Arsenal vs. Fulham
Venue: Emirates Stadium
Kick off: 1:30PM
Arsenal will be looking to make it three wins in a row in all competitions when they host London rivals Fulham in the Premier League this afternoon.
The Gunners have found a bit of momentum at a key point in the season, whereas Fulham have lost four league games in a row and are heading for relegation.
With the pressure on following last week’s disappointing 1-1 draw in the home leg of their Europa League, Arsenal turned on the style to brush aside Slavia Prague 4-0 in Thursday’s return fixture.
Mikel Arteta’s men produced an attacking masterclass in the first half, scoring three goals in six minutes – having also had one disallowed – to advance 5-1 on aggregate.
That victory, coming on the back of a 3-0 win at Sheffield United in the league, ensures that Arsenal’s campaign remains alive with six weeks to go.
The upcoming Europa League semi-final with Unai Emery’s Villarreal will of course take priority for Arsenal, but they have two league matches to play before then.
The Gunners are seven points adrift of sixth place, which may not yet be even enough for a European qualification berth, so Arteta will not wave the white flag just yet.
However, not since January have Arsenal won back-to-back league games, and they have also lost eight times at home in the competition this term – their most since 1929-30.
That is something that Fulham quite simply have to take full advantage of if they are to have any hope of avoiding relegation.
After weeks of positive talk and real hope of overtaking Newcastle United, the Cottagers’ fate now looks to have been sealed following results over the past week.
Scott Parker’s men went down 1-0 to Wolverhampton Wanderers last week, leaving the gap to safety at six points after an upturn in form for Newcastle, who also have a game in hand.
It is now four defeats in a row for Fulham – as many as they suffered in their previous 17 – and they still have games against Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United to come.
This is arguably the Cottagers’ least favourite fixture of all, too, as they have lost each of their last six league meetings with Arsenal, conceding 18 and scoring just three.
In fact, Arsenal have never lost at home against Fulham in 29 previous meetings, which is more than they have faced any other side at home without defeat in all competitions.
Arsenal possible XI: Leno, Bellerin, Holding, Mari, Xhaka, Partey, Elneny, Willian, Ceballos, Martinelli, Lacazette.
Fulham possible XI: Areola, Aina, Andersen, Adarabioyo, Tete, Lemina, Reed, Robinson, Cordova-Reid, Loftus-Cheek, Mitrovic.