Arsenal will look to claim a third consecutive Premier League win this weekend when they host Fulham at the Emirates Stadium.
Two narrow victories over bottom-half opposition mean home fans will be careful not to dismiss the threat posed by our west London visitors, and the suspension of Takehiro Tomiyasu following a brutal assault on Monday night will, unfortunately, cause Mikel Arteta to once again rejig his backline setup.
However, Fulham have looked somewhat laboured themselves in recent weeks and were well beaten by Brentford last time out, while Aleksandar Mitrovic’s transfer to Al Hilal leaves the team a little blunter up top – something which should embolden the Gunners’ defence.
3 key battles to keep an eye on as Arsenal host Fulham in the Premier League
It could be yet another lock-picking exercise for Arsenal, and here are three key battles that might help them succeed.
1. Eddie Nketiah vs Calvin Bassey
Full Premier League debuts do not come much tougher than this.
A one-match suspension for Tim Ream suggests Calvin Bassey will get his first Fulham start since arriving from Ajax late last month, but the highly-rated defender may struggle to contain a livewire presence like Eddie Nketiah.
Although he boasts the big frame and athleticism to stifle any forward, Bassey sometimes lacks composure when under duress and can be pressured into making mistakes on the ball, perhaps owing to his trouble with executing progressive passes.
This spells huge danger as Nketiah will hound him all match long and is well versed in wriggling away from physically imposing centre-backs, as he expertly demonstrated at Selhurst Park. His burst of pace will test Bassey’s much-lauded recovery skills along with his concentration levels, while the numerical advantage we often gain in the final third should result in plenty of goalscoring chances.
It will be fascinating to see who comes out on top.
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