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Arsenal hope to buck the trend

London: Arsenal will look to make the most of the chance to consolidate their position at the top of the table when they host Fulham in the Premier League on Saturday.

Manager Arsene Wenger said his side have the stomach for a title fight as they approach a period when they have frequently been found wanting.

They capitulated in all competitions between December and February last season, but the current team are showing signs that they are made of sterner stuff and confidence is permeating through the squad.

As well as Walcott and Ramsey, Arsenal will also be without Mikel Arteta and Nicklas Bendtner against Fulham, while Tomas Rosicky and Nacho Monreal face late fitness tests.

Manchester City will not need reminding about the danger of underestimating Cardiff after they lost 3-2 in Wales this season.

Cardiff have since replaced manager Malky Mackay with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and although they are third from bottom, they held Arsenal for 88 minutes at the Emirates Stadium on New Years’ Day before losing 2-0.

City have won their last six league games, averaging three goals a match and beating Blackburn 5-0 in an FA Cup replay on Wednesday, and their form has prompted manager Manuel Pellegrini to target a quadruple trophy haul.

Liverpool can maintain their faint title hopes if they can make it three successive Premier League wins at home to Aston Villa. They welcomed back striker Daniel Sturridge against Stoke City last weekend and reunited him with the prolific Luis Suarez, who notched his 21st and 22nd goals of the season in a 5-3 win.

Tottenham Hotspur, in sixth, visit Swansea City on Sunday and Everton, who are fifth, have to wait until Monday to face West Bromwich Albion.

Manchester United strikers Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney will miss Sunday’s Premier League game at Chelsea, manager David Moyes said.

“He’s training, doing some running and looking quite good. I don’t want to put a date on his return just now as I don’t want to say he’ll be fit for whatever game and then find he’s not. We’ve just got to take it bit by bit,” Moyes told a news conference.