Matchday 26 witnessed some entertaining matches, couple of them were spectacular 5-goal thrillers. The difference is that Arsenal was on the winning end while Fulham on the losing one, in each two respective matches. Now matchday 27 about to witness the two teams clash against each other. The London derby is about to take place. A derby which is not much talked about as compared to the other London derbies.
Arsenal coming from a nail-biting match against Bournemouth, where Nelson scored a banger in the last minute to provide a huge win for the team. Arsenal are now the mentality monsters. Lately acquiring the title of “Comeback Kings”. They have got everything a champion team needs. Slowly the title race is being dominated by Arsenal. This week’s target should be to maintain a 5-point lead, at the least.
Fulham, led by Marco Silva has been doing very good this season. A good run got interrupted by Brentford last week after a 3-2 away loss. Fulham is currently at the 8th spot but surely will try to give a fight for the Conference League spot. They have been performing with a positive intent of keeping the ball. They surely can give a tough time for the visitors, Arsenal. The Cottagers seem to be clearly enjoying their PL season in the top flight, major thanks go to the gaffer, Marco Silva.
Fulham’s PL form: L D W W D
Arsenal’s PL form: W W W W L
WHEN & WHERE?
Where: Craven Cottage, London.
When: Sunday, 12th March 2023.
Time: 7:30 PM IST / 2:00 PM GMT
Referee: David Coote.
Assistants: Dan Cook, Timothy Wood.
Fourth official: Thomas Bramall.
VAR: Peter Bankes.
Assistant VAR: Darren Cann.
Fulham will be missing their Portuguese midfielder, Joao Palhinha as he is serving a ban due to too many yellow cards. Tom Cairney and Neeskens Kebano will be registering absentees due to ankle and Achilles injury, respectively. Layvin Kurzawa will not be available as well, due to knee injury, for few more weeks. And interestingly, Cedric, the loaned-out player from Arsenal is not eligible to play against his former team due to a certain term in his loan agreement.
Elneny has been ruled out for the whole season, so no good news any sooner on that part. If you are looking for the good part then Jesus has returned to training for Arsenal, clearly a good sign. Soon enough he will be with the team, leading from the front. Eddie Nketiah with ankle injury and Leonardo Trossard with groin injury are ruled out for the match. The lads, Martin Odegaard and Kieran Tierney who missed the game against Sporting CP midweek, are unsure yet optimistic to be available for this fixture.
Marco Silva loves the 4-2-3-1 formation, which turns 4-4-2 while defending by holding a midblock. This has made Fulham defensively astute, this season. During the build-up, the back 4 spreads wide to attract opposition players and the team tries to play through the spaces created. They have been seen playing a high line at times, when in possession.
For Arsenal, Arteta will be using 4-3-3 formation, a shape he has been rocking in nowadays. Arteta loves to use the box midfield, created by Zinchenko, tucking in and joining Partey, Xhaka and ODE. Saka being the one causing threat from the right flank. This time, Nelson might get to start the match, he operates on the left side and loves to tuck into the left half-space.
Well, Aleksandar Mitrović does seem to be the tried and tested one to look out for but the man in-form, Manor Solomon takes the edge here. Came on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk but instantly making Craven Cottage his home. Scoring 4 goals in 8 matches is an impressive stat. Surely, he can cause threat from the left hand side. The Israeli guy might just be the next big thing and may earn a big money move if he continues to play like this. Fulham will not mind making him a permanent Cottager.
Okay, someone might just have stolen the spotlight from the star-boy, Saka. The name on the London streets is Reiss Nelson, who scored a magnifico in the last minute to provide Arsenal the win. Having made just 3 league appearances, he has played only 85 minutes. These were enough for him to have 5 goal contribution with 3 goals and 2 assists. With Trossard and Nketiah sidelined for the fixture, he will surely get the playing time he deserves. Hoping he impacts this game as well.
Arsenal predicted starting lineup: Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Odegaard, Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Martinelli, Nelson.
Fulham predicted starting lineup: Leno; Tete, Diop, Ream, Robinson; Reed, Lukić, Willian, Pereira, Solomon; Mitrović.