Fulham look to recover from defeat against local rivals on Sunday (2pm), as they host the Premier League leaders Arsenal. Can FFC come out on top? Or will the visitors extend their lead at the top of the Premier League table? This preview aims to reveal all before deciding on our betting tips.
The Cottagers went into Monday night’s away game against Brentford in decent form having seen off Leeds in the FA Cup, after going four EPL games without tasting defeat. Such form did not act as a platform for success, as they were downed by their West London rivals, who scored three times on their way to picking up three points.
In general, though, things have been going well for Marco Silva’s men, who at home have lost just one of their last seven competitive games. That should give Sunday’s hosts the confidence required to go toe-to-toe with an Arsenal side that seems determined to bring the Premier League title back to the red side of North London for the first time since 2004.
As far as the visitors are concerned, things have been going swimmingly. They will arrive at Craven Cottage after winning each of their last four in the Premier League, a run that has put them five points clear at the top of the table.
The Gunners were halted ever so slightly by Sporting Lisbon in the week, as they drew 2-2 on the road in the Europa League. They still have a second leg to confirm superiority, so that result isn’t likely to have dented their confidence ahead of this clash.
FFC home form hard to criticise
Fulham’s efforts at home really are quite tough to pick apart. In recent weeks, they have stuck to the task and got the job done well on their own soil. Sure, they drew against Wolves when last in Premier League action at Craven Cottage, but they looked as difficult as ever to beat on that occasion, and that is the point.
Teams find it hard to go to Craven Cottage and return with all three points, which is why only three of the current top six have left the West London venue with maximum points in hand. The last team to win away at Fulham was Tottenham, who edged it with a single-goal victory thanks to a superb long-range effort from Harry Kane. But for that goal, they would not have won, further illustrating the fact that Silva’s men are not easy to face on their own patch.
In 2023 especially, the Cottagers have stopped teams from building up a head of steam offensively, and that is why they’ve only conceded a maximum of one goal in each of their last seven competitive games at home. They have also kept two of their last three visitors out. Much of that is thanks to their settled back-line, especially their solid central partnership of Tim Ream and Issa Diop, both of whom have been excellent this season.
Gunners going well on the road
Unfortunately for the hosts, they are up against an away team that is very good. Not only can Arsenal hurt teams away from the comforts of home, which is why they have won ten out of 13 travelling EPL games, but they are very good at keeping things tight.
Having scored 25 away goals, Mikel Arteta’s men are the top scorers on the road in the Premier League, but it is perhaps what they have done at the other end which has been the catalyst for their success. They have shipped just nine goals, conceding an average of 0.69. They are also the best team in the league when it comes to expected goals conceded on the road, having surrendered an average of 0.91, while only Manchester City have recorded a better xG difference than Arsenal, who currently boast a figure of +0.64 in that respect.
Gunners on top
Fulham have found little joy against Arsenal in recent years. When the teams met earlier in the campaign, Arsenal won by two goals to one. The Gunners have also won seven of their last nine against the Cottagers, who are without a win in this fixture during that time.
Fulham last beat Arsenal at Craven Cottage back in 2012. When the teams last faced off at this venue, the current Premier League leaders won by three goals to nil.
FFC vs AFC: Where’s the bet?
The visitors come here as rather warm favourites, which isn’t difficult to agree with. Good as Fulham are, the Gunners are better, while they arrive here in better shape. That said, this preview wouldn’t be rushing to back them at such an odds-on price, especially after their European exploits on Thursday evening.
At the same time, I would not put people off the prospect of ‘Fulham +1 Handicap’ at around 13/10. Then again, when Fulham have come unstuck at home, it has been against top-six opposition, losing three out of four such games.
At the early prices, the better option looks to be ‘Under 2.5 Goals’. The hosts will be looking to frustrate at keep things tight, we know that. Such tactics very nearly paid off against Spurs, while Marco Silva will be keen for his team to avoid conceding goals as they did on Monday night. Moreover, they have given little away at home in recent times, so we know they can do it.
Similarly, the visitors don’t tend to give much away on the road. They shutout Leicester last time out on their travels in the Premier League, while they have also conceded one or less against the likes of Spurs, Everton, Man City, Wolves and Chelsea in the last few months.
Throw in that only one of Arsenal’s last five away games domestically have contained more than two goals, coupled with the fact that less than three goals have been scored in each of Fulham’s last five at home, and odds of 11/10 looks a little generous. So, for the betting tips for this FFC vs AFC preview, we rely on just the one:
- Under 2.5 goals @ best odds of 11/10 with Bet365.
Bradley Gibbs is an experienced football writer. He is an expert analyst on Premier League, and all global football leagues & tournaments, for Just Bookies. Bradley has been published by many respected outlets, including USA Betting and the Racing & Football Outlook. He has also written betting strategy guides.