Fulham vs Arsenal | Saturday 12th September 2020, 12:30 | BT Sport
It’s back! After just seven weeks, the Premier League returns and and looks likely to be as entertaining as ever. Matchweek one commences with Arsenal travelling to Craven Cottage to face newcomers Fulham, with both teams hoping to get off to a flyer.
After just a one-season hiatus, Fulham and Scott Parker have dragged themselves back into the top-flight by beating play-off favourites Brentford at Wembley. Although the Cottagers were outsiders for promotion, it was evident from watching their play-off journey that their team spirit and morale is prominent and was a significant factor in the Whites' success.
Given this, you’d expect this Fulham side to be up for the fight at home to Arsenal, particularly considering a good chunk of their players will be making their top-flight debut and looking to stamp their mark. Although Arsenal have improved under Mikel Arteta, the hosts will fancy their chances given the Gunners' patchy away form.
Aleksandar Mitrovic will be pivotal in Fulham’s success this season and will be looking to continue last season’s form. After scoring 26 goals in 40 appearances, the Cottagers' Premier League status may be dependent on the Serbian’s performance, especially when their second-top goalscorer, Tom Cairney, bagged just eight times last term.
Fulham to win the Most Corners (5/2 Bet365)
The presence of wingers Anthony Knockaert and Ivan Cavaleiro will provide width and crosses for Mitrovic against an Arsenal side who are vulnerable to balls into the box. Fulham made the fifth-most crosses in the Championship last season (21 per-game), while Arsenal conceded the fourth-most (also 21 per-game) – an encouraging stat for Parker’s men, who will have acknowledged the fragility of the Arsenal defence during preparations.
It is therefore no surprise to see why Fulham racked up the corner count last season, averaging 6.74 per-game at home – the fourth-most in the Championship. Conversely, Arsenal conceded 6.37 corners on average away, whilst losing the corner count in 12 of those 19 matches.
The game is there for Fulham to seek a positive result and I have no doubt they’ll have many crossing opportunities and spells of pressure. As a result, Fulham to win the Most Corners at 5/2 looks like great value, to me (Bet365).
Over 1 Fulham Card and Over 3 Fulham Corners (20/21 Bet365)
Although Fulham edged their way to promotion, they had to work very hard for it off the ball as well as on. They received the third-most yellow cards throughout the campaign (92) and the most on their own turf (47) – averaging just over two. To add to this, the Whites are up against an Arsenal side whose opponents have received two or more yellow cards in 14 of their 19 away days in 2019/20.
If Fulham want to get anything from this game, they’ll have to nullify the attacking threat that Arsenal possess through an organised defence and tactical fouling when required. I expect the poor disciplinary record from Fulham to continue going into this game and pick up at least a couple of cards.
Therefore. Over 1 Fulham Card and Over 3 Fulham Corners (20/21 Bet365) looks a solid bet.