Fulham v Arsenal: Premier League – live

Fulham v Arsenal: Premier League – live

Key events

Goal ruled out…still 0-0

The wait is considerable, we are in Ultra-HD mode in Stockley Park…..and Martinelli was offside. A let-off for Robinson. One second he was unfortunate, the next he was a lucky man. Boos from the travelling Gunners.

Goal! Fulham 0-1 Arsenal (Robinson, own-goal, 16)

Martinelli escape down the left. Is he offside? The ball spinnakers off Robinson and in….but here comes VAR…..

14 min: Fulham have a free-kick, the ball cleared by Zinchenko. It’s bitty, and low-key, the type of game that can get away from a title chaser. Mind, City played like this yesterday at Palace and escaped. Patience, then.

12 min: Better, a quick interchange of passes, but Martinelli can’t keep the ball in at the touchline. The best bit of zippy football from Arsenal, of which there has been little.

11 min: Yes, that was an uneventful first 10 minutes. Arsenal may need to step it up.

8 min: First foul on Saka, the type that enrages Arsenal fans, from Antonee Robinson. He was late, very late. The resultant free-kick looks like a training-ground routine coming apart in its execution.

6 min: First bit of Arsenal attacking sees Trossard, centrally, make territory, only for Lukic to clear up. The ball eventually ends up with Leno. This game has been a little, well, church-like so far. Not much bite.

4 min: Mitrovic’s first involvement, winning a foul from Saliba. Fulham do not choose to get it launched to the big man. Instead, they pass the ball around wastefully. The camera angle at Fulham this season reminds most of Turf Moor.

2 min: Arsenal fans belt out their version of “Allez Allez Allez”. The main stand at Fulham, that by the Thames, is still replete with empty seats. Project not yet complete. Next season, hopefully, and Fulham will be a Premier League club for that.

1 min: And away we go at the Cottage, Faithless’ Insomnia leading us in. And it’s a slowish start from Arsenal. Let us recall they conceded the second-fastest ever goal in PL history last week.

That rather strange music they play at Craven Cottage can be heard, the tune that gets faster and faster, with an orchestra over a rock drummer speeding up the tempo. It really booms out there. That means the teams are near, and soon after they make their way from the corner, the actual Cottage himself.

Tim Ream leads out Fulham with him and the team mascot wearing sensory headphones. Photograph: Kieran McManus/Shutterstock

Richard Hirst is a Fulham man. He gets in touch: “Regrettably, and regretfully, a prior appointment with the grandchildren means I won’t be following the MBM this afternoon, so I need to get in quick. I agree we’ll miss Palhinha, and will probably lose, but the very fact that you mention parity with Liverpool is an indicator of how far we’ve come (especially when compared to our two previous Premier League seasons). So first cheer for Gary Lineker, but second for Marco Silva for what he has achieved. COYW”

Brian Cox, the actor, is on the field doing that Sky chummy thing, promoting Succession, as a former Fulham resident. He’s reminiscing about watching Bobby Moore, George Best and Rodney Marsh together and saying Logan Roy is like “Bill Shankly with steel”. The first Hannibal Lecter also invokes Dave Mackay, of whom there none more harder.

And Marco Silva also spoke to Sky Sports in that on-pitch chummy thing they often do, with Jamie Redknapp among the quizmasters.

We don’t change many things for Arsenal. We know they will do lots of things we don’t like in the way they can attack but we are ready to be strong and want to express ourselves when we get the ball.

We played well against them in the first half of the season, our organisation was really good. We were very muich in our own half and we expect strong pressure on the ball today. They like to press high and we need to be ready for that. We want to play in behind but we can’t always do that and we need to mix it up.

The players know how we work, we train it all week. Our quality on the ball is important. The player who replaces Palhinha is a different profile. Our style won’t change. The reaction of Joao in those moments is a big thing, he wins the ball quicker than other players but we hope that Lukic can play well.

We are going to try and beat Arsenal. We have shown the fans that we are ready to face any team at the Cottage and we need their support today.

The Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, spoke to Sky Sports, starting with that defeat of Bournemouth last week.

I love winning in any form or shape. It’s not a good thing [winning in the last minute] for my health but the energy that generated in the stadium is great. It gives you belief. Every game is different, the margins are so small and we need to win by bigger margins so we need to improve on that.

I trust my players. We made six changes on Thursday and we make changes again today.

Really happy with Trossard. We have been looking at him for a while. He gives us adaptability and creativity in the final third. He’s a really important player for us.

Every manager wants to end before the international break in good form and it’s no different for us. They are a well organised team. They are good on set-plays and direct play. They can play off Mitrovic and don’t lose many games. Today will be tough.

What do these teams mean? Well, Fulham are without Willian, the Arsenal bust turned rather useful Cottager. He’s not even on the bench as Bobby Decordova-Reid and Tosin Adarabioyo come in for the Brazilian as well as Issa Diop. Joao Palhinha is still missing through suspension.

For Arsenal, beyond Jesus’ place on the bench, Leandro Trossard is back after his injury last week. Ben White is back at full-back, and so is Granit Xhaka in midfield. Strong Arsenal team with Thomas Partey starting. Add Jesus to that and you pretty much have their first choice.

The teams – Gabriel Jesus on the bench for Arsenal

Fulham: Leno, Tete, Tosin, Ream, Robinson, Reed, Lukic, Pereira, Decordova-Reid, Solomon, Mitrovic. Subs: Rodak, Wickens, Wilson, James, Diop, Vinicius, Francois, Harris, C Robinson.

Arsenal team: Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Partey, Xhaka, Odegaard, Saka, Martinelli, Trossard. Subs: Turner, Tierney, Jesus, Smith Rowe, Holding, Tomiyasu, Jorginho, Vieira, Nelson.

Church on a Sunday, Jesus returns?….Nah, best left.

Are you one of those who thinks Arsenal are overdoing the celebs? Well, Mikel Arteta has a thought for you.

Well, [if] you want passion and emotion there is nothing better than scoring goals and winning football matches. So if not, you go to church. For sure, I won’t be telling the players not to celebrate on Sunday.

There’s more than a few London churches that will be full of passion and emotion today but Arteta’s point is that the flush of emotion that many dismiss has also been a key facet of an unlikely title charge.

That’s the story at the top. Should Fulham win, they can actually draw level on points with Liverpool though they have an inferior goal difference. What a season they’ve had. Remember when it was suggested they would be a “yo-yo” team, a label Marco Silva thought was a fitting label.

Preamble

That late Erling Haaland penalty at Selhurst Park was a blow to Arsenal, just when it looked as if they might steal a further march on Manchester City. No matter, on with the business of winning matches and staying five points clear, which can be a fraught business, judging by last week’s 3-2 win against Bournemouth, a victory secured in the dying seconds from Reiss Nelson, who with three goals and two assists in his short cameo is one of the most potent players around.

Perhaps though, we might get a glimpse of Gabriel Jesus today, at least on the bench for what looks a tough trip to Fulham, who began their season with a 2-2 draw against Liverpool that signposted a fine campaign ahead. They will, though, miss Joao Palhinha, one of the signings of the season, in midfield. Marco Silva’s team work hard, and press hard, with what promises to be a chilly March afternoon by the Thames. The stakes are getting higher with each turn in the title race, and there’s all to play for.

Kickoff is at 12pm UK time. Join me.

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