Preview: Fulham v Arsenal

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We’re aiming to clinch a fifth-straight league win on Sunday as we head to the banks of the Thames to face off against Fulham, where we could clinch a small slice of top-flight history.

We have won all four of our away Premier League London derbies this season by an aggregate score of 8-0, and in the history of the English Football League no side has ever won five consecutive away capital clashes while keeping a clean sheet each time.

And while we haven’t tasted defeat in our last nine matches against Fulham, this Marco Silva team is a different prospect. Only Manchester United, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur have left Craven Cottage with three points so far this season, while they forced us to come from behind to claim a late victory in the reverse fixture at Emirates Stadium back in August.

Fulham eyeing finest-ever finish

Having previously failed to beat the drop in each of their last three Premier League seasons, Fulham have no such worries this time around following their promotion last term, and could even reach the magical 40-point mark in March should they avoid defeat on Sunday.

Marco Silva’s Cottagers have been the division’s surprise package this term and head into the weekend occupying seventh place in the table, which would equal their best-ever top-flight finish claimed in 2008/09.

Spearheaded by the goals of Aleksandar Mitrovic, they have steadily improved as the campaign has unfolded, and since the World Cup break they have only lost three matches, although the last was Monday night’s defeat at the hands of neighbours Brentford.

What the managers say

Silva on us: “They have been really consistent, playing good football, adapting really well and reacting well when they don’t achieve a good result – straightaway comes the reaction. A good example was after the defeats against City at home and Everton, two bad results but straightaway after they reacted well and won some important games.

“They are getting the maturity and the experience to react in the right way and it will be a really tough game for us, but we are going to do our best again to be really tough for Arsenal.

“It was tough for them in the first game we played away from home, and for sure at the Cottage we want to make things even more difficult for them.”

Arteta: “It’s true that [defending set-pieces] is something that we must improve massively if we want to keep winning games.

“When you concede two poor goals like we did away from home in Europe it’s very difficult to get a positive result. We gave too many simple balls away. We didn’t defend well enough, and we have to do better up against our opponents.”

Team news

Having returned to training this week, Gabriel Jesus is edging closer to a first-team return but Mikel Arteta is wary of rushing him back too soon.

Eddie Nketiah (ankle) and Leonardo Trossard (groin) are likely to miss out again, while Martin Odegaard and Kieran Tierney missed the midweek game against Sporting CP through illness, but it is hoped they may recover in time. Mohamed Elneny remains out long-term with a knee injury.

For Fulham, influential midfielder Joao Palhinha will sit out the second of his two-match ban after collecting too many yellow cards, while left-back Layvin Kurzawa picked up a knee injury that is set to sideline him for a few more weeks.

Tom Cairney (ankle) and Neeskens Kebano (Achilles) will also be absent, while Cedric is ineligible to face us as per the terms of his loan agreement.

Facts and stats

Fulham are winless in nine meetings with us (D2 L7) since a 2-1 home win in January 2012.

We have won 71 per cent of our Premier League games against Fulham (22/31), the highest win rate against an opponent we’ve faced 20+ times in the competition.

The Cottagers have lost 16 of their last 18 top-flight games against sides starting the day top of the table (W2), including each of the last nine.

They have though lost just three of their league home games this season. Even if they lose all of their remaining home matches this campaign, it would be fewer defeats (9) than they suffered at Craven Cottage in any of their previous three Premier League campaigns.

We have won a league-high five Premier League games when conceding the first goal this season. We have won a league-high 15 points from losing positions so far this term.

We’ve also netted three 90th-minute winners in the division this term, our joint-most in a single campaign in the competition. These have all come in our last eight games (against Man Utd, Aston Villa and Bournemouth).

Bukayo Saka has generated more chances following a carry (moving 5+ metres with the ball) than any other player in the Premier League this season (44), attempting 21 shots and creating 23 chances  in this manner.

Manor Solomon has scored in each of his last five appearances across all competitions. The only Premier League players who have recorded a longer scoring streak in 2022/23 are Erling Haaland (10) and Marcus Rashford (7).

Reiss Nelson has made just three league appearances this season, playing just 85 minutes. However, he’s chalked up five goal involvements (3 goals, 2 assists), and become just the second player to both score and assist a goal in two different games as a sub within a single season, after Vladimir Smicer in 2001/02.

Match officials

For the third time already this year, David Coote has been handed one of our fixtures to officiate, having overseen our FA Cup win over Oxford United and the loss at Everton. That was only the second time in the seven previous occasions we have tasted defeat under his watch.

He has been the man in the middle for just one Fulham game this term, which saw them beat Chelsea at home back in January when Joao Felix was dismissed – the only red card he has brandished in his 13 top-flight matches this season. Coote also recently took charge of the League Cup final between Manchester United and Newcastle United.

  • Referee: David Coote
  • Assistant Referee 1: Dan Cook
  • Assistant Referee 2: Timothy Wood
  • Fourth official: Thomas Bramall
  • VAR: Peter Bankes
  • Assistant VAR: Darren Cann

Recent trips to the Cottage

We head to Craven Cottage looking to claim our fifth-straight win at the venue, with our last encounter there coming back in September 2020 when a debut goal for Gabriel as well as strikes from Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang saw us run out 3-0 victors on the opening day.

We won by a larger margin the trip before then when a 5-1 success was recorded in October 2018, with the highlight coming when Aaron Ramsey netted a Goal of the Season contender after a fabulous free-flowing team move, but you have to go back to August 2013 for our other previous game, which saw us triumph 3-1 when an Olivier Giroud strike and a Lukas Podolski brace claimed three points.

See these, plus more famous wins at the Cottage, in our playlist of classic clashes

Breakdown Live

Join Nick Bright and Adrian Clarke live from Emirates Stadium at 1pm (UK time) on Sunday for the best build-up to the game against the Whites.

The pair will look back on our 2-2 draw in Lisbon in midweek as well as analyse what could make the difference in the second leg, and then turn their attention to the game later that afternoon.

Ahead of a reunion with our former goalkeeper Bernd Leno, they’ll look back at his time in north London, as well as point out why Fulham have performed so well this season, and who could make the difference at Craven Cottage

Then from 2pm, live commentary from west London comes from Dan Roebuck and Josh James, so make sure you log onto Arsenal.com or the official app to stay up to date.

Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.

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