Fulham and Arsenal will kick-start the new Premier League season at the Craven Cottage on Saturday.
Premier League football returns after a short break and teams will be hoping to make a good start, including newly-promoted Fulham.
Following their victory over Brentford in the Championship playoff final last season, Fulham secured a return to the Premier League – a giant step up for the London club. They now play host to Arsenal and will try to mark their return to top flight action with the best result.
Arsenal, meanwhile, were disappointing in the league last season, finishing in 8th – their worst finish in 25 years. However, while their league campaign was disastrous, they did well in the FA Cup to clinch a record-extending 14th title. They will now look to build on that in a bid to bounce back and challenge for the top four this season.
Arsenal’s performance in the FA Cup and Community Shield finals against Chelsea and Liverpool, respectively, almost made their dismal league campaign feel like a distant memory. They looked better organized and moved about with real intent. They only need to maintain that form now.
Also, Arterta has brought in the likes of Willian from Chelsea, Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba for additional support and increased squad depth.
Arsenal hold a weighty head-to-head lead over Fulham. The Gunners have won 5 of their last six encounters, drawing just one. In their last two meetings, Arsenal scored 9 goals, registering a 5-1 away win in October 2018 and a 4-1 home win in January 2019.
Given how they’ve played of late, Arsenal should be too good for them again.
Fulham: Fulham are without injury problems and Scott Parker has his squad primed for their opening fixture at home.
Aleksandar Mitrovic, Championship top scorer last season, should be in the starting XI, as well as midfielders, Josh Onomah and Neeskens Kebano.
Arsenal: After reportedly aggravating a neck injury, David Luiz could miss this match and could also be sidelined for a month.
William Saliba is expected to make his official debut for the club at centre-back, alongside Rob Holding. Gabriel Martinelli, Mustafi, Callum Chambers and Pablo Mari are still unavailable.
Arsenal have beaten Fulham in their last five meetings and should be able to stretch that winning streak on Saturday. They’ve got an electric attacking combination, with Aubameyang leading, to see to that.
Fulham may not be able to cope with what will get thrown at them. Arsenal to bag all three points.