MX23RW : Sunday, September 26 04:41:37| >> :120:23581:23581:
Sep 12, 2020 at 12.30pm UK at Craven Cottage

Hector (26'), Cairney (61')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Lacazette (8'), Magalhaes (49'), Aubameyang (57')
Aubameyang (39'), Bellerin (55')

Preview: Fulham vs. Arsenal - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Fulham and Arsenal, including team news and predicted lineups.

Arsenal get the 2020-21 Premier League campaign underway with a trip to London rivals Fulham on Saturday afternoon.

The Gunners ended last season on a high after lifting the FA Cup, while Fulham also bring momentum into the new campaign following their promotion from the Championship.

Match preview

Arsenal players celebrate winning the Community Shield against Liverpool on August 29, 2020© Reuters

Just six weeks have passed since Arsenal's 2-1 win over Chelsea at Wembley - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring twice to give Mikel Arteta silverware in his first managerial season.

The 2019-20 season will ultimately go down as a successful one for the Gunners thanks to that triumph, but a lot more is expected of them in the Premier League this time around.

Last term's eighth-placed finish was Arsenal's lowest since 1995, not helped by a return of four wins in their opening 13 fixtures, which they ultimately failed to recover from.

Arteta took over from Unai Emery midway through the season and, while results were largely mixed, the former Manchester City coach did not take long to make his mark on the field.

Arsenal played some impressive football at times and have carried that into this season, having already defeated champions Liverpool on pens in the Community Shield two weeks ago.

That may be little more than a glorified friendly to many, but it showed once again that the Gunners are now capable of holding their own against the division's top sides.

That is not exactly a category opponents Fulham fit into, of course, with the Cottagers preparing for their first season back in the top flight after a one-year absence.

Fulham players celebrate winning promotion to the Premier League on August 4, 2020© Reuters

Scott Parker achieved his mission of guiding the club back into the Premier League at the first attempt, although they had to do it the hard way by going through the playoffs.

A 2-1 win over bitter rivals Brentford on August 4 sealed a spot in the top division and Parker will now get his first proper shot at keeping Fulham in the division.

The Cottagers have played just one friendly since then, drawing 2-2 with MK Dons at the end of last month, despite Parker fielding a strong XI in the behind-closed-doors clash.

Arsenal also played the Dons and were far more comfortable, running out 4-1 winners in one of just two close-season outings for Arteta's charges.

As far as opening league fixtures go, this is one Arsenal supporters will surely be happy with given results between the sides down the years.

The Gunners have won each of their last five Premier League games against Fulham, scoring nine goals in their two wins the last time the West Londoners were in the top division.

Indeed, Arsenal have lost just one of their last 13 Premier League matches against Fulham (W8 D4), going down 2-1 at Craven Cottage in January 2012.

Fulham pre-season form: D

Arsenal pre-season form: WW

Team News

Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah celebrates scoring on February 23, 2020© Reuters

Parker has strengthened his squad during the summer with the signings of left-back Antonee Robinson, goalkeeper Alphonse Areola and midfielder Mario Lemina - the latter two joining on loan.

All three players will be pushing for inclusion here, but Robinson faces a tough task in ousting playoff final hero Joe Bryan, who scored both goals against Brentford.

Jean Michel Seri and Zambo Anguissa are both back at the club after returning from loan spells, but they are expected to be sold on before the transfer window closes next month.

Arsenal have also brought in some new recruits since the end of last season, with Willian and Gabriel Magalhaes joining William Saliba in making the switch to North London.

Saliba and Willian are in line to make their debuts on Saturday, while Gabriel, who has barely trained since arriving, may also be called upon as David Luiz is carrying an injury.

However, a more likely option at the back would be Rob Holding, with Kieran Tierney alongside him in a five-man defence that Arteta appears to have prioritised for this season.

Arteta has a big call to make in goal as Emiliano Martinez and Bernd Leno battle it out for the number one spot, while Eddie Nketiah's form for England Under-21s should see him get the nod through the middle.

Fulham possible starting lineup:
Areola; Odoi, Ream, Hector, Bryan; Lemina, Reed, Cairney; Knockaert, Mitrovic, Cavaleiro

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Saliba, Holding, Tierney; Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles; Pepe, Nketiah, Aubameyang

SM words green background

We say: Fulham 0-2 Arsenal

Fulham have lost their opening game in their last two Premier League campaigns, while Arsenal are seeking successive matchday one victories for the first time since 2010.

The Gunners ended last season strongly and have carried that momentum into pre-season, so we are backing Arteta's men to make a winning start to this new campaign.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta pictured on June 28, 2020
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Arsenal season preview - predictions, fixtures, summer signings, starting XI

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