Fresh off success in the FA Cup and Community Shield, Arsenal make the short trip to Craven Cottage as they and Fulham get the 2020/21 Premier League season underway.
Good day one and all.
The 2019/20 season will be noted as a successful one for the Gunners thanks to our Wembley endeavours. Which really is for the best because our league run, winning just four games from our opening 13 games, was one to forget as we finished in 8th-place.
Mikel Arteta arrived midway through and had varying results, however, we picked up pace at the tail end and what a feeling it must have been to finish his maiden season with silverware. That said, there are still plenty of work to do to if we are to close in on the top-four places, let alone dream of a PL title challenge any time soon.
Be that as it may, we carried some of that positive energy into this new campaign with victory over Liverpool in the Community Shield, to again show that we are over that mental block when facing the “top sides”.
That is not exactly a genre Fulham fit into; who makes their return to the Premier League courtesy of their own Wembley glee; seeing off London rivals Brentford in the play-offs final.
Scott Parker guided the Cottagers straight back to the top-flight, however, with them not the lavish spenders they were last time, he will largely rely on the same group that won them promotion. A familiar name in their ranks is Aleksandar Mitrovic, who was the Championship’s top scorer with 26 goals. He will no doubt be tasked to carry them over the finishing line to safety.
The Gunners have been busy in the transfer window as welcome Willian and Gabriel Magalhães to the Emirates, joining William Saliba who returned after spending last season on loan at Saint-Etienne. With Saliba and Willian in line to make their competitive debuts, today’s match may be too soon for Gabriel who started training just recently.
Dani Ceballos is also back for another loan spell and is set to continue the solid partnership he has formed Granit Xhaka in midfield.
There has been no official communique regarding the future of Emi Martinez, but it’s reported that he has been withdrawn from the tomorrow’s squad.
As far is injuries are concerned, David Luiz hurt his neck in training and joins Skhodran Mustafi, Pablo Mari, Gabriel Martinelli and Calum Chambers in the treatment room.
It’s always difficult to know how teams will fare in their opening game, but Fulham have lost each of their last five matches against Arsenal, with their last victory all the way back in January 2012.
So with the Gunners’ superior head-to-head record they should be expected to make a winning start to the new campaign. COYG!