Title-chasing Arsenal will make the short journey across London for a game vs Fulham, who hope to revive their European chase.
Marco Silva will look for a response after the defeat to Brentford last weekend in their five-goal London-derby. The result saw Fulham, whose next game is vs Arsenal, end their seven-game unbeaten run. But the manager will take the positives as his side scored in a sixth straight game.
There was plenty of speculation about how Fulham might fare in key midfielder Joao Palinha’s absence, and the result was not good. The Portuguese midfielder will miss the Arsenal clash. But his replacement, Sasa Lukic, could have easily seen a second booking against Brentford.
Fulham have managed to collect an impressive 39 points this campaign after 26 games. They are within shouting range of a European finish, with Silva hoping to keep momentum and make it into the Europa League. There are plenty of challenges ahead as Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford pose a challenge to their continental ambitions.
The Emirates erupted with joy last Saturday when Reiss Nelson’s dramatic stoppage-time winner found the back of the net. Arsenal trailed Bournemouth by two goals around the 60th minute. Goals from Thomas Partey, Ben White and that Nelson strike ensured Mikel Arteta’s men maintained a five-point lead and became one of the winners of Gameweek 26.
✈️ Safe trip home, Gooners
Amazing support once again ❤️ pic.twitter.com/5MIm7pIp7k
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) March 9, 2023
This weekend, it will be Manchester City’s chance to turn on the heat on Arsenal. Pep Guardiola’s men could pile the pressure if they beat Crystal Palace on Saturday. Mikel Arteta will have confidence in his team to pull a favourable result. He will surely hope there is a better outcome than their midweek endeavours.
Arsenal finished the Sporting CP visit with a 2-2 draw before the two sides re-convene in the coming week. For now, Arteta will re-focus on Premier League affairs and hope to keep his team five points clear at the top after Sunday.
Team News & Tactics
Marco Silva confirmed he did not have any fresh injury concerns with his squad. Fulham will be without key midfielder Joao Palhinha owing to a suspension. On-loan defender Cedric Soares remains ineligible to face his parent club.
Smiles in the rain. 😊
Mr Khan visited Motspur Park yesterday.#FFC pic.twitter.com/VVgag3Unth
— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) March 10, 2023
Neeskens Kebano and Layvin Kurzawa are absentees for this clash, while Tom Cairney is a doubt for the game. Silva will look to keep his shape intact and might name an unchanged lineup from the Brentford defeat.
Manor Solomon’s goalscoring form will let him keep his place in the side and start on the left-hand side of the attack. Willian will have to play again from the right side, which would keep Bobby Reid on the bench for the game.
Aleksandar Mitrovic will lead the line and aim to get among the goals, with Andreas Pereira behind him in the attacking midfield position. Sasa Lukic and Harrison Reed will keep their midfield places. Issa Diop and Tim Ream will marshall the central defence. Finally, flying full-backs Kenny Tete and Antonee Robinson will feature on either flank.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Leno; Tete, Diop, Ream, Robinson; Reed, Lukic; Willian, Pereira, Solomon; Mitrovic
Mikel Arteta will assess his players before the game before making his selection decision for the Fulham game. The squad had a few illness issues, with Kieran Tierney, Martin Odegaard and Fabio Vieira all suffering from the bug.
💬 "It’s not worth playing the balls that we played especially against a team that wants to press the way they did. We learnt some things that we can do better at home."
The boss reflects on last night's result while looking ahead to the return leg with Sporting CP 👇
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) March 10, 2023
While Vieira started against Sporting CP in midweek, the other two could recover in time for Sunday. The Portuguese midfielder ended the midweek game in a false nine role. He might get the nod to start in a similar position against Fulham. Emile Smith Rowe could also start in the attack after a bright midweek cameo.
Nelson also has a chance to start if Arteta feels Vieira or Smith Rowe are not fit for an attacking role. Arsenal still have Leandro Trossard and Eddie Nketiah missing with injuries, and they may not partake against Fulham. Gabriel Jesus continues on his road to recovery, while Mohamed Elneny remains sidelined with a long-term issue.
Arteta might make several key changes from the midweek team, as he will name his strongest team to face Fulham. Thomas Partey and Odegaard could come into midfield, while Gabriel Magalhaes and Aaron Ramsdale will return to the side.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ramsdale; Ben White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Odegaard, Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Martinelli, Smith Rowe
- Fulham have lost only one of their last eight games in all competitions.
- Fulham have scored 26% of their goals from corners- the highest percentage of any team in the top flight.
- Arsenal have won seven and lost none of the last nine Premier League matches against Fulham.
- Arsenal have won their last four matches in the Premier League.
- Arsenal have scored at least three goals in their last three away matches against Fulham in all competitions.
Player to Watch
Yaya Toure: "i would go to the Emirates every week, just to watch Thomas Partey. He's just unbelievable" pic.twitter.com/SF4KRwjuYE
— UpYourArsenal🔴⚪🔴⚪♥️ (@UPYOURARSENAL04) March 10, 2023
The Ghanaian midfielder has had an indifferent few weeks with his form and fitness. Despite a somewhat poor showing in midfield, Partey compensated with a crucial goal. His strike began Arsenal’s fightback against Bournemouth.
He also has had fitness issues in recent weeks, and Arteta will hope he remains fit between now and the end of the campaign. Partey can make amends and stamp his authority for the club. He will sense an opportunity against Fulham, especially with Joao Palhinha missing for the home side.
Fulham 1-2 Arsenal
Fulham have scored in their last six games and are increasingly showing good attacking form in all competitions. Marco Silva will hope his side continues their form against the challenge of Arsenal. But the north Londoners will come into this clash as favourites.
Since the defeat to Manchester City, Arsenal have shown the relentless form, winning four games in a row. Mikel Arteta will hope to achieve his fourth five-game streak this season and keep up the pressure on Pep Guardiola’s side by retaining the five-point gap. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-1 win for Arteta and his charges.
I think Arsenal have been really this season, but there are still some things to improve on. The goalkeeper has been sluggish; he feels complacent, too.
Generally, the team has been slow with its passing technique. This aspect of the game is so important. Slow passes give the opponents where and when you want to pass the ball; it enables them consolidate.
Arsenal need to show aggression and urgency for goals.
They can do even better.