Arsenal v Fulham Predictions, Betting Tips and Previews
December 30, 2018
Emirates Stadium - Premier League
Arsenal look to kick 2019 off with a win as they host Premier League strugglers Fulham at the Emirates Stadium on New Year's Day. The Cottagers will hope to turn a new leaf, having struggled despite the arrival of manager Claudio Ranieri.
Arsenal humiliated Fulham at Craven Cottage when the sides met back in October, with Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang both bagging braces in a 1-5 Gunners win.
Unai Emery's defensive crisis continues as Rob Holding, Konstantinos Mavropanos and Hector Bellerin are all out, with Shkodran Mustafi a major doubt. With Aaron Ramsey's future a serious question mark, the Welsh midfielder may be dropped for the first game of the January transfer window.
Ranieri has a relatively full contingent to select from with André-Frank Zambo Anguissa the only absentee, yet has struggled to decide on his strongest XI. Ryan Sessegnon has yet to lock down a starting berth, whilst rumours of a move for Jonjo Shelvey may put captain Tom Cairney's role in doubt.
Arsenal v Fulham Preview and Predictions
Unai Emery started the season with a goal of reinvigorating Arsenal's playing style, and he has undoubtedly been successful. In fact, the former PSG man is a victim of his own success, with fans already expecting the side to finish in the top four, given their impressive form.
However, the job is certainly not done for the Gunners, and Emery will be keen to use the next few transfer windows to fill in gaps in his squad. Immediately, this points to defensive reinforcements, with injuries making the lack of quality squad depth in this area glaringly obvious. Against Brighton on Boxing Day, it was an individual error from Stephan Lichsteiner, but the Gunners have been let down by their rear-guard on more than one occasion this season.
Fulham had a similar issue at the start of the campaign, with the west-London club failing to keep a clean sheet until the appointment of Ranieri. Unfortunately for the Whites, the efforts gone towards protecting the defence have had an impact on the sides ability to score goals, with the previously prolific Alexandr Mitrovic going off the boil.
Against Arsenal, the Cottagers will not have to worry too much about their struggles going forward, and instead will be able to focus on defending deep and hitting the home side on the counter. This may well play into the hands of Ranieri's side, who, in addition to the tireless Mitrovic, have pacey wingers in Sessegnon and Luciano Vietto, and the box-to-box talents to Michel Serri in the middle.
With Arsenal yet to fully discover their rhythm, the away side may well get a chance or two on the break-away, although the Gunners should have the firepower to win. They are available at around 3/10 to win, with Fulham 9/1 and the draw at 5/1.
Arsenal to win 2-0 at 7/1
The Cottagers have struggled too much in front of goal to even give Arsenal's shaky defence much of a test.
Arsenal to score a penalty at 10/3
The Gunners may struggle to get through a packed defence, and a set piece could well open the game up.