REUTERS: Fulham may be in the relegation zone but Scott Parker's side have been unlucky in the Premier League and their results are not an accurate reflection of their performances this season, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has said.
Fulham are 18th in the standings, six points behind Newcastle United who have a game in hand, and the London club face a tough battle for survival with games against Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United to come.
Parker's side have been in the relegation zone since December but showed some promise in February with a mini unbeaten run before losing five of their last six games.
"In my opinion, they've been really unlucky with some results. I started to watch them a few days back and I really like the way Scott sets his team up. It's really brave," Arteta told reporters ahead of Sunday's derby.
"They know what to do really well and again I think they've had some very unfair results that could have put their team in a different position. They're going to come here to do what they always do and it will be difficult.
"Small details have gone against them in a lot of games. There have been some decisions in the box that have defined games and they probably should have taken more from them. Credit to them for what they are doing."
Arsenal, ninth, are 10 points behind the top four and with automatic qualification for European football increasingly unlikely with seven games left, winning the Europa League is their only hope.
The club qualified for the semi-finals where they will meet Villarreal, coached by former Arsenal manager Unai Emery, and Arteta said positive results in the league will have a "knock-on effect" in the Europa League.
"I think the better we are in the league and if we keep winning, the confidence will be higher, the spirit will be better, the players' individual performances will maintain," Arteta added.