Fulham v Arsenal: Back the Gunners to return to form
It is 21 years since Arsenal lost both of their opening matches of the season, but given their dire display against Aston Villa, there will be plenty of people backing Fulham to add to Arsene Wenger’s woes.
However the Cottagers poor home record last season demonstrates why Arsenal will run out winners, and they should be backed at 11/10.
Fulham lost nine matches at Craven Cottage last season, the equal most of any team in the division, and conceded 30 goals.
Martin Jol’s side lost their last four home matches of last season, against Arsenal, Chelsea, Reading and Liverpool.
With new signing Maarten Stekelenburg likely out injured for this match, a makeshift back five could suffer against Arsenal’s free-scoring attack.
They lost 1-0 to Arsenal in a tight match with two red cards near the end of the season, and it is worth noting there have been four red cards in this fixture over the past three years.
Arsenal were exposed by Villa’s excellent counter-attacking play at the Emirates, but should benefit from Fulham being more willing to attack at home, as they proved when they tore apart Fenerbahce in Turkey in their Champions League play-off.
Olivier Giroud scored from the spot in that match to continue his impressive start to the campaign, and the Frenchman is priced at 6/1 to open the scoring against Fulham.
Although he may not be match-fit to start for Fulham, Darren Bent could be worth backing to score on his debut at any time at 9/4 as he has scored seven goals in 11 matches for four different clubs against Arsenal.
Much to their fans’ frustration, Arsenal are following a familiar script this summer and it looks unlikely they will have any new signings settled in the team for the upcoming north London derby.
However there is still plenty of quality in their side, and they will get the better of Fulham at Craven Cottage.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing
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