Assessing Arsenal’s next 9 premier league fixtures and predicting their position in the Premier League table.
Back in 2003-04, Arsenal scaled a seemingly insurmountable peak when they went through an entire league season unbeaten, earning themselves the nickname of the ‘Invincibles’ and pocketing another Premier League crown. However, since then, the Gunners haven’t managed to triumph again, leading many to label the club as one in decline.
Those murmurs started getting louder towards the twilight of Arsene Wenger’s tenure as Arsenal stagnated under the Frenchman and represented a team capable of mesmerising on occasions yet one boasting an inexplicably low resilience quotient, especially against their nearest rivals and on the road.
Thus, when Unai Emery was installed at the helm in 2018, the Spaniard was stepping into the eye of the storm, where each move, whether positive or negative, was going to be magnified exponentially.
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And, while Emery started off promisingly, there have been veils of discontent and frustration in recent weeks, in light of the way he sets his teams up and the supposed lack of a genuine footballing philosophy. Moreover, Arsenal’s current position in the Premier League table hasn’t helped.
Though the Gunners find themselves in 3rd spot, they have hardly set the world ablaze and their standing has more to do with their counterparts’ woes rather than their own brilliance. Additionally, a tricky set of fixtures could mean that they slip further down the Premier League table.
Hence, the time is ripe to analyse Arsenal’s next 9 EPL fixtures and see where they might end up once that set of games culminates.
The next encounter takes place at Bramall Lane where Arsenal face Sheffield United. The newly-promoted side has given a good account of itself so far and represents an extremely physical and well organised side. Thus, the game could be a potential banana skin for the Gunners, considering their blues on the road. And, it would be quite surprising if they manage to come away with all three points in their bag.
Arsenal welcome Crystal Palace on the 27th of October and the encounter comes on the back of the Gunners’ Europa League assignment against Standard Liege. Hence, there could be a possibility of the hosts turning in a sluggish display against a side that beat them at the Emirates last term. However, with the Gunners being able to call upon a near full complement of players, they might just edge the Eagles.
Another home game follows for the North Londoners when Wolves come calling. Though the latter hasn’t lived up to its 2018-19 standards, they still represent a significant challenge, especially against teams in the top half of the table. Yet, Arsenal’s home record is quite imperious and their increased offensive prowess coupled with the Wolves’ wobbly defence means that a home victory could be on the cards.
A clutch clash with Leicester City at the King Power Stadium lies in wait for Arsenal as both teams would be looking to strengthen their top four credentials. The Foxes have started the season on fire, having accumulated 14 points from 7 games. Moreover, their attack, comprising of James Maddison, Jamie Vardy, Harvey Barnes and Youri Tielemans looks in fine fettle whereas the defensive duo of Caglar Soyuncu and Jonny Evans has been immense at the back.
Thus, the Gunners would consider themselves fortunate if they can leave the King Power Stadium with a point in their kitty. However, recent evidence suggests that Arsenal might just be outwitted by the Foxes in this game.
The North Londoners’ next two outings are against Southampton and Brighton at home. Both sides have shown glimpses of the quality existing in their ranks yet haven’t been able to stitch those together into substantial displays, especially away from home. Hence, after an unfavourable result at Leicester, Arsenal could look at these two fixtures to get their Premier League campaign back on track.
The Gunners make the trip to East London next for a potentially engaging London Derby with West Ham United. The Hammers have begun the 2019-20 season well and are currently level on points with Arsenal, having amassed 12 points from 7 games.
Thus, the East London side’s effervescent start to the term coupled with the Gunners’ rather dubious record on their travels could pave the way for a triumph for the home side. However, Arsenal have enjoyed their time at the London Stadium since West Ham made the move from Upton Park and that could just tilt the tide in their favour.
Arsenal’s most high-profile fixture of the period takes place on the 14th of December when Manchester City visit the Emirates Stadium. The defending champions look primed to challenge on all fronts and represent arguably the Gunners’ toughest task this term.
However, with the North Londoners playing out this fixture at home, one could expect them to get something out of the game, considering the attacking firepower they would be able to unleash on a makeshift City defence.
Yet, having said that, it would be too naïve to earmark Arsenal to come away with all three points.
The Gunners’ last match of the period sees them travel to Goodison Park to take on Everton. In recent years, that particular ground has been a bogey stadium, considering Arsenal also lost there in 2018-19. Moreover, the Toffees usually save their best for top four sides and like to make a statement of intent at home.
However, goals could be a major problem for Everton, especially with Cenk Tosun not covering himself in glory and Dominic Calvert-Lewin still lacking a clinical edge to his game.
The above could allow Arsenal to come back into the encounter and dent the Toffees with their attacking ability, thereby enabling the visitors to notch an impressive victory at Goodison Park.
Hence, on deeper introspection, one comes to the conclusion that the Gunners might fare decently over their next 10 games, without actually grabbing the top four race by the scruff of the neck.
And, though they might not pull away of their own accord in the race for the Champions League spots, an upward trajectory in the Premier League table could still come to fruition if the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham keep stuttering.
Yet, it seems highly improbable that Arsenal would establish daylight between themselves and their rivals courtesy an unbeaten streak similar to the one they enjoyed in the Premier League last season.