Fulham v Arsenal: Gunners to get off to a flyer

Fulham and Arsenal are the curtain-raiser to this year's Premier League season and Paul Robinson is expecting a tough afternoon for the Cottagers...

Fulham v Arsenal
Saturday 12 September, 12:30
Live on BT Sport

Fulham taking a different approach

Fulham are back in the top flight after a one year absence, but they aren't expecting to stay for very long as they can be backed at even money to go straight back down - they are 4.40 second favourites to finish rock bottom.

Scott Parker's side came up via the Play-offs and their most expensive signing has been Anthony Knockaert - and he was already at the club on loan. Harrison Reed has also completed his move from Southampton on a permanent basis, while right-back, Kenny Tete, has come in from Lyon and goalkeeper, Alphonse Areloa is on loan from PSG. The only other new arrivals of note are Mario Lemina from Southampton on loan and Antonee Robinson from Wigan for just under £2m.

That is certainly a different approach from when they were last promoted, but it could work in their favour as they aren't trying to bed in a whole raft of new first team players in one go.

The smiles are back at the Arsenal

The Gunners have an exciting campaign ahead of them, as Mikel Arteta has finally managed to restore the feel-good factor about the club that has been missing for a good number of years.

They ended the previous campaign by beating both Man City and Chelsea to lift the FA Cup, and they won the Community Shield a fortnight ago at the expense of Liverpool.

top four finish is a real possibility for Arsenal, but if will be fixtures like this that will go a long way to determining that, as they have already proven that they can raise their game against the big-boys.

The highlight of their summer transfer dealings is the signing of Lille's centre-half, Gabriel Magalhaes, and he looks set to make his debut - replacing the injured David Luiz. Willian has also come in from Chelsea on a free, and another centre-half, Pablo Mari, has been bought from Flamengo.

Gunners to keep it clean

The visitors are the 1.59 favourites for this lunchtime kick-off, with the hosts the outsiders at 6.40, and the draw at 4.50.

I am certainly keen on an Arsenal win here, as I do not rate Fulham's chances very highly this season. They were beaten in six of their 23 matches at the Cottage last term, which was more than all but four teams in the top half of the Championship.

Scott Parker is still a very inexperienced manager, and while the same can be said for his opposite number here, Parker didn't have the luxury of coming up under Pep Guardiola's wing.

Arsenal have rightly strengthened at the back and I am leaning towards them winning to nil - which can be backed on the Betfair Sportsbook at 17/10.

The Cottagers have Aleksandar Mitrović, but they don't have much else in the goals department, and he is the kind of character that could boil over in this first game back in the big-time.

Arsenal to do all the scoring

The Betfair layers are expecting a few goals in this one, as Over 2.5 is trading at around the 1.83 mark. Under 2.5 is 2.18.

I am actually going with the underdog in this market, as I just can't see Fulham scoring, as outlined above. That would mean that Arsenal would need to score all three themselves, and while they are capable of that, it is more likely than not that they won't.

It is also worth noting that when it came to average goals per game played last season, Fulham's matches were ranked 20th out of 24, with 26 of their 46 ending with two goals or fewer.

Key Opta Stat

Fulham have lost their last 10 top-flight London derbies - losing all 10 in the 2018/19 season - the longest ever run by a club in top-flight history.

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