Arsenal visit Fulham to open the 2020-21 Premier League campaign today, and it’s important the Gunners lay down a marker. I’ll be banging this drum all season — Arsenal’s finish will be determined more by how they fare against weaker opponents than against the top of the league.
The Gunners dropped too many points (6) against the bottom 3 last season. Fulham are expected to be in the bottom 3 this year. Arsenal need to feast today. They also dropped too many points from winning positions last year. Arsenal need to get out to an early lead tomorrow and hold onto it.
I think it’s going to be important for Arsenal to score early this season. Yes, it’s a good thing for any team to score early, but I think it’s especially important for the Gunners. They struggled against teams that sat back, played a low block, and looked to counter/exploit mistakes. It’s tougher to do that when you’re chasing a match. Arsenal need to put the teams that want to bunker-in behind the 8-ball.
Since I wrote the preview yesterday, Arsenal released some good news on the injury front. It doesn’t affect today’s game, but it’s good news going forward. Both Calum Chambers and Shkodran Mustafi are expected back in October. That’s a big improvement for Chambers and a small (but still good) one for Mustafi. Pablo Mari is expected in full training some time this month. David Luiz’s status is unknown — he could miss up to 6 weeks with his neck injury. Gabriel Martinelli is expected in full training by the end of the calendar year.
Fulham have all players available for selection today.
Check out Nathan’s predicted 11 and see how many he got correct!
Arsenal - Leno, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Bellerin, Elneny, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles, Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang
Team news for our first @PremierLeague game of the season...— Arsenal (@Arsenal) September 12, 2020
@biel_m04 makes his first start
@RobHolding95 and @KieranTierney1 both in defence
There's also a debut for @WillianBorges88
Fulham - Rodak, Hector, Odoi, Kebano, Cairney, Ream, Cavaleiro, Reed, Bryan, Onomah, Kamara
Fresh start, similar XI!— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) September 12, 2020
Your Fulham team for the @premierleague opener!#FULARS pic.twitter.com/Wy9pOR017d
WHAT: Arsenal at Fulham
WHERE: Craven Cottage
WHEN: Saturday, September 12th 4:30 AM PT | 7:30 AM ET | 12:30 PM BT
US TV: NBCSN and Universo (SP). Stream available from fuboTV ($)
Because it is being televised, the match will NOT be live on Peacock, NBC’s new streaming service. All televised matches will be available for replay at 9 PM the evening of the match.
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