After two of the toughest fixtures Arsenal will face in the Premier League this season, they find themselves pointless. Don’t panic. Arsenal’s 18/19 campaign starts here.
Not many will say that they’re shocked, but lots will say that they’re disappointed. Losing to City at home and Chelsea away in the first two games of the season is what many of us were expecting when the fixture lists were released earlier this summer. Having said this, the fans can forgive themselves for being upset with the results and you would imagine that it will have some sort of effect on the player morale in the squad as well. It’s unfortunate that we were drawn against such tough opposition for the first two games, but with the upcoming run of fixtures (West Ham [H], Cardiff [A], Newcastle [A], Everton [H], Watford [H], Fulham [A], Leicester [H] & Crystal Palace [A]), we can expect to see a collection of better results. This is where we will see the start of our challenge for a top 4 finish.
Out of the next 24 available points, we should expect nothing less than a 20-point return. Realistically, we should be looking at 22/24, but I’m managing my expectations. I can only really accept us dropping points against Everton, or Leicester, as these are the toughest of the 8 games, though both are to be played at the Emirates. This September/October period is where we should see the team expressing themselves, and the influence that Emery has had. It’s impossible and reactionary to simply judge Emery’s effect from the two games we have already played. Save those judgments until the beginning of November.
It’s worth mentioning here that other teams competing for the coveted 4th place spot, have got some tough fixtures coming up in the next two months and they’re likely to drop points. This run of games, that will give us a chance to catch up and climb the table, includes; United vs. Sp*rs, Sp*rs vs. Liverpool, Chelsea vs. Liverpool, Liverpool vs. City, Chelsea vs. United, and Sp*rs vs. City. Tough games for all. Come the start of November, we will have a better insight into how this season might shape up. United look off the pace and could be vulnerable in any of the fixtures they are facing, particularly after their performance at Brighton. Sp*rs are also capable of dropping 9 points from the games against United, Liverpool, and City, and if you ask me, Chelsea did not look all that sure-footed in their performance on Saturday. They gave away a lot of chances and could (should) have been punished for doing so, if it weren’t for some poor finishing from the Arsenal front-line.
The fixtures Arsenal are facing, are the kind of games you would expect us to dominate. With the introduction of Emery’s style of playing out from the back, together with an intense press, we should be looking at a lot more of the possession in games, as well as our ability to pull and stretch some of the weaker teams. This style will give our attacking stars much more freedom to operate in the spaces that we see them do the most damage. We all know how badly Özil needs a stellar performance, and these are the games that will help him to regain some of that confidence.
We were never going to get 6/6 points from our opening games against City and Chelsea. While it was disappointing to not get a result in either game, there is no reason the believe that our season is already a disaster. We can only go up from here. Don’t panic just yet, the season starts now for our beloved football club.