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Arsenal vs. Fulham match thread: once more unto the breach

The Gunners take the field for the final time in 2023.

Fulham FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Arsenal make the short trip south to Craven Cottage to face Fulham in their final match of 2023. The Gunners have slipped to 4th in the table but can reclaim the top spot, at least temporarily, with a win. Fulham had a weird month in the Premier League — they won their first two matches 5-0, beating Nottingham Forest and West Ham, then lost their next three to Newcastle, Burnley, and Bournemouth, getting shut out and shipping multiple goals in each contest.

When the two sides met earlier this season, Andreas Pereira scored in the first minute, capitalizing on a miscommunication between Bukayo Saka and makeshift right back Thomas Parety. Arsenal took a 2-1 lead on a Saka penalty and an Eddie Nketiah marker two minutes apart in the 70th and 72nd minute. Calvin Bassey was sent off for Fulham in the 83rd minute. And Joao Palhinha scored for the shorthanded visitors in the 87th minute to split the points. It was an incredibly frustrating match.

Arsenal are in the midst of a wobble that’s in danger of turning into a swoon. The Gunners, against admittedly tough opposition, have gone 1-1-2 over their last four matches. Somewhat more concerning are Arsenal’s struggles putting the ball into the net. They’re playing good football but not scoring goals. It’s tough to win matches like that.

The Gunners will be without Thomas Partey, Fabio Vieira, and Jurrien Timber. Oleksandr Zinchenko is a late scratch for Arsenal with a slight calf problem. Takehiro Tomiyasu returned to training yesterday and is fit enough to make the bench for Mikel Arteta’s side.

Tim Ream and Adama Traore miss out for Fulham. Willian was passed fit after struggling with a hamstring issue over the last few days. Raul Jimenez returns from his three-match red card suspension.

WHAT: Arsenal at Fulham
WHERE: Craven Cottage
WHEN: Sunday, December 31st — 6 am PT | 9 am ET | 2 pm BT
US TV: Streaming on Peacock.

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Arsenal - Raya, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior, Rice, Ødegaard, Havertz, Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli

Fulham - Leno, Castagne, Tosin, Bassey, Robinson, Palhinha, Cairney, Iwobi, De Cordova-Reid, Jimenez, Willian