The 2020/21 Premier League campaign gets underway on Saturday afternoon as Arsenal travel to Craven Cottage to face Fulham. The Gunners are coming on the back of a triumph against Liverpool in the Community Shield and are hopeful of a positive season ahead, under the leadership of Mikel Arteta.
Fulham, however, are no slouch. They have done reasonably well under their manager Scott Parker and are aiming to retain their Premier League status come the end of the season. A positive result against Arsenal, in that regard, could go a long way in boosting the camp’s confidence in what is going to be a strenuous campaign ahead.
A brief tactical preview of Fulham vs Arsenal
Scott Parker had predominantly used a 4-3-3 formation throughout the 2019/20 Championship campaign. However, the Fulham boss might fancy shifting to a 4-2-3-1 shape to counter the numerical advantage in the attacking third, against Arsenal’s three defenders. The focus should be on creating chances using the width of the pitch and putting crosses into the box.
Mikel Arteta is more than expected to persist with his 3-4-3, having retained the services of some of the most important players including David Luiz and Dani Ceballos. The three-man backline makes the Gunners much more flexible as the left-sided defender has the license to move forward while the left-winger can drift into a more central role.
Parker will not be dealt with any injury-related absentees heading into this fixture. He is also expected to hand out starts to new signings Alphonso Areola and Kenny Tete while the likes of Tom Cairney, Harrison Reed and Ivan Cavaleiro are all expected to feature in the starting lineup. Aleksandar Mitrovic will lead the attack for the Cotaggers.
Predicted Lineup: Areola; Tete, Hector, Ream, Bryan; Reed, Cairney; Knockaert, Onomah, Cavaleiro; Mitrovic
Arteta faces an injury crisis in the defensive department with the likes of Luiz, Shkodran Mustafi, Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers all out injured. Even new signing Gabriel Magalhaes is likely to start on the bench, meaning we could expect Kieran Tierney once again featuring as a centre-back. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, meanwhile, should retain his role at left-wing.
Predicted Lineup: Leno; Holding, Saliba, Tierney; Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Saka; Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang.
Fulham will be pinning their hopes on number nine Mitrovic as they look to salvage at least a point in this fixture. The hosts are likely to play on the counter, meaning the physical and the aerial prowess of the Serbian could be useful, and the depleted Arsenal defence should be keeping a close eye on him this weekend.
Aubameyang is, without a doubt, the most lethal weapon Arsenal have in their armoury. The Gabonese international has also been in remarkable form, having notably netted the only goal in the draw with Liverpool in the Community Shield. His intelligent movements from the left-hand channel could make life difficult for the Fulham defence.
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