Craven Cottage 2

Fulham vs. Arsenal: Lineups and Discussion

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It will be fiery London derby at Craven Cottage this morning between Fulham and Arsenal, (7:45am ET, watch live on NBCSN and via NBC Sports Live Extra) as the rain pours in West London.

Contests between these two old clubs have been nasty affairs in the past few years, with four red cards in their last three league games.

Arsenal are aiming to pick up their first points of the Premier League season, following their 3-1 defeat at home to Aston Villa last week, while Fulham were buoyed by a 1-0 success at Sunderland on the opening weekend.

The Gunners have a makeshift backline, with regular right back Bacary Sagna filling in at center back after Laurent Koscielny was send off against Villa, while captain Thomas Vermaelen is still out injured

While in midfield Jack Wilshere doesn’t start, after playing in the games against Villa and Fenerbache on Wednesday. Arsen Wenger won’t want to risk losing his star man early on in the season and is likely resting Wilshere.

For Fulham, new signings Scott Parker and Adel Taarabt make their home debuts and those two plus Dimitar Berbatov have all played for Arsenal’s fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur. So has new loan signing Darren Bent, who makes the bench after joining from Aston Villa. And of course manager Martin Jol was previously Tottenham’s manager, so, it will be a lively affair down by the banks of the River Thames.

Expect a lively game down at the Cottage, who will win this one?


Fulham: Stockdale; Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise; Duff, Parker, Sidwell, Taarabt; Kasami; Berbatov. Subs: Etheridge, Briggs, Boateng, Karagounis, Kacaniklic, Ruiz, Bent.

Arsenal: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Mertesacker (c), Sagna, Gibbs, Ramsey, Rosicky, Cazorla, Walcott, Podolski, Giroud. Subs: Fabianski, Monreal, Frimpong, Zelalem, Wilshere, Gnabry, Sanogo.

Atletico and Real draw 1-1 in Madrid derby

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 04: Karim Benzema of Real Madrid CF wins the header after Gabi Fernandez of Atletico de Madrid during the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Real Madrid CF at Vicente Calderon Stadium on October 4, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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Luciano Vietto scored with less than ten minutes to play to earn a draw for Atletico Madrid against their crosstown rivals Real.

Karim Benzema had given Real Madrid an early lead, heading home a cross from Dani Carvajal in the ninth minute. While Cristiano Ronaldo may get all the headlines, Benzema has been superb for Real, scoring six goals in seven La Liga matches this season.

[ RELATED: Rodgers sacked at Liverpool ]

Atletico had a golden opportunity to draw level in the 22nd minute when the hosts were awarded a penalty, but Keylor Navas made a brilliant save to deny Antoine Griezmann, keeping Real ahead.

Still trailing 1-0, Diego Simeone made a substitution for Atletico in the 58th minute, bringing in Luciano Vietto for some added strength on the attack. It was the 21-year-old’s first taste of a Madrid derby, and he proved to be ready for the pressure.

[ RELATED: Why Arsenal can win the Premier League title ]

With the clock winding down, Jackson Martinez played a cross in from the left wing, and after a slight scramble in the box, the young Vietto cleaned up the scraps to level the score in the 83rd minute.

The result leaves Real Madrid second in La Liga, one point behind leaders Villarreal, while Atletico sits fifth, three points off the leaders.

Timeline of Brendan Rodgers’ reign at Liverpool

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 23:  Brendan Rodgers the manager of Liverpool looks on during the Capital One Cup Third Round match between Liverpool and Carlisle United at Anfield on September 23, 2015 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
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Eight matches into his fourth season in charge at Anfield, Brendan Rodgers was sacked by Liverpool.

[ MORE: Rodgers out as Liverpool boss ]

After leading the team to a 2nd place finish in the Premier League in 2014, Rodgers struggled to replicate those results despite spending nearly $300 million on transfers over the past two summers.

Below, we take a look at a timeline of Rodgers’ reign at Liverpool, and where it all went wrong.

June, 2012 — Rodgers appointed manager — Following the firing of Kenny Dalglish, Brendan Rodgers was named the manager of Liverpool. Rodgers had led Swansea City to Premier League promotion and helped the Swans finish 11th in their first season in the top flight.

May, 2013 — Liverpool finishes 7th in the PL — In Rodgers’ first season at Anfield, Liverpool finishes 7th in the league with 61 points. It was a nine-point improvement from the Reds’ previous season under Dalglish.

[ MORE: Klopp, Ancelotti to take over at Anfield? ]

May, 2014 — Liverpool finishes 2nd in the PL following late-season collapse — Liverpool had been at the top of the table since March, poised to win the club’s first Premier League title. However, the Reds lost to Chelsea 2-0 in the infamous “Steven Gerrard slip-game,” and then drew Crystal Palace despite leading 3-0 with less than 15 minutes to play. Liverpool would finish in second place, two points behind Manchester City.

July, 2014 — Luis Suarez sold to Barcelona for $128 million — Coming off of a 31-goal season in which Suarez won the Premier League Golden Boot and was named PFA Player of the Year, the striker was sold to Barcelona for the third-highest transfer fee of all-time. Without his star man, Rodgers never recovered.

Start of 2014-15 season — Liverpool drops six of opening 12 matches — Following the departure of Luis Suarez, Liverpool got off to a rocky start to the new season, losing six of their first 12 matches and falling to 12th on the table. After losing just six matches all of the 2013-14 season, Rodgers was under pressure.

[ MORE: Twitter reacts to Rodgers getting sacked ]

April, 2015 — Aston Villa defeats Liverpool in FA Cup semifinal — With the Reds out of the title race in the Premier League, the FA Cup was Rodgers’ last chance to win some silverware. Playing an Aston Villa side that was battling for PL survival, Liverpool lost 2-1 in front of a packed house at Wembley. Rodgers became the first Liverpool manager not to win a trophy in his first three seasons in charge since Phil Taylor in the 1950s.

May, 2015 — Liverpool finishes 6th in the PL — Liverpool finished the season in poor form, losing five of the final nine matches, including an embarrassing 6-1 loss to Stoke City on the final matchday. The Reds’ finished 6th on the table with 62 points, a 22-point drop-off from the previous season. Without Suarez, Liverpool scored 49 goals fewer than the 2013-14 campaign.

October, 2015 — Rodgers is fired — Following a draw against Everton in the Merseyside derby, Brendan Rodgers was relieved of his managerial duties with Liverpool. At the time of his firing, Liverpool sits 10th on the table with 12 points through eight matches.