Thoughts on Arsenal’s Fixture List for the 2013/14 Premier League Season
It seems like yesterday when Laurent Koscielny scored the goal that guaranteed Arsenal a fourth placed finish despite a campaign that had its fair share of disappointment. That stinging defeat against Tottenham in March saw the Gunners plunge to depths beyond and when it seemed as if all hope was lost, Arsene Wenger rallied his troops and they went on a daring surge that saw them amass 26 points from a possible 30.
The transfer window is still open but the Gunners have failed to strengthen their squad (no disrespect to Yaya Sanogo) and this has put the team in a somewhat precarious situation, as the large amount of deadwood flushed out shows that the squad is thin-bare and is in dire need of reinforcements. Just when the Gunners thought that they were odds on to capture Luiz Gustavo’s signature, Goal.com reports that Wolfsburg are in a very good position to hijack the deal.
With Arsenal’s Premier League curtain raiser against Aston Villa coming up tomorrow against Aston Villa, I’ve decided to reflect on the club’s league fixtures over the course of the season. The month of August sees the Gunners host Aston Villa before a tricky trip to Craven Cottage to take on Fulham. Even if I have every reason to be optimistic, Arsenal’s performance against Fulham away was very scrappy and Olivier Giroud’s red card didn’t help the team’s cause. However, I’m tipping the Gunners for two league victories this month.
September sees the Gunners kick off the month in what would be a very fiesty North London Derby. While Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal hierarchy have been busy leaving the club’s money in its coffers, Andre Villas-Boas and the Tottenham chums have been very active acquiring the services of Paulinho, Nacer Chedli, Roberto Soldado and Etienne Capoue.
With Gareth Bale’s future still in doubt, Tottenham would be a massive threat but if he manages to seal a move away from White Hart Lane, I don’t believe that they would be able to replace their own version of Superman. However, I expect the North London Derby to end as an exciting draw this season, unlike the 5-2 whooping the neighbors received in the last campaign.
The Gunners would then face a tricky away trip to Paolo di Canio’s Sunderland before clashes against Swansea and Stoke. These are teams with contrasting styles of play and I would expect the Gunners to win at least two of these three fixtures. In October, the Gunners would be in for strolls in the park against West Brom, Norwich and Crystal Palace. Unless the Gunners plan on giving us, the fans, another bout of their classic heartbreak moments, I would expect them to ease past the aforementioned teams.
November is traditionally known as Arsenal’s bogey month and it’s only befitting that the Gunners would meet the defending champions in their turf. Call me a pessimist but if Arsenal hasn’t lost any game before their visit to Old Trafford, this would be the ground they may suffer their first defeat, unless they want to go a la Bayern on them.
There are also games against Liverpool, Southampton and Cardiff in the month of November. The games against Southampton and Cardiff would end up as wins for the Gunners but with Arsenal hosting Liverpool, I can’t really beat my chest to say that we would sweep the Merseyside outfit off their feet. Last season, Arsenal had to come from two goals down to salvage a draw at home and the season before that, Kenny Dalglish’s side ran out as 2-0 winners. That game will have draw written all over it.
If Arsenal fails to strengthen the squad before the transfer window closes, injuries and fatigue would certainly take their toll in the Gunners matches in the grueling month of December. The Gunners would begin the month with a comfortable fixture against Hull before clashing with Everton. Nail biting fixtures against Manchester City, Chelsea, West Ham and Newcastle would come before the turn of the New Year and Heaven knows that these fixtures would be difficult.
The Gunners would be triumphant against Hull and probably Everton but the idea of three away games against Manchester City, West Ham and Newcastle with a home fixture against Chelsea sandwiched somewhere will be a major cause for concern. If I want to be really generous, I would say that the Gunners can only manage seven points from a possible 12 against these four teams.
The turn of the New Year would see the Gunners play Cardiff, Aston Villa, Fulham and Southampton. If the team morale is low and the spirits are dampened after a poor December, the bad run of form could affect these January games but if it’s the other way around, I see the Gunners running riot past all these teams in January 2014.
In February, the Gunners would do the double against Crystal Palace before a heated clash against Liverpool in Anfield. With the Gunners spending a considerable chunk of the summer trying to lure their star forward away, I expect things to be very hostile at Merseyside. Despite the volatile nature of Liverpool’s 12th Man on the day, a draw would be a fair result for both sides.
After sharing the spoils in the Battle of Anfield, it will be another homecoming for Robin van Persie and I expect the fans to bring out their pitchforks and torches to make life pretty damn miserable for the Dutch striker, even though a part of me believes that he would probably get on the scoresheet yet again. However, I’m tipping the Gunners to record a famous win to add to the archives. A rather comfortable home clash against Sunderland would come up next.
In March, things are going to be very hot for the Gunners are they brace themselves for a baptism of fire against Stoke, Swansea, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City. These are 15 priceless points up for grabs but the little boy inside me tells me that the Gunners would only be able to garner 10 points.
April would see the Gunners take on Everton, West Ham, Hull and Newcastle. On Arsenal’s day, these are games that are winnable on paper but playing Everton in Goodison Park would probably be the only fixture the Gunners would drop points. The Gunners would end the 2013/14 campaign in May against Norwich and West Brom and the curtain will be closed on yet another pulsating season.
I don’t have any crystal ball that can see the future but I shared my thoughts on these fixtures based on my knowledge of the team I support and how they have been faring against their familiar foes in the Premier League.
Do you agree with my thoughts or do you think otherwise?
Feel free to share them with your comments.
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