Analysis of Arsenal's fixtures for the 2016/17 Premier League season
The Euros might currently be in the limelight but fans are already salivating at the prospect of some of the world’s best managers going head to head in the Premier League next season The fixtures for the EPL 2016/17 season have been announced and it is going be one amazing rollercoaster ride right from the get-go!
For a football fan, the thrills and spills of this league cannot be matched by any other event in the world. The 2016/17 season is also the most anticipated because of one thing and one thing only, managerial rivalries.
Arsenal missed a glorious opportunity last season. The Gunners in their usual swagger were top at Christmas, a position there were familiar with in recent seasons in that period of time, but spectacularly collapsed in the second half of the campaign, a gift Leicester City gleefully accepted.
The 2016/17 season will be Arsene Wenger’s last with his contract running out at the end of the campaign. There were rumors of an extension being offered for the veteran manager but the boss himself rubbished them.
With Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp , Pep Guardiola, and Antonio Conte at the helm of Arsenal’s rivals next season it’s safe to say Wenger will have to have the best managerial season of his career to outwit his opponents.
But it would be a mistake to rule out Wenger’s team even before the season has begun. He has already added some much-needed steel in the middle of the park with the signing of Granit Xhaka. So let’s take a look at the set of fixtures the Gunners will go through month by month.
The Gunners don’t have an easy start to the campaign. The opening weekend they play Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. If past history is anything to go by the match will be a classic. Their next assignment is to the Champions Leicester City away and they finish the month against Watford.
Expect a lot of turbulence during the initial stages of their flight.
The opening two games are relatively simpler at the start of September. Southampton are their first opponents at the Emirates who will be coached by Claude Puel. Next, they travel to the KC Stadium to face Hull City who are back for their 3rd stint in the Premier League.
Finally, the Gunners will end September with a super Sunday clash against arch nemesis Chelsea. Antonio Conte showed his prowess as a coach with Juventus and now with Italy and it looks likely their poor record against the Blues will carry on.
October is the arguably the easiest month for Arsenal at least on paper. They play Burnley away followed by Swansea at home, then they welcome newly promoted Middlesborough and finish the month with a trip to the Stadium of Light. They are expected to pick up 12 out of 12 points in October considering their impressive record against minnows in the Premier League.
November is a doozy for Arsenal and their fans. Their first two games will test both their physical and mental strength but most importantly their title credentials. Their first game is the North London Derby at the Emirates, followed by Manchester United at Old Trafford as the Wenger, Mourinho rivalry is set to be reignited.
Even if the Londoners finished above both their arch rivals in 2015/16, both contests will go down to the wire. I expect them to extract a maximum of 2 points in these fixtures. They finish the month with a simpler assignment at home to Burnley.
December is always the busiest month of every Premier League season. One of the few leagues not to have a winter break this is the month the stamina and strength in depth of the teams are tested the most.
Arsenal historically have an injury crisis during this period. With headline games against West Ham, Everton, and Manchester City it will prove to be another tough month. If the Gunners can minimise their casualties and take each game as it comes itmight prove to be the difference between a disastrous and a successful period for them.