Fulham V Arsenal at Craven Cottage - Match Preview

Jol sees no Gunners problem

Fulham manager Martin Jol was never convinced Arsenal "had a problem" after watching the Gunners silence their critics with an impressive Champions League play-off win at Fenerbahce ahead of Saturday's visit to Craven Cottage.

Arsene Wenger's men showed no hangover from their opening Barclays Premier League home defeat by Aston Villa as they ran out 3-0 winners in the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium to all but secure a place in the lucrative group stages of Europe's elite club competition for a 17th consecutive season.

Jol admits his squad, which this week was boosted by the signing of England international Scott Parker from Tottenham, must be prepared to tackle a team on top of their game in the televised lunch-time kick-off.

"I played in Turkey a couple of times and it is almost impossible to have a win over there and they did, quite convincingly," Jol said at a press conference.

"They played with confidence, they were very sound at the back, in midfield they were very creative, they had pace up front and with their chances they could have scored more goals, so I am not sure if they have got a problem.

"There is not a fear factor in our team about Arsenal, but of course you know their qualities and you have to respect their qualities and try to play your own style.

"If you see Santi Cazorla, he is one of the best players who can play with two feet - he can score with his left and right. (Theo) Walcott with his pace, (Olivier) Giroud is getting better and better, and their midfield - you can't figure out who is the defensive midfielder and who is the offensive midfielder because they rotate all the time."

Jol is likely to deploy both Parker and striker Darren Bent, signed on a season-long loan from Aston Villa, against the Gunners.

The Fulham boss said: "Darren Bent will give us that stretch that we needed. Bryan Ruiz and Dimitar Berbatov are fantastic players, but we lack a bit of pace up front and hopefully we have sorted that now."

Jol welcomed the addition of Parker, who had also been linked with a switch to Sky Bet Championship side QPR.

"Scott is the perfect player for most of the managers in the Premier League," the Fulham manager said.

"He is English, is a leader, can play on the ball, can play off the ball, and he makes interceptions, so I think it is fantastic to have him on board."

Jol hopes he will be able to bring in another couple of faces to bolster the squad ahead of the September 2 transfer deadline.

Jack Wilshere has branded Wenger's critics "ridiculous" and warned he would have to reconsider his future at Arsenal if the Frenchman were to leave the club.

Wenger has come under fire for the Gunners' inability to make any significant signings after failing with approaches for Gonzalo Higuain, Wayne Rooney, Luis Suarez and Luiz Gustavo.

The fallout from the 3-1 defeat by Aston Villa last Saturday saw the Arsenal Supporters' Trust declare it would be "inappropriate" for the board to offer him a new contract until the transfer window closes.

Wilshere, however, insists that he might be forced to leave the Emirates Stadium were Wenger to depart.

"I want to win things with Arsenal and I want to be there in the future, but if the boss leaves then things could change," Wilshere told Zapsportz.com.

"Arsenal are always in my heart and by signing a deal for the next five years shows my commitment to them and their commitment to me so at the moment everything is good.

"Arsene Wenger has been there for so many years and he's always delivered trophies.

"OK we've had a little dip in the last five or six years, but he's a great manager and people who question his ability are ridiculous.

"He's qualified for the Champions' League for 16 years so I think he's the right man for the job."

Wenger earned some breathing space with Wednesday night's 3-0 victory over Fenerbahce, but eight years have passed since the Gunners last won any silverware and Wilshere's robust defence of his manager continued by revealing he expects to win something soon.

"We have lost a few strong, big-name players in recent years and that's hard for any club," the 21-year-old England midfielder said.

"First we lost Thierry Henry and then Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Robin Van Persie.

"That's hard, especially when Robin went to another team in England, it makes it harder for us to compete.

"But now we've got a good crop of young English players coming through and if we stay together and build something then we can win a trophy in the next few years."

Source: PA

Source: PA