The newly-promoted Fulham hosts the FA Cup and the community shield winners Arsenal at Craven Cottage for the 2020-21 Premier League campaign.
(African Stand) — London duo Fulham and Arsenal will officially raise the curtain on the 2020-21 Premier League season when they lock horns at Craven Cottage in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off.
The top-flight action resumes just over six weeks after the last, coronavirus-impacted campaign finally drew to a close, with Arsenal since following their 14th FA Cup triumph with Community Shield success over Liverpool at Wembley.
The Gunners have been boosted by deals for Willian and Gabriel Magalhaes and the return of Dani Ceballos as they look to improve radically upon the worst league finish for 25 years, while Mikel Arteta has now seen his role changed from head coach to first-team manager.
A short trip to face a Fulham side full of confidence following their Championship play-off final defeat of rivals Brentford last month is a potentially tricky opener for Arsenal.
Scott Parker’s side is looking to take a different approach to their costly 2018-19 mistakes after bouncing back to the top tier at the first time of asking, though still boast plenty of new arrivals in the shape of Kenny Tete, Alphonse Areola, Harrison Reed (signed permanently after a successful loan spell), Mario Lemina and Antonee Robinson, while ex-Chelsea defender Ola Aina is also expected to join the ranks very soon.
Date, time, and venue
Fulham vs Arsenal is scheduled for a 12:30 pm BST kick-off on Saturday, September 12.
The match will be played behind closed doors at Craven Cottage with no fans due to being present due to government guidelines regarding coronavirus.
Fulham vs Arsenal: Team news
David Luiz looks set to miss out for Arsenal after reportedly aggravating a neck injury, with claims it is feared he could be sidelined for four weeks of the new campaign.
William Saliba is likely to make his first competitive start for the club at centre-back, potentially alongside Rob Holding, though the game may come too soon for Gabriel, who only began training with his new team-mates at London Colney earlier this week following a protracted transfer saga.
Gabriel Martinelli, Calum Chambers, Shkodran Mustafi, and Pablo Mari are all still unavailable to Arteta, who must decide whether to start with Bernd Leno or Emiliano Martinez in goal.
Fulham have no known injury issues to start the season, with Parker pondering which of his five new signings are ready to play in such a high-profile opener.
Head to head (h2h) history and results
These two clubs have met on 57 previous occasions across all competitions.
Arsenal boasts a commanding lead in terms of wins, 39 to eight. There have also been 10 draws.
The Gunners have emerged victorious in all of the last five meetings, with Fulham’s last win over Arsenal coming all the way back in January 2012.
Prediction: Fulham 1-2 Arsenal
Fulham surely cannot be as bad defensively on their return to the Premier League as they were two seasons ago when they shipped a mammoth 81 goals en route to a deserved relegation that came after no shortage of expensive signings.
Parker has spoken of the need to learn lessons from the past and look to emulate the likes of Sheffield United.
The visit of Arsenal provides the Cottagers with the chance to claim a major scalp straight out of the gate, though Arteta and co should be on a high after their FA Cup and Community Shield exploits.
Arsenal to start the new season with a narrow win in an entertaining battle.