Pre-Match Report

Preview: Arsenal v Fulham

Emirates Stadium before the Arsenal v Leicester game

On what will be Mikel Arteta’s 100th Premier League game in charge, we go looking for a fourth-straight win at the expense of Fulham on Saturday.

The omens are good seeing as we have never lost at home to Fulham in 30 meetings, however the Cottagers came within a whisker of changing that on their last visit back in April 2021 before Eddie Nketiah struck late to grab a draw.

That result was a big factor in their relegation that term, but they bounced back at the first attempt under Marco Silva as champions, and that momentum has continued into this season as they look to remain unbeaten in their first four games of a top-flight season for only the second time.

Ful of confidence

Fulham celebrate scoring against Brentford

After being relegated in each of their last two Premier League campaigns, the Cottagers are determined not to complete an unwanted hat-trick this time around, and Silva’s summer recruits have already begun to make an impact.

The headline arrival is Joao Palhinha, and the £17 million defensive midfielder netted in the 3-2 win against Brentford last weekend, while full-back Kevin Mbabu assisted last season’s 43-goal hero Aleksandar Mitrovic for the late winner.

Bernt Leno made his debut in that game after departing Emirates Stadium, while former Manchester United midfielder Andreas Pereira also started, with Issa Diop making his bow in the Carabao Cup defeat to Crawley Town on Tuesday night - a huge shock given Fulham’s impressive start which has seen them draw against Liverpool and Wolves before beating their west London rivals.

What the managers say

Marco Silva

Arteta on Fulham: "It'll be a really tough match. They’ve been on an incredible run - last year in the Championship they did extremely well, and they haven’t lost a game yet in the Premier League.

"They’ve played against three very difficult opponents, so credit to them. I think it will be a difficult game." - read every word from Mikel's pre-match press conference

Silva on us:  “I think he’s [Arteta] one of the best examples of when you believe in the people who are in charge of your club, managing your club.

“When you believe in the staff it cannot be one bad run, one bad month, even if they are one of the biggest clubs in this country, or three or four bad games that can change everything.

“Of course, after time, everything will be put on the right track again. With time and supporting him, and of course it’s clear what they did in the market, some pieces that they brought in to give them the extra they needed, they started really well."

Team news

Reiss Nelson

Our only injury casualty is Reiss Nelson, who suffered a muscular injury in training in the build up to our last home game against Leicester City, while Fabio Vieira could make his debut having been an unused substitute in the win at Bournemouth last weekend.

Neeskens Kabano tweaked a groin during the 0-0 draw against Wolves a fortnight ago and may miss out, while summer arrival Manor Solomon requires knee surgery after getting injured in a behind-closed-doors friendly; a similar fate that has also sidelined Harry Wilson.

Talking tactics

Aleksandar Mitrovic

Michael Cox, writing in the matchday programme: This Fulham side is unashamedly based around the goalscoring of Mitrovic, who looks a different player under Silva - more mobile and more involved in link play. Clearly, Silva’s attacking philosophy suits him better, as Fulham get the ball into the final third more and put crosses into the box. He’s also created goals by outwitting Virgil van Dijk and then Pontus Jansson when drifting into the left channel. 

In the centre of midfield, Palhinha looks one of the signings of the summer - a physical, commanding midfielder who also offers a threat at set-piece, nodding home against Brentford last weekend. He plays alongside Harrison Reed, a midfield terrier and a careful passer. 

It’s notable that Fulham’s four-man defence were all around for their last attempt at Premier League survival. Left-back Antonee Robinson dealt well with Mohamed Salah on the opening weekend and can push forward dangerously on the overlap, while Kenny Tete is a solid operator down the right. He was replaced by Swiss international Mbabu midway through the second half last week who assisted the winner, so could be in line for a start here. 

Pre-match briefing

Gabriel Jesus celebrates scoring against Leicester

Gabriel Jesus has been involved in five goals in his first three Premier League appearances for us (2 goals, 3 assists), the most of any Gunners player in their first three games for the club in the competition. 

Jesus has also had four goals and four assists in his last four Premier League starts against newly promoted opponents.

Aleksandar Mitrovic has taken more shots (15) than any other player across the opening three matches of this season’s Premier League. His three goals are as many as he scored in Fulham’s last campaign in the top-flight (2020/21).

The Cottagers have won just one of their last 15 Premier League meetings against us (D5 L9) and are winless in eight since a 2-1 home win in January 2012.

We are unbeaten in their last 33 Premier League home games against promoted sides (W28 D5) since a 1-0 loss to Newcastle United in November 2010.

We have won all of our last four Premier League home games, netting at least four times in the last two (5-1 v Everton, 4-2 v Leicester). We haven’t scored 4+ goals in three consecutive home league games since May-September 2010 (4-0 v Fulham, 6-0 v Blackpool, 4-1 v Bolton).

Only in four previous top-flight campaigns have we won each of their first four matches of a season: 1930/31 (first five), 1947/48 (first six), 2003/04 (first four) and 2004/05 (first five).

After ending a 24-match Premier League winless run in London derbies last weekend, Fulham are looking to win consecutive top-flight derbies for the first time since April 2013.

Match officials

Jarred Gillett

Jarred Gillett has been handed this match, which is his third Gunners appointment since being promoted to the Premier League at the start of last season.

The Australian oversaw our 3-0 Carabao Cup win against AFC Wimbledon last September, as well as the 3-0 win against Southampton three months later.

  • Referee: Jarred Gillett
  • Assistant Referee 1: Simon Long
  • Assistant Referee 2: Richard West
  • Fourth Official: Thomas Bramall
  • Video Assistant Referee: Michael Oliver
  • Additional Video Assistant Referee: Lee Betts

Recent Emirates clashes

As well as the aforementioned 1-1 draw in April 2021 where Nketiah cancelled out a Josh Maja penalty, we recorded a 4-1 victory on New Year’s Day 2019 when Bukayo Saka made his league debut.

That had been the Cottagers’ first visit to N5 in nearly five years, when a Santi Cazorla brace helped us to a 2-0 victory in the 2013/14 campaign.

Watch some classic action against the Cottagers with our playlist of retro games

Breakdown Live

Breakdown Live

Nick Bright and Adrian Clarke are in the My Arsenal Rewards box with all the chat and analysis you need around the Fulham game before live commentary from Dan Roebuck and former Gunner David Hillier.

Our women’s players Kim Little, Katie McCabe and Jen Beattie are live in the studio too, fresh from tour, ahead of the start of the new WSL season.

Further reading

Rafaelle Souza, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Leah Williamson and Beth Mead

There will be some special guests in attendance on Saturday, as our women’s team will participate in a lap of honour, led by our continental champions.

Find out all the stats regarding Mikel Arteta's 100th Premier League in charge, and also get a sneak peek of Martin Odegaard's column from the official matchday programme, which is available to buy at the stadium and online.

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