A 3-2 defeat in the West London derby against Brentford the previous day dealt a heavy blow to Fulham’s European aspirations. The seventh place the “Cottagers” are in before the start of the weekend is likely to be enough for a first competitive appearance since 2011/12, but having played more Premier League (PL) games than their two closest pursuers, Fulham know that nothing is assured.
Returning home could provide a much-needed boost for Marco Silva’s side, who have lost just three of their 13 home PL games this season (W6, D4). However, that record could give Fulham false hope going into this clash, as they haven’t actually won at Craven Cottage against teams who start the day ahead of them (D1, L3), a trend that could continue unless they can put an end to a terrible run of nine official games without winning against the league leaders, Arsenal.
The brilliant job that Mikel Arteta has done this season at Arsenal has not gone unnoticed as there are rumors that Real Madrid are very interested in making the Spaniard their next manager. Arteta has said he is grateful to be at Arsenal and “can’t control what is written” but now faces another big task after his grueling trip on Thursday night to face Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League (2 -2).
However, the past suggests that exhaustion from Thursday night’s action does not faze the Gunners, as they have put together a six-game PL unbeaten streak in games played after each of their previous six games in the PL. Europa League (G5, E1). It should be noted that two of those PL wins came in London derbies and conceding no goals, a stat that bodes well for Arsenal as they look to improve on their impressive 71% winning percentage against Fulham in PL (W22, E6, P3).
Players to watch: Manor Solomon has scored in each of his last five official appearances for Fulham – only Marcus Rashford and Erling Haaland have longer such streaks among PL players this season. Reiss Nelson was Arsenal’s savior with a last-gasp goal against Bournemouth on the previous date (3-2), securing Arsenal’s first PL win after being 2-0 down since 2011/12 .
Highlight: Arsenal have won all four of their London derbies away from home in the PL this season with a combined score of 8-0.