Fulham are preparing to open their return to the Premier League by taking on Arsenal at Craven Cottage, but the visitors will be well prepared for the match ahead.
Some will be writing off the Cottagers chances of avoiding relegation at the end of the season, and their manager will need to use that as part of the motivation for his squad this term, but at this early point in the campaign, it is too early to say in reality.
Arsenal will have their own pressures this season, with a newfound confidence after an impressive opening nine months under manager Mikel Arteta which has already returned silverware in the FA Cup and the Community Shield, but a return the Champions League must be a priority.
Nothing less than a win will be expected today, and I’m not worried that the right result will come our way, especially given how match-fit our players must be.
Having already beaten Liverpool two weeks ago, and with the FA Cup final win over Chelsea only six weeks ago, our team should be in the right state of mind when they return to Premier League action today.
Fulham have also only been out of action for six weeks having won the play-off final against Brentford shortly after our FA Cup heroics, but have only tasted friendly competition since.
While a limited break between last season and this one can’t be the best preparation for players, it is my understanding that any fatigue would come later on into the campaign, but I’m hoping that our squad is big enough by the close of the transfer window to cope with some rotation, whilst injuries could also play a part.
Fulham will also lose some impetus without their fans inside Craven Cottage, losing much of that derby atmosphere, which should play into our hands also.
Will Arsenal simply be the more prepared today as we secure a win against our London rivals?