Fulham have struggled so far this season. Their attack has been fine, but they have been shipping goals constantly. The Cottagers are tied for with Huddersfield Town and Cardiff City, the two teams widely expected to finish as the bottom two, for the most goals conceded so far this season. While they clearly have a lot of talent, Fulham will have to sort out their defence before they are able to do anything with it this season. Luckily, they face an Arsenal team that struggles to defend as well, so they’ll hope to be able to take advantage of the Gunners defensive flaws.
Arsenal have won eight straight matches in all competitions. On the surface, everything seems rosy for the Gunners and on the surface it is. But they have yet to output in a good performance for 90 minutes in any of their matches this season. For them to continue to get these kinds of results, they’ll need to improve their performances. Fulham have struggled, but have the talent to beat Arsenal. If the Gunners do not improve on the performances during their eight-match win streak, they are unlikely to come out with the three points.
Fulham will be without Timothy Fosu-Mensa, Joe Bryan and Neeskens Kebano through injury, but they are expected to have Alfie Mawson available for selection, according to Physioroom.com.
Arsenal will have some injury issues as well, as they’ll be missing starting goalkeeper Petr Cech for 3-4 weeks after pulling his hamstring last week. They’ll also be without Laurent Koscielny, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Konstantinos Mavropanos through injuries of their own, according to Physioroom.com.
Fulham: Aleksandar Mitrovic
While the team as a whole has disappointed so far this season, Mitrovic has been phenomenal. The Serbian is tied for second in the league in goals with five and, of players that have played at least 500 minutes, he is third in the league in shots per 90 minutes, behind only Sergio Aguero and Mohammed Salah. Mitrovic has been tearing defences apart and will get to face an extremely shaky one in Arsenal. Considering the Gunners struggles in defence and midfield and Mitrovic’s immense talent, there is every chance the striker can get a hat trick on Sunday.
Arsenal: Mesut Ozil
Despite his goal last week, Ozil has struggled to get going this season. A lot of this has to do with him being played on the right wing. His overall involvement (touches, passes attempted) has seen a significant drop this season compared to the rest of his time at the Emirates. If Unai Emery moves him to the number 10 role, it could unlock Arsenal’s attacking potential and help rip through Fulham’s weak defence.
This could very easily be a cricket score. Neither team has shown that they even know what defending is, much less that they can do it well this season and both teams have very gifted attacking players. Arsenal have been riding their luck for a while now and this may be where that luck runs out.
Prediction: 3-2 Fulham