We backed Mikel Arteta’s side to at least secure a second straight top-four finish in our Arsenal season preview, and they’ve lived up to expectations in the early part of the season.
The Gunners kicked things off in 2023/24 with a Community Shield triumph over Manchester City before recording a 2-1 home win over Nottingham Forest in the league.
Crystal Palace were then on the receiving end of Arsenal’s perfect start to the new season, with Martin Odegaard slotting home a penalty early in the second half to give Arteta’s team a 1-0 victory on Monday.
Roy Hodgson’s side tested the visitors’ resolve in the final quarter-hour of the game after Takehiro Tomiyasu picked up the Gunners’ first Premier League red card since 2021/22.
However, Arsenal passed the test with flying colours to set themselves up nicely for another capital derby.
Fulham failed to build on the opening-day win at Everton as Brentford humbled them 3-0 at Craven Cottage last weekend, derailing their spirits ahead of this trip.
Aleksandar Mitrovic’s move to Al-Hilal in midweek added to Marco Silva’s problems, leaving the Portuguese manager with Raul Jimenez as the only centre-forward option for this fixture.
Mitrovic’s departure casts doubt on the visitors’ bid to better last season’s tenth-place finish, although they should still bask in mid-table comforts, as pointed out in our Fulham season preview.
Seeking a 100% three-game Premier League start for the second season on the trot, Arsenal head into this meeting encouraged by their impressive league form at the Emirates.
Except for a 3-0 loss to Brighton & Hove Albion in mid-May, they have gone unbeaten in their remaining eight top-flight home outings since the beginning of March (W7, D1).
Arsenal’s phenomenal league form in north London looks insignificant compared to their mind-blowing all-time home record against Fulham, a side they’ve never lost to on home turf (W25, D6).
But the Gunners’ defensive issues mean they cannot take anything for granted after only managing one clean sheet in their last nine home outings across all competitions.
Fulham opened their campaign with a narrow 1-0 triumph at Everton, but their hopes of winning back-to-back away league games ‘to nil’ are far-fetched, to say the least.
The Cottagers’ disastrous performance against Brentford last time out maintained their underwhelming run of form against rivals from the capital, making it seven straight such fixtures without winning (D2, L5).
Since holding cross-city adversaries Chelsea to a scoreless draw in February, none of Fulham’s last nine away league matches have ended level (W4, L5).
Those were largely evenly-contested affairs, with seven of those nine fixtures separating the sides by a single-goal margin at full-time, suggesting the visitors could make Arsenal work for points.
Tomiyasu’s dismissal, compounded by Jurrien Timber’s long-term knee injury, gives Arsenal boss Arteta a significant selection problem at the back.
Oleksandr Zinchenko may need to step in to fill the void. While the Ukrainian recovered from a minor fitness problem, Mohamed Elneny and Gabriel Jesus are still out.
Unlike their hosts, Fulham will travel across the capital without any injury concerns after Joao Palhinha returned to the fold last weekend.
Arsenal potential starting line-up:
(4-2-3-1): Aaron Ramsdale; Oleksandr Zinchenko, Ben White, William Saliba, Thomas Partey; Declan Rice, Martin Odegaard; Kai Havertz, Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka; Eddie Nketiah.
Fulham potential starting line-up:
(4-3-3): Bernd Leno; Antonee Robinson, Calvin Bassey, Issa Diop, Kenny Tete; Joao Palhinha, Harrison Reed, Andreas Pereira; Willian, Bobby De Cordova-Reid, Raul Jimenez.
We Say: Arsenal 3-1 Fulham
Despite winning both opening Premier League duels this term, Arsenal have struggled for conviction.
We expect the Gunners to be more clinical in front of goal this weekend and take all three points more convincingly.
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