Dubai: In an attempt to keep Manchester City at bay, Arsenal will seek their fifth consecutive Premier League win by visiting London rivals Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday afternoon.
In their last matches, Fulham lost 3-2 in the league to Brentford in their West London derby on Monday, while the Gunners drew 2-2 with Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League in a high-scoring game.
Many were concerned about how Fulham would perform without their tackling star Joao Palhinha in their game against the Bees. The travelling fans witnessed a five-goal spectacle that brought Fulham’s seven-game unbeaten run to an end. Although Manor Solomon’s header and Carlos Vinicius’s late consolation brought hope, Brentford’s success was straightforward.
Despite their record of losing 16 of their last 18 Premier League games versus the table-topping side, Fulham have suffered only three defeats in their 13 Premier League home contests this season. They face Arsenal, whose rearguard has been far from impenetrable recently.
Still, Arsenal’s away performance has been exceptional this season, having posted six wins from their last seven road games and conceding a joint-low nine goals on rival territory this season.
Arsenal’s boss, Mikel Arteta, is working around a striker crisis at present, with all of Eddie Nketiah, Leandro Trossard, and Gabriel Jesus missing the draw with Sporting, alongside long-term absentee Mohamed Elneny. Kieran
Tierney and Martin Odegaard, who missed the Europa League game due to illness, are expected to return to the squad. Aaron Ramsdale, Gabriel Magalhaes, and Thomas Partey are also primed to return to the first XI.
Fulham will be missing Palhinha due to a two-game ban for yellow card accumulation, while Tom Cairney could return from a foot injury to challenge Lukic’s spot. Layvin Kurzawa and Neeskens Kebano remain out, and on-loan right-back Cedric Soares cannot play against his parent club. However, two ex-Gunners in Bernd Leno and Willian, who have been shrewd acquisitions for Fulham, will line up against their former club. Meanwhile, Solomon will be aiming to score for the sixth game running.
Fulham are enjoying a very good season and will make life hard for Arsenal. But Arteta’s side will expect to pass another challenging test of their title credentials.