Following the disappointment of last season’s second-place finish, Arsenal have overcome two stubborn opponents to approach Saturday’s tussle with Fulham with a perfect record. We look ahead to the game at the Emirates Stadium with our Arsenal vs Fulham prediction and preview.
Arsenal vs Fulham: The Quick Hits
- The Opta supercomputer is positive about Arsenal’s chances of maintaining their 100% record in the Premier League, giving the Gunners a 55.0% chance of victory against Fulham.
- Arsenal have never lost a home league game against Fulham (W24 D6).
- Following their victory at Everton on the opening day, Fulham are looking to win their first two away games of a top-flight season for the first time, at the 29th attempt.
It has not exactly been smooth sailing for Arsenal in the opening weeks of the Premier League season, but prospective champions must be able to win without playing well.
That is exactly what Mikel Arteta’s team have done so far, seeing off stern challenges from Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace to join Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester City on maximum points. Up next for Arteta’s charges is Saturday’s London derby against Fulham.
Arsenal were made to work for their 1-0 victory at Selhurst Park on Monday, with Palace unable to respond to Martin Ødegaard’s penalty despite Takehiro Tomiyasu being sent off for two bookable offences. Arsenal are the only team in Premier League history to win more games (36) than they have lost (34) when having a player dismissed – that kind of resolve could be crucial if they are to topple City this campaign.
On Saturday, however, fans will expect to see a more free-flowing iteration of Arteta’s side. Since the start of last season, 81 Premier League goals have been scored at the Emirates Stadium (55 for Arsenal, 26 against), giving it the highest goals-per-game ratio of any top-flight venue in that time (4.05).
With forward Gabriel Jesus still sidelined, the Gunners are looking for alternative sources of inspiration in attack. Leandro Trossard could come in, having recorded three assists in Arsenal’s last meeting with Fulham in March. The Belgian has averaged an assist every 95 minutes of Premier League action in 2023, the best ratio in a single calendar year ever recorded in the competition (among players to play a minimum of 500 minutes).
In defence, Arsenal will be without the suspended Tomiyasu and the injured Jurriën Timber, but Gabriel Magalhães’ potential introduction into the lineup could be a good omen. He has scored in three of his four Premier League games against Fulham, including a late winner in this fixture last August.
London derbies don’t tend to bring much joy for Fulham, who are winless in their last seven top-flight meetings with capital clubs, losing five. The most recent of those came last week as Brentford triumphed 3-0 at Craven Cottage, leaving Marco Silva’s men on three points from two games.
Bobby De Cordova-Reid’s goal sealed victory at Everton a week earlier, meaning they have the chance to win their first two away games of a top-flight season for the first time, in what is their 29th campaign at this level.
Fulham have plenty of problems to solve ahead of kick-off, however, with Tim Ream suspended after picking up two bookings against Brentford and their leading goalscorer in both of the last two seasons, Aleksandar Mitrovic, joining Al Hilal for a reported £50 million.
Ex-Arsenal winger Willian is among those hoping to replace Mitrovic’s goals. He has yet to face Arteta’s team since leaving in 2021 and – at the age of 35 years and 17 days – could become the oldest former Arsenal player to score against them in the Premier League on Saturday.
Arsenal vs Fulham Head-to-Head
Remarkably, Arsenal have never lost a league game at home to Fulham, winning 24 and drawing six of their 30 such meetings. No other team has a better unbeaten record at home to a particular opponent in English league history.
Indeed, Arsenal have been a difficult nut for Fulham to crack regardless of the venue, with Fulham failing to win any of their last 10 Premier League meetings with the Gunners, only managing two draws in that run and failing to keep a clean sheet in any of their last 16 against them.
Arteta’s team produced a ruthless attacking display when they last met Fulham in March, with Trossard laying on first-half goals for Gabriel, Ødegaard and Gabriel Martinelli in a routine 3-0 win at Craven Cottage.
Fulham’s last Premier League win over Arsenal came back in January 2012, when Bobby Zamora’s last-ditch winner handed Martin Jol’s team a 2-1 victory.
As well as keeping them level with Brighton and Man City at the top of the early-season league table, Monday’s victory over Palace extended Arsenal’s unbeaten run in Premier League London derbies to 13 games (11 wins, two draws).
Arsenal should also be buoyed by the prospect of a 3pm Saturday kick-off, having lost just one of their last 34 home Premier League games at that time, winning 27 and drawing six. They won three of their four such fixtures last season, drawing the other 1-1 against Brentford.
Fulham have struggled when travelling across the capital lately, winning just one of their last 19 top-flight away games against fellow London clubs (four draws, 14 defeats). Their only victory in that sequence was a 3-0 defeat of Crystal Palace on Boxing Day last year.
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off this weekend, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.
Arsenal vs Fulham Prediction
The Opta supercomputer expects Arsenal’s strong start to 2023-24 to continue on Saturday, giving them a 55.0% chance of victory at the Emirates.
Fulham are given just a 19.0% chance of causing an upset, though Silva’s side would surely take a draw at the home of last season’s runners-up. The likelihood of the points being shared stands at 26.0%.
Despite Arsenal’s unblemished start, the supercomputer gives them just a 5.1% chance of lifting the Premier League trophy at the end of the campaign. Fulham, meanwhile, are predicted to steer clear of major danger, with the supercomputer assigning them just a 6.6% chance of relegation.
Across 10,000 season simulations before this game, Arsenal ended in the top four of the league table 85.2% of the time, which would of course be enough for UEFA Champions League football again. Fulham’s most likely finishing position is 13th (14.1%), sandwiched either side of Crystal Palace and Wolves.