Saturday Chelsea outlasted Premier League leader, Manchester City to advance to the finals of the Emirates FA Cup. Throughout the match it was clear that EPL and Champions League silverware is the main focus for Pep Guardiola and company.
With another week stocked full of important fixtures, the race for a Champions League berth tightens with four teams within six points of qualification. Each week I'll break down the Premier League action from a betting perspective, digging through information pertinent to bettors and offering my take on particular matchups. With the small weekend slate, we will turn our attention to Arsenal vs Fulham. (all odds via PointsBet Sportsbook):
Arsenal vs Fulham (Sunday, 8:30 a.m. ET)
Line: Arsenal (-137) | Draw (+260) | Fulham (+380)
Thursday Arsenal traveled to Prague to complete the second leg of their quarter-final Europa League matchup with Slavia Prague. From start to finish the Gunners were all over them, winning the contest 4-0. Arsenal held Slavia Prague to 0.39 xG and held Sheffield to 0.33 xG in the fixture before. The defense looks much improved. The question is can they sustain that strong defensive intensity to make a serious run at a top five finish.
Their fixture Sunday will be a great way to gauge this team’s commitment to defense. They are taking on bottom three Fulham; a team who have slid down the table with recent poor form. If Arsenal continue to communicate on defense, they should have no problem keeping Fulham out of the net.
Outside of the stellar defense Arsenal have played over the past few fixtures, their offense seems to be clicking as well. This could because of the stellar play from rising stars Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Ødegaard. Both players coming to the club this season has provided the spark that Mikel Arteta has been looking for.
The creativity of the Arsenal midfielders should give Fulham trouble. Should Fulham’s defense be up to the task, it should only take one or two goals from Arsenal to win this fixture. Despite Fulham’s recent victory over Liverpool, their form has been terrible. They are 1-4 in their last five and are averaging just 0.6 goals per contest.
The battle to fight off relegation looks to be a daunting task for Fulham. They must play Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester City in their next five fixtures. Should they want to avoid finishing in the bottom three, they know winning in London is a likely requirement. Since they are seven points from the 17th spot and tough games ahead on their schedule, they will no longer look to play for a draw.
Desperation could possibly lead to Fulham opening their compact lines leading to more lanes for the Arsenal players to get behind. Since Arsenal have been playing much better over these past few weeks, I believe Arsenal will take care of business at home. I will be betting Arsenal to win (-137).
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