Fulham vs Arsenal preview, team news, line-ups and predicted score

By on December 30, 2023


Arsenal will be desperately looking to bounce back from Thursday night’s defeat to West Ham when we take on Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday afternoon.

We had a golden opportunity to leapfrog Liverpool and regain our place at the top of the Premier League table when we took on the Hammers at the Emirates Stadium in midweek. However, despite completely dominating the game and creating over 30 shots on goal, Arsenal failed to take their chances and slumped to a shock 2-0 defeat.

Tomas Soucek gave the visitors the lead in the 13th minute with another controversial goal. The ball appeared to be out of play when Jarrod Bowen pulled it back for Soucek to slam home into the net. However, the officials on the field gave the goal and VAR couldn’t find an angle to confirm the ball was definitely out, so the goal stood.

This is the second time in a matter of weeks this has happened to Arsenal after a similar incident against Newcastle. It’s unfortunate, but you just feel that in today’s world with the use of technology, the referees should have the tools needed to say for certain whether a ball is in play or not.

These close call decisions haven’t gone our way, and it ended up costing us valuable points as West Ham hit Arsenal with another sucker punch in the second half when Kostantinos Mavropanos headed in off the bar against his former club. We couldn’t find a way back into the game so slumped to our third Premier League defeat of the season.

It was a cruel blow for Arsenal as we squandered a great chance to keep the pressure on those teams around us at the top of the table. We’re now two points behind leaders Liverpool, and with Man City and Aston Villa both winning today, Arsenal are now down in fourth position – level on points with City.

It’s vital we get back to winning ways tomorrow but it’s not going to be easy against a tricky Fulham side. They showed their quality with back-to-back 5-0 wins at home to Forest and West Ham earlier this month while they were also unlucky not to get a result at Liverpool. However, the wheels have come off in recent games as they were well beaten by Newcastle before losing to Burnley and Bournemouth so they come into the Arsenal game off the back of three consecutive league defeats.

Those results have seen the Cottagers drop down to 13th in the table and they’re now just six points from the relegation zone. So they’ll be keen to get back on track and put some distance between them and the bottom three with a positive result against Arsenal at home tomorrow.

How to watch

The game has been selected for live broadcast and will be shown on Sky Sport Main Event at 2pm on Sunday afternoon. Subscribers can watch on their sky box or stream via the Sky Go app on mobile of tablet devices.

Those supporters who want to attend the game in person can buy Fulham tickets through the official club channels or via trusted resellers online.

Team news

Arsenal will have Kai Havertz available again after he missed the West Ham game through suspension. The German international is expected to be handed an immediate recall to start in midfield alongside Declan Rice and Martin Odegaard.

Thomas Partey is still not back in full first team training as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury that’s hampered him this season. The Ghanaian international is believed to be close to making his comeback, but the Fulham game will come too soon.

Takehiro Tomiyasu is in a similar position. The defender has been on the sidelines with a calf injury in recent weeks but he’s on the verge of returning to full training. He might be available for the FA Cup clash with Liverpool next week but the trip to Craven Cottage tomorrow will be too soon for Tomiyasu.

Fabio Vieira is another absentee for the Gunners this weekend as he’s still recovering from groin surgery and won’t be back for a few weeks yet. Jurrien Timber is also still doing his rehabilitation from a serious ACL injury so he’s out for the foreseeable future.

As for Fulham, Willian is a doubt to face his former club due to a thigh injury. Adama Traore is out with a thigh problem while Tim Ream is still recovering from a calf injury that’s kept him out lately.

However, Raul Jimenez is back in contention after serving a three match ban and he’s expected to be handed an immediate recall up front.

Likely line-ups

Arteta doesn’t have too many options to rotate his side so we should expect to see a very similar line-up to the one that faced West Ham. David Raya will keep goal once again while the back four is likely to be Ben White, William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes and Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Havertz should come in to the midfield alongside Rice and Odegaard. It will be interesting to see if Leandro Trossard keeps his place and moves out to the left. Or if Gabriel Martinelli retains his spot on the wing with Trossard dropping out.

Bukayo Saka should start once again on the right wing while Gabriel Jesus is likely to start up front despite missing some great chances against West Ham. Eddie Nketiah will, therefore, have to settle for a place on the bench.

For Fulham, Jimenez could start along with Bobby De-Cordova Reid and Alex Iwobi in attack. Harrison Reed is also pushing for a recall in midfield.

Likely Fulham XI: Leno; Tete, Adarabioyo, Bassey, Robinson; Palhinha, Reed; Decordova-Reid, Pereira, Iwobi; Jimenez

Likely Arsenal XI: Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Rice, Havertz, Odegaard; Saka, Trossard, Jesus

Predicted score

Arsenal know a win would take them back to the top of the table ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Newcastle on New Year’s Day, and the Gunners simply cannot afford another slip up tomorrow. The defeat to West Ham was a big blow for our title hopes so we have to get back to winning ways at Craven Cottage.

Fulham can be a dangerous side at home but Arsenal should be confident of having too much quality. If we create the chances we did against West Ham again, surely we can’t squander them again?! I’m backing the boys to bring home three hard fought points on Sunday. Fulham 1-2 Arsenal