Start as you mean to continue. It’s an old adage, but true.
There would be no better way to begin this Premier League campaign than with three points cashed. This season will likely test the true mettle and skill of the squad, especially as we approach the dreaded November/December period, and we’ll take all the morale boosts we can get. This Arsenal squad needs to make a statement against Fulham.
Arsenal have a 9-2 aggregate score over Fulham in their last two meetings. As my colleague Ross so eloquently noted, the last time we played at Craven Cottage, it felt like we had our Arsenal back.
On this Saturday of all Saturdays, we need to prove it’s true. In our last decade of opening matches, we have won three, drawn three, and lost four. Of those ten games, two were against “Big six” sides. That’s abysmal.
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The last time we opened against Fulham, it was a very uncomplicated 2007 team. David Healy put the Cottagers 1-0 up in the first minute, but a comeback started by Aleksandr Hleb and completed by the Dutchman-who-shall-not-be-named gifted Arsenal a 2-1 win.
I’m hoping for something a little bit more dramatic this time out, with three points staying in north London. It might not be a 5-1 drubbing, but this Arsenal team have the tools to put an absolute beatdown on an admittedly strengthened Fulham side.
Let’s get into the starting XI, beginning of course, with the rock of the team.