Pre-Match Report

Preview: Arsenal v Fulham

Arsenal v Fulham

We go in search of our third straight win to start the campaign against Fulham - and looking at the history books, the omens are strong for us to maintain our 100 per cent record.

That’s because we have never lost a home league game against the Cottagers in 30 meetings - the most one team has faced another at home without ever losing in English league history. And if you’re more interested in recent times, then Fulham are winless in their last 10 games against us home and away, and have failed to prevent us scoring since February 2009.

We also have very differing recent records when it comes to London derbies, with us unbeaten in our last 13 capital clashes including Monday’s win at Crystal Palace, while the Whites' 3-0 home loss to Brentford extended their winless run against London rivals to seven.

Mitrovic on the move 

Fulham celebrate scoring against Everton

With all that being said, Fulham are on the brink of winning their opening two away games in a top-flight campaign for the first time at the 29th attempt, having defeated Everton 1-0 on the opening weekend which came before their surprising heavy defeat to the Bees.

Last season saw the newly-promoted side finish in 10th spot, their best season in 11 years which could have been even more eye-catching as they occupied sixth position in February, before Marco Silva’s team fell away in the final few months.

Looking to improve on that, the Portuguese boss has added Wolves pair Raul Jimenez and Adama Traore to his ranks, as well as Ajax centre-back Calvin Bassey but last week saw club icon Aleksandar Mitrovic depart to Al Hilal for a reported £50 million, seemingly giving the club room to manoeuvre in the final week of the transfer window.

What the managers say

Arteta on Fulham: “I think what Marco and the coaching staff have done is remarkable, the way they played last season and where they finished in the Premier League and especially the way they did it, it was incredible. 

“He’s a coach that I always admire, they’re really well organised, they have really clear ideas of what they want to do, and you can see his team exactly in the way that he wants them. Tomorrow we’re going to have a tough match.”

Marco Silva

Silva: “Arsenal will be a different game. It will be away against a top side, a side that are coming off a great, great season. Of course, they weren’t the champions but the way they fought to be champions, the way they played, everything that they did last season was impressive.

“And they were able to improve the squad with very good signings. I believe that it will be an even stronger Arsenal this season."

Team news

Takehiro Tomiyasu

Takehiro Tomiyasu will be missing for this game after being sent off at Palace earlier this week, meaning Oleksandr Zinchenko could be in contention for a start after returning to the bench at Selhurst Park.

Gabriel Jesus has returned to training this week following his minor knee procedure and is an option to potentially start if needed, leaving Jurrien Timber and Mohamed Elneny as our only injured players.

Joao Palhinha could start after returning from a shoulder injury against Brentford, while Tim Ream is definitely missing following his dismissal against Brentford last weekend, with Silva revealing Bassey will take his place.

He is hoping that former Gunner Willian will shake off an Achilles issue to make his first appearance against us since leaving in the summer of 2021.

Talking tactics

Joao Palhinha

Adrian Clarke, writing in the official matchday programme: Having retained the same 4-2-3-1 formation all last season, it has been interesting to see Fulham line up in a 4-3-3 this term. They still want to move the ball quickly and efficiently, but without Mitrovic, the Cottagers have had to alter their tactics. 

Shortening their distribution, Silva’s side have made an extra 89 passes per match compared to last season, sending significantly fewer crosses into the box. There is a sense the west Londoners are determined to become more of a controlled, possession-based side. In midfield they are aggressive, with Palhinha [above] winning a league-high 84 tackles in 2022/23.

Set pieces were a huge plus last season, as they found the net 14 times from them. Andreas Pereira is their main man in this department, as only Kieran Trippier and James Ward-Prowse created more chances from dead-ball situations.

However their defending has been fragile across the opening two matches, conceding 17 shots on target and their expected goals against tally averaging 3.3 per game. They also lack pace in attack, deploying wingers who want to cut inside, while strikers Jimenez or Carlos Vinicius are unable to offer blistering speed.

Facts and stats

Gabriel celebrates scoring against Fulham

We have lost just one of our last 34 Premier League games at Emirates Stadium kicking off at 3pm on a Saturday (W27 D6). We won three of four such fixtures last term.

Since the start of last season, there have been 81 Premier League goals scored at Emirates Stadium (4.05 per game on average), more than at any other venue during this period.

Fulham are winless in their last seven Premier League London derbies (D2 L5). On the road, the Cottagers have won just one of their last 19 top-flight matches against clubs also from the capital (D4 L14).

Gabriel has scored in three of his four appearances against Fulham, netting an 86th-minute winner in this exact fixture last term.

Leandro Trossard has more assists than any other player in the Premier League since his debut in January 2023 (10), with three of those coming against Fulham in March. He’s averaging an assist every 95 minutes in 2023, the best ratio by a player in a calendar year in the competition's history (min. 500 minutes played).

Match officials

Paul Tierney

We are looking to record our first win under the watchful eye of Paul Tierney since February 2021, having lost five and drawn one since then - that point coming after surrendering a 2-0 lead at Liverpool back in April.

Last season saw us also beaten by Manchester United and exiting the FA Cup at Manchester City with Tierney in the middle, meaning we have won just six of 16 games he has taken charge of. The Cottagers meanwhile have won just three out of his 15 appointments, none of which have been in the Premier League.

  • Referee: Paul Tierney
  • Assistants: Neil Davies, Scott Ledger
  • Fourth official: Thomas Bramall
  • VAR: Darren England
  • Assistant VAR: Dan Cook

Recent visits from Fulham

Just like last season, we went into a late-August home game against the Cottagers defending a 100 per cent record. 12 months ago, Gabriel recovered from allowing Mitrovic to open the scoring by firing home a late winner to record a 2-1 success, with Martin Odegaard also on target.

Our previous encounter came in April 2021 when a late, late Eddie Nketiah strike cancelled out a Josh Maja penalty to deny Fulham their first-ever win in N5, while 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, since a Santi Cazorla double helped us to a 2-0 victory in the 2013/14 campaign.

Relive five memorable matches against the Cottagers on home turf, including braces from Thierry Henry and, unexpectedly, Pascal Cygan!

How to watch

Breakdown Live

While the action won't be televised in the UK, Gooners can still get their essential matchday fix by heading to and the official app from 2pm UK time for live pre-match build-up, hosted by Nicole Holliday and Adrian Clarke.

A host of stars will be popping by to get involved in the build-up, including Love Island star Tyrique Hyde, boxer Chev Clarke and R&B artist JayO, while ahead of AEW’s big Wembley show on Sunday, wrestlers Thunder Rosa and Anthony Ogogo will also be giving their thoughts on the afternoon.

Then from 3pm, commentary comes from Dan Roebuck and Jeremie Aliadiere who will take you through all the action on field as we aim to maintain our winning start to the campaign.

Wherever you are in the world, find out what broadcaster is showing the game in your country.

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