Fulham vs Arsenal: Premier League: Match Preview & Prediction
The Premier League is back with all its fervour and excitement as newly-promoted Fulham take on FA Cup winners Arsenal in the inaugural match of the 2020-21 season.
Fulham beat an impressive Brentford side in the Championship play-off to reach the Premier League only a year after their relegation. They have a difficult opening game to deal with straight away and on top of that, they won’t have their home crowd to boost them up.
Arsenal have been impressive post lockdown as they went on to win the FA Cup for a record 14th time apart from other good results in the league. Mikel Arteta has brought in his ideologies and the club seems to be on the right path under his leadership.
The North Londoners have also made some shrewd acquisitions in the transfer market and are on the verge of a couple of more. They seem to be better equipped to challenge for one of the Champions League spots as they don’t look like a league winning team for now.
Last time out
Arsenal ran out 4-1 winners when these two sides last met in the league. Granit Xhaka opened the scoring for the Gunners and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang capped off a stellar performance in the 83rd minute.
There are no injury concerns for Fulham. For the Scott Parker’s side, Southampton loanees Antonee Robinson and Mario Lemina may get a chance to prove themselves straightaway. Alphonse Areola signed recently but this match comes a bit too soon for the French World Cup winner.
For Mikel Arteta’s side, David Luiz is out for a month, whereas Pablo Mari and Shkodran Mustafi are also out injured. This gives an opportunity to new boy William Saliba, who will be partnered by Kieran Tierney in the defensive line. Alexandre Lacazette may start as the lone striker with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang coming in from the wide areas.
Aleksandar Mitrovic vs Rob Holding
Any attacking output from Fulham is bound to come in the form of Mitrovic, who is a proven Premier League goal-scorer. The former Newcastle man scored in double digits when the Cottagers were in the top flight a couple of seasons back.
Mitrovic’s aerial ability would come in handy as Arsenal are always susceptible to concede at dead-ball situations. His poacher ability is second to none and Gunners need to be really aware of his whereabouts and keep a close eye on him at all times.
Rob Holding looks certain to start in the middle of a 3-man defence for Arsenal, given the injuries to all the remaining centre-backs. The former Bolton man didn’t have the best of seasons last year due to injuries and the talented young defender would want to cement his place in this new-look Arsenal side, which has been bolstered by a couple of acquisitions.
Michael Hector vs Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
No Premier League has scored more goals than Aubameyang since he joined the Gunners. This record has been a testament to the kind of impact he has had and the threat he possesses. The Gabonese international also narrowly lost his second consecutive Golden Boot last season and his hunger for goals doesn’t seem to be over anytime soon.
Michel Hector would bear the cross to stop the Gunner’s hitman, which is a no simple task. The Lilywhites are not the most defensively solid sides and they are in for a world of pain if they don’t play like a well-oiled machine.
Aubameyang is most likely to start out wide but he tends to shift centrally as the match progresses. Hector is a great interceptor and an able tackler, who needs to be quick on his feet to thwart any danger.
Arsenal have won their last five matches against Fulham in all competitions while scoring at least a couple of goals in their last four encounters. The Gunners are on the right track under the able guidance of Mikel Arteta as they clinched the FA Cup and Community Shield and beat some top-class opposition while doing so.
Fulham’s defensive frailties are no secret and Gunners would punish them at any given opportunity. We predict a high scoring away win for the Gunners.
Score Prediction: Fulham 0-3 Arsenal