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August 2021

A quick look at the fixture list

By Phil Gregory

A quick glance at the fixture list.

The initial reaction from Gunners has been that our opening few games are pretty tough, and that’s a fair assessment. Newcastle away should be interesting after the Dowd-inspired 4-4 draw there last season, whilst the next two games yield Liverpool at home and United away.

My big hope for this season was that we start well. It is always easier to lead the pack than chase, regardless of easier run-ins and the like. Fortunately, ties such as Liverpool and Newcastle won’t be as tough as they look, as both sides are investing heavily this summer and will need to time to gel as teams. It’s much better to face such teams earlier in the season than later when they’ve had chance to build cohesion. In regards to Liverpool, perhaps the CONCAF Gold Cup will bite with players such as Lucas and Suarez involved up until late in the summer.

The other hurdle to overcome in August is, of course, the Champions League Best Placed qualifying round. We’ll be seeded – which means we avoid the likes of Villarreal, Bayern and Lyon – and few of the non-seeded sides should cause us a problem over two legs. However, it is two extra competitive games which, with a long season ahead of us, is hardly ideal. More to the point however, the first game comes after Newcastle and before Liverpool, and the second leg after Liverpool and before Manchester United away. Not only will our opponents have a full week of rest over us, we may have long haul flights to deal with too.

The best case scenario is a side nearer to home that we can beat soundly in the first leg, allowing certain players to stay at home before the game versus Manchester. The nightmare scenario is a lengthy trip to Russia for a must-win game before United. Fourth place has proved costly in that regard, fingers crossed that the intense games don’t result in any extra injuries.

Potentially, a good number of big away games will be out of the way after the first few months of the season. Some may see that as “getting them out of the way” but a tough fixture list is never desired if it leaves us adrift. As ever, more important than the positioning of the games is getting the results on the day, wherever it may fall.

Aside from that, there isn’t too much more to say. It’s not really worthwhile looking much further into the fixture list as there will inevitably be postponements and rescheduled games as the cup commitments (and winter weather) start to bite.

14 comments to A quick look at the fixture list

  • sahil

    Well the opening fixtures sure are tough but as wilshere has said on twitter you have to beat the best to win.

  • John Wamollo

    Its much better since we are much solid in the earlier stages of the league than in the later – we normally loose a lot of points during the must win moments. Let us deal with hurdles before the boys wares off. With anticipated signings looming we may also have cover-up for the injured ones since we are prone to injuries at those critical moments.

  • Mr Venger

    Let the games begin.
    Somebody up there likes us! NOT!
    Lets wait and see if Man utd away is moved to 12 O’clock Sat morn. Or would that be laying it on a little too thickly?

  • Mr Venger

    Not sure if this has been brought up here already (although it probably has) but has any one put 2 & 2 together & seen evidence of yet more questionable fixture time coincidences?
    Who played the most amount of games last season @ the prime-time early saturday kick off slot with maximum exposure to the Asian audience ???

  • WalterBroeckx

    Aaaah the fixture list… the first sign of a new season on the horizon…. bring it on. I can’t wait anymore…

  • Mandy dodd

    Oh well we can look forward to an early encounter with Howard Webb I guess

  • WalterBroeckx

    And Mr. Dean and Mr. Dowd….

    Would they send Dowd to the Newcastle game???

  • Stuart

    My first thought when I saw the fixtures was I’m glad we’ve got a fair few tough games before injuries and tiredness set in, our last 10 games overall wont be too demanding.

    PS, have a look at the table, let’s hope it stays that way eh!!

  • WalterBroeckx

    The fact that they send us to United after a CL game… well what could be expected…

  • C4

    The moment I saw the 3 teams sandwiching our CL games, I thought “goodness, they’d do anything to get us out of the CL, won’t they?”
    Ah well, another season, another battle against the dark side.
    Show them, we will…

  • Kentetsu

    Expecting we make it to the group stage of the CL – despite the play-offs being sandwiched between Newcastle away, Liverpool home and ManU away – we will not have to travel far the weekends after a CL match except for the first week. Following CL matches we will have Blackburn (A), Tottenham (A), Stoke (H), WBA (H), Fulham (H), Everton (H). So no trips to the northeast after a midweek flight to Russia or some other remote place.

  • Domhuaille MacMathghamhna

    I am far less concerned about games against top 6 teams than I am against the Stoke Rugby team or the Bolton Bashers. Manure,Cheatski,Liverpool, Spuds,Shitty,Everton and Fulham all play Football first and shinsmashing last. A fast paced but fair game against any of the top 6 is less damaging than a one off grinding, muscle tearing, bone splintering pseudo-Football match against the neanderthals.

  • bob

    @Walter: Is it too early to say that the scheduling is part of the intended triumphal march to the Rednose 20th? Did you catch in the Guardian that he is being proposed as Lord Ferguson by 2 MPs? It will soon be unpatriotic to root against him. Is Untold Media going to help stand in the way of the media enablers? (Please confer with Tony and consider running a regular piece that complements your Ref Review when there are controversies (such as, but not limited to the likes of Newcastle/Arsenal) that require media perfume to subdue the stench. Believe me, it’s game on – and the mis-scheduling is Exhibit A.