To hold Manchester City at bay, Arsenal travels across the city to play London rivals Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday afternoon.
Many football enthusiasts were curious about how Fulham would fare without their star player Joao Palhinha’s tackling prowess against Brentford. Unfortunately, the traveling Cottagers’ supporters witnessed their team’s seven-game unbeaten run end in a thrilling match that saw five goals scored.
Now, Fulham’s chances of making it to Europe are no longer within their control, with Brentford and Brighton & Hove Albion having games in hand. Despite this setback, the Cottagers can take solace in the fact that they have scored in each of their last six games. This impressive statistic bodes well for them ahead of their next match against Arsenal, whose defense has yet to be rock-solid recently.
Additionally, Fulham has only suffered three defeats in 13 Premier League home games this season, making them a tough nut to crack at home. The upcoming match against Arsenal allows the Cottagers to capitalize on their impressive scoring form and cement their position in the league.
Fulham PL Form: D W W D L
In what seems to be a recurring problem for Arsenal, their inability to defend set-pieces nearly cost them dearly for the second time in a few days, as they were held to a four-goal draw by Sporting in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 battle at Estadio Jose Alvalade.
Arsenal’s manager, Mikel Arteta, expressed frustration with his team’s recent trend of conceding sloppy goals. Although Arsenal’s defensive efforts were less than impressive against Bournemouth, the chaos that followed Reiss Nelson’s last-gasp winner soon overshadowed those defensive concerns.
Despite their defensive shortcomings, Arsenal has posted six wins in their last seven away games and has conceded a joint-low nine goals on their rival’s territory this season. Their resilience in making comebacks has been evident throughout the campaign, including their 2-1 home win against Fulham in August.
Arsenal PL Form: L W W W W
Fulham’s midfield star, Joao Palhinha, will be absent for the second consecutive game due to a two-game ban for accumulating yellow cards. However, Tom Cairney might come back from a foot injury and provide competition to Lukic for a spot in the midfield.
Unfortunately, Layvin Kurzawa and Neeskens Kebano remain sidelined with injuries, while Cedric Soares, who is on loan from Arsenal, will not be eligible to play against his parent club.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is facing a striker crisis, with Eddie Nketiah, Leandro Trossard, and Mohamed Elneny unavailable for their recent draw with Sporting.
However, Gabriel Jesus is back in full training following knee surgery and could make his comeback soon, although it’s unlikely he will start and might only make the bench.
On a positive note, Arteta can expect to have Kieran Tierney and Martin Odegaard back from illness for their upcoming game against Fulham.
Fulham’s predicted starting lineup:
Leno; Tete, Diop, Ream, Robinson; Reed, Lukic; Willian, Pereira, Solomon; Mitrovic
Arsenal’s predicted starting lineup:
Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Odegaard, Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Martinelli, Nelson
Head to Head
Despite Fulham’s long history of playing against Arsenal, the Gunners have had the upper hand in their head-to-head encounters, losing only three of their 31 Premier League matches against Fulham. However, all these losses have occurred at Craven Cottage, with Arsenal winning 22 matches and drawing six.
In recent years, Fulham has struggled to succeed against Arsenal, losing seven of their last eight matches against the Gunners in all competitions. Their recent home league meetings with Arsenal have been particularly disappointing, as they have lost their previous four matches at home against Arsenal.
Time, Date & Venue
Date: Sunday, March 12
Time: 02:00 pm, GMT
Venue: Craven Cottage, London
Fulham’s star striker Mitrovic is back in form, which could pose a significant threat to Arsenal’s shaky defense, especially considering the recent Europa League match in Portugal.
Arsenal’s recent form and superior head-to-head record against Fulham give them a clear advantage in this match.
Even with Arsenal’s quality and experience, it seems unlikely they will allow themselves to be caught off guard by their opponents.