Mark Lawrenson states his prediction for Fulham v Arsenal
Mark Lawrenson is backing Arsenal to beat Fulham in their Premier League opener on Saturday
Mark Lawrenson is backing Arsenal to secure a comfortable win against Fulham in their Premier League opener at Craven Cottage on Saturday.
The Gunners will start the 2020-21 Premier League campaign with a trip to west London in search of an opening day victory.
Arsenal have enjoyed a positive couple of months under Mikel Arteta after winning the FA Cup and the Community Shield to help the Spanish head coach build momentum.
The Gunners have signed Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes and Chelsea FC winger Willian in the 2020 summer transfer window so far.
Arsenal have also signed Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares in permanent deals following their loan stints at the north London outfit.
The Gunners have managed to recruit Spain international Dani Ceballos on a season-long loan from Real Madrid for the second successive campaign.
Fulham secured their return to the Premier League thanks to a 2-1 victory over Brentford in the Championship playoff final.
Former Liverpool FC defender Lawrenson is backing Arsenal to secure a comfortable 2-0 win against Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday lunchtime.
“With no fans allowed into grounds, Fulham will not get any of the usual buzz or lift that newly promoted teams get from their fans when they are at home on the opening day of the season,” Lawrenson told BBC Sport.
“The Cottagers must know most people think they will go straight back down, but their manager Scott Parker can use that as a way of motivating them.
“I saw quite a bit of them in the Championship last season and they try to play good football, with the option of using Aleksandar Mitrovic as a target man too.
“I just think Arsenal will be ready for them, though. For obvious reasons, it does not seem like very long at all since the Gunners won the FA Cup final.
“Since then, they have won the Community Shield too, which is as competitive as it gets for a friendly. I’d expect them to be sharp.”
The Gunners are hoping to win their opening Premier League game in consecutive seasons – a feat they haven’t achieved in 11 years.
Arsenal have beaten Fulham in their last five Premier League meetings to enjoy a run of dominance in this particular London derby.
Fulham haven’t beaten Arsenal since January 2012 when Steve Sidwell and Bobby Zamora cancelled out Laurent Koscielny’s first-half goal.
Arsenal will take on West Ham United in their second Premier League fixture at The Emirates next Saturday.