

Bryan Ruiz was caught sleeping from a Walcott free-kick and that left Laurent Koscielny free to nod across goal for central-defensive partner Mertesacker to put in the opener.

In the second half, Arsenal looked content to pass the ball around Fulham without exerting real pressure on Schwarzer.

The Australian did show good reactions to rush out at the feet of Walcott when he looked set to latch onto a Cazorla pass.

Arsenal were almost made to pay for their rather casual approach when Szczesny palmed away a Ruiz free-kick into the path of Stanislav Manolev to tuck away the rebound.

But the Bulgarian's celebrations were pulled up by a correct offside flag.

In the closing minutes, Giroud was sent off for a poor challenge on Manolev, but Arsenal held out fairly comfortably for the win.


Premier League preview: Fulham v Arsenal

18 April 2013 10:59

Arsenal need a win at Fulham on Saturday if they are to keep their late-season charge for a Champions League berth going strong.

Arsene Wenger's side have lost just one of their past 11 English Premier League games, and head into the encounter at Craven Cottage in fourth place - just one point behind third-placed Chelsea, who have a game in hand.

Fourth place would earn Arsenal a spot in the Champions League qualifiers, but they are under considerable pressure for that position, with fierce rivals Spurs breathing down their necks - just two points behind and with a game in hand.

In their most recent match, Arsenal could only manage a 0-0 draw at home against Everton on Tuesday.

Martin Jol's Fulham, meanwhile, are in 10th place in the league, but are without a win in their past three games - with a 3-0 defeat to Chelsea on Wednesday in their last start.

The last time they played, the two sides fought out a brilliant 3-3 draw at Emirates Stadium last November.

Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski put the Gunners 2-0 up in the early going, before a Dimitar Berbatov brace and an Alexander Kacaniklic goal had Fulham leading 3-2.

Giroud's second goal levelled for Arsenal, and Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer was the hero when he saved Mikel Arteta's late penalty.

Both teams are in good physical shape ahead of the match, with Arsenal goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski hoping to have recovered from a rib injury in time to contend for selection.

Arsenal's only confirmed absentee is Abou Diaby, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament last month.

Fulham will likely be without Damien Duff due to an adductor strain, Mahamadou Diarra is still battling a knee issue, but the home side will welcome back Steve Sidwell after his three-match suspension.

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25