Fulham are back in the Premier League after a year away and they begin the 2020-21 top flight season against Arsenal at Craven Cottage. The Cottagers defeated Brentford in extra time in the EFL Championship play-off final to return to the Premier League while the Gunners have already picked up two pieces of silverware in the early part of the season, defeating Chelsea to win the F.A. Cup and topping Liverpool to take home the Community Shield.
The Cottagers have made some big signings, bringing in Anthony Knockaert from Brighton & Hove Albion, Harrison Reed on an undisclosed fee from Southampton, Antonee Robinson from cash-strapped Wigan Athletic and ex-Chelsea man Ola Aina. Kenny Tete and Alphonse Areola (loan) have also joined the ranks.
Mikel Arteta has seen his squad bolstered by the arrivals of Willian from Chelsea on a free transfer and center-back Gabriel from French outfit Lille. Dani Ceballos has also had his loan spell extended for a second season as Arsenal seek to improve on their worst league finish in 25 years.
Arsenal have dominated Fulham recently, unbeaten in six against their London rivals, outscoring them 18-6. The last win for the Cottagers was in January of 2012, when they came out on top 2-1. The Gunners have won 20 of the 28 all-time meetings while drawing four and losing just four.
Scott Parker has a full squad to choose from as he assesses his side ahead of the season opener while Arteta will be without several players. David Luiz is out with a neck injury while Pablo Mari, Gabriel Martinelli, Emile Smith-Rowe, Calum Chambers, Sokratis and Shkodran Mutafi won't feature. The decision of who to start in goal will be a big one for the Gunners manager with either Emiliano Martinez or Bernd Leno his options.
Players to watch
Knockaert will be paired with Ivan Cavaleiro in the Fulham midfield and the ex-Brighton should provide a creative spark which will benefit striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, the Championship's leading scorer in 2019-20. Reed and Tom Cairney will play in front of the back four hoping to contain the Arsenal offense.
Ceballos will be in the heart of the four-man Arsenal midfield while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be playing down the left flank. Leno could get the nod over Emiliano in net and he'll need to keep the Fulham offense in check if the Gunners expect to come out of Craven Cottage with all three points.
Fulham: (4-2-3-1) Areola; Tete, Hector, Ream, Bryan; Reed, Cairney; Knockaert, Onomah, Cavaleiro; Mitrovic
Arsenal: (3-4-3) Leno; Saliba, Holding, Tierney; Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles; Saka, Nketiah; Aubameyang