The opening match of the 2020/21 EPL season takes place at Craven Cottage as newly-promoted Fulham hosts their fellow Londoners Arsenal in Saturday’s early kickoff.
Fulham earned promotion back to the Premier League thanks to terrific 2-1 victory over Brentford in the Championship playoff match. Defender Joe Bryan double strike in extra time gave them the edge of their highly fancied opponents who up until that playoff had been playing some of the best football in the Championship.
There’s lots of work to do though for them to remain competitive in the top flight. Unlike in 2018 where they went on a spending spree after promotion but ended up signing flops and ultimately went down again that season, coach Scott Parker has done well to keep their key players like Championship top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Even though last season’s 8th place finish for Arsenal left a bitter taste in the mouth of their supporters, they come into this season with an air of optimism given the signs of a revival they’ve shown under coach Mikel Arteta who came in to steady the ship following a string of disappointing results under former coach Unai Emery. They beat Man City and Chelsea in the semi-finals and finals of the FA Cup and kicked off this season with a thrilling penalty shootout win over Liverpool in the Community Shield.
Arsenal have had added some depth to the squad with the signing of Chelsea midfielder Willian and Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes. They will need all hands on deck to get through a tough set of fixtures to begin the season. A win here will give them the momentum and confidence they need.
Arsenal under Arteta has look rejuvenated and their recent results point to a team that plays with a purpose. They beat Chelsea and Liverpool in successive matches either side of the end of the season break to collect two trophies. With the summer transfers and other deals they did, they have quite a bit of depth now and look too strong for their London rivals. One of their Achilles’ heels for last season was their away results. They only won 2 of their last 11 away matches and were generally poor on their travels for most of the season with just four away victories all season. In order to get back to the top 4 picture, they need to correct that anomaly and this game gives them the perfect chance. We are backing them to get the win here @ 1.56 with Blackbet as our first betting tip for the game.
As with most derbies, drama is expected here. Fulham overcame a more fancied Brentford to earn this promotion and that says a lot about their fighting spirit. They tend to play very well at home too. With the championship top scorer, Serbian Aleksandar Mitrovic raring to go, we can expect them to test the Arsenal defence. In light of this, we feel there is some value in the goals market and we are going for Goal Over 2.5 @ 1.72 with Blackbet as our final pick here.
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