Fixture list working in Arsenal’s favour this December / January

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Happy League Cup eve my friends. Should be a cracker. It’s finally a chance to rest all our major names, and thankfully this year, there’s literally no need to even have them on the bench.

Southampton will be a tough game, but you’d imagine they’ll be resting players too with their European committments. So it’s a battle of the reserves, and let’s be fair here, we’d should be having the best reserve team. Or will we? Because Southampton have an exceptional production line of hero children that have filtered to us and other major clubs around the world.

It’s super important Arsenal take advantage of this breather because we have a devilish December ahead and we’ll be needing our best players fresher than a Brick Lane beigel.

The good news is the fixtures sit nicely for us if you look at them closely enough.

Firstly, tomorrow’s game is at home. Literally no reason to go all Ozil / Sanchez on the squad. Our back 4 can be completely subbed out. I want to see Holding, Gabriel, Gibbs and maybe Maitland-Niles. Midfield could be Ramsey, Elneney (assuming Coq will be back for West Ham) with Iwobi in at #10. Up front, we could see Perez through the middle, flanked by Chamberlain and Jeff. That’s a pretty decent team if you ask me.

If we go full steam rotation there, the good news is West Ham also have a tough quarter final game. No preparation for them. They play United at Old Trafford just after playing United at Old Trafford. I’d imagine they’ll go for that game to get a win under their belt. Hopefully they’ll earn a draw and the game will go to extra time. Making them nice and leggy for the early match against Arsenal on Saturday.

We then have Basel away, and this is the litmus test for Wenger… will he take his 92% chance of qualifying opportunity and send a reserve squad over there. Or will he do a Wenger, and play all his favourites? It’s an important chance to get some breathing space for key players.

Our game at home the following weekend is against Stoke, where he can bring back the full squad. He then has to make a decision because he has two rampantly tough games against Everton and City away from home. Does he rest players against Stoke and go hell for leather against Everton and City? Those two teams can be rattled by power and pace… we’ve seen City beaten by an agressive press from Spurs and they could be there for the taking. We’ve also seen Everton’s aging defence spanked out the park by beastly Chelsea.

If we can take 2 points from those two games, we have West Brom Boxing Day. They have United before us, followed by a week of preparation for them to face us. But they have a fixture pile up after that includes Southampton away and Hull at home. Much more winnable games for a team that’ll be eager to hoover up the low hanging points over an important December for a team that can easily find itself in a relegation battle.

Our next fixture crunch up is with Palace and Bournemouth, played within 2 days of each other. Both games look good for the win because, as happens most Christmas periods, the smaller clubs don’t have the squads to deal with the intensity of fixtures. So they’ll have to make decisions. Go for it against Arsenal, or save your batteries for the easier game in the 3 day period. Palace have Swansea 2 days after us, a 6 pointer for them. Bournemouth have Swansea before us, a game they have more chance winning in.

So the stars are alligning for us with the fixture list… but, we know Arsene Wenger is more than capable of making terrible decisions that impact fitness and performance, so I won’t hold my breath. But if we can come out of this 7 game period (Prem) with 15 points, we’ll be in an incredible position. If we come out of it with 12, it’d still be pretty good going and be a massive positive for the new year. Anything less than that and I’d worry.

ALL TO PLAY FOR. Getting excited about probablities is the best.

Have a great day.

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79 Responses to “Fixture list working in Arsenal’s favour this December / January”

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  1. tunnygriffboy

    I was making the point earlier about Alexis dropping deep against man u. With Coquelin and Elneny playing we missed that little spark of creativity from midfield. Coquelin was Coquelin and Elneny played it particularly safe. They couldn’t find Alexis so he got frustrated and dropped deep.

    On Saturday he was happier because not only was Elneny more forward thinking in his distribution but he knew Xhaka was there and able to play through the lines or beyond the defence.

    It’s why while Santi is unavailable Xhaka has to play and the midfield has to be Xhaka plus one of Coquelin/Ramsey/Elneny

  2. Bob N16

    Agree Tunny,

    Xhaka’s long range passing is needed without Santi available. Feel Ramsey should come in as a No.10 when a sub is needed after 60 mins or so(who am I kidding!) and Ozil can go attacking left. Ramsey has his strengths but being a fulcrum in midfield and retaining possession are not his game. Let him marauder forward, score a few goals, gain some confidence and get the support chanting his name again.

    Really hoping Perez can stay fit now as if he clicks then we’ll be up there.

  3. Vince

    Last season: Ozil needs a good striker ahead of him.
    This season: Ozil needs a good pair of DMF ad CDM behind him.

    what’s next? Ozil needs some roller skates in place of his adidas boots?

  4. tunnygriffboy


    Could it be that Xhaka always looks to pass forward, plays longer passes and tries to make more difficult passes. Just a thought but I’m not denigrating Coquelin at all, he’s great at what he does and I think he’s great for us.

  5. bacaryisgod

    Another good post, Pedro.

    The key game for me is Basel. If Arsene fails to rest all of our key players for this game then he’s lost touch with logic. PSG will win comfortably against Ludogorets and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t rotate and give our key players a full rest. Besides, this is exactly what having a big squad should allow us to do. I would rather us play a stronger team against Soton in the QF of the EFL Cup. We’re only three wins away from another trophy after all.

  6. bacaryisgod

    I’m hoping, perhaps futilely, that Arsene has decided that there’s no future for Jenks at Arsenal. However, I think he’ll go with a back four of Jenks, Gabriel, Holding and Gibbs against Soton. With any luck, that’ll be the last game for him. Bellerin is the obvious starter and Debuchy, Gabriel and Holding all look more comfortable than Jenkinson at RB. I would add Ox, Ramsey, Maitland-Niles and Coquelin to that list too.

    When you’re the 9th best option at the only position you can play, it’s probably time to look elsewhere in your career.

  7. bacaryisgod

    Predicted Line-Up tomorrow:

    Jenkinson Gabriel Holding Gibbs
    Coquelin Maitland-Niles
    Oxlade-C Ramsey Iwobi
    Lucas P.

  8. Goonereris

    Why not, if he is passed fit? The man is frustrated having to come from the bench so a start will please him no end. Whatever happens afterwards cannot be blamed on anything but fate, if it doesn’t work out.

  9. Danish Gooner

    Pedro,you make it sound like it is a cake walk but this is Arsenes Arsenal and they are as fragile as and English summer,we could lose points left,right and centre unless we apply ourselfes and often we dont.

  10. Alexanderhenry


    ‘but I can hope, right?’

    Yes you can.

    Arsenal spend a bit of money and you and others seem weirdly shocked that the squad has fewer injuries, more options and a proper chance of challenging.

    I’m not surprised at all, just as I’ve never been surprised by arsenal’s failure to win the CL and PL with the club operating on a shoestring.

    Go into a season having to play Champions league with a squad that on paper shouldn’t even be making top four let alone winning the premier league, and you’ re not winning the premier league.

    Now we’ve qualified I can see us really pushing in the league.

    I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.

  11. Joe

    Go into a season having to play Champions league with a squad that on paper shouldn’t even be making top four let alone winning the premier league, and you’ re not winning the premier league.

    And who’s fault is that you muppet

    Who told wenger to only spend 10m last season

    Who told wenger not to buy higuain and bring in sanago.

    Jog on alex. You’re a fool

  12. Joe

    Arsenal after 13 weeks:
    2015/16 season; 28 points & 4th
    2016/17 season; 28 points & 4th

    Arsenal spend a bit of money and you and others seem weirdly shocked that the squad has fewer injuries, more options and a proper chance of challenging.

    Alex please explain. How after spending 90m we have the same amount of points after spending 10m.

    Your theory again is bollocks. As is everything you write on here

    How Pedro hasn’t banned you for the amount of bollocks you spew on here is beyond me

  13. steve

    “with the club operating on a shoestring.”


    Yeah it really has hasn’t it? More cash in the bank than any other club for a few seasons running now. Please tell us again about Wenger having £10m to spend last summer. Nitwit.

  14. Joe


    Alex is THE biggest idiot on here. He keeps getting proven to be wrong yet comes back with some other stupid theory.

  15. mysticleaves

    i thought Alex made a very good point in his last post. dont deserve all the name calling Joe.

    Arsenal had a pretty lean period immediately after tge staduim move. With tge squad he had then he shoyldnt have made top 4 and if he didnt many people wouldnt have bathed eyelids at it

  16. mysticleaves

    i am really in the hole concerning Arsenal news these days.

    has it being 2months already for Lucas? or did he recover on time? Am super happy for him.

    I think Giroud and Ramsey should start today. They deserve a bit of run in the side. Am pretty excited about our squad depth

  17. mysticleaves

    Wenger confirms Jenkinson will start alongside Gabriel. And we all know Martinez and Gibbs with Holding will start too.

    Thats the backline completed. The front is a bit unpredictable but i want to see AMN and Jeff more maybe Willock? Jeff has played in the last rounds and has really being underwhelming. Whats the hype all about?

  18. Dancewithmovement


    Why are you creating with false stats to fit your propaganda?

    2015/16 after 13 games we had 26 points not 28 points.

  19. Bystander

    2014/15 after 13 games we had 20 points and finished the season with 75 points.

    2015/16 after 13 games we had 26 points and finished the season with 71 points.

    2016/17 after 13 games we have 28 points and will finish the season with ? points.

  20. Alexanderhenry

    Bystander and mystic

    Well said.

    Joe goes into a panic every time I raise the contentious issue of money as do many others on here.

  21. Wallace


    “How after spending 90m we have the same amount of points after spending 10m.
    Your theory again is bollocks. As is everything you write on here
    How Pedro hasn’t banned you for the amount of bollocks you spew on here is beyond me.”

    28pts after 13 games is a good start in both cases, although as others have pointed out your maths seems to be a little out with last season’s total at this stage.

    and it was at this point last year that we were entering in on the 2mths of Ramsey/Flamini as the starting midfield. while there is some dispute this season over the best CM pairing given the options, i don’t think anyone would doubt we’re in a far healthier place than this time last year.

    and also, your last remark…brilliant.

  22. mano'gunner

    Ozil leaving might be the best thing to happen to Arsenal.

    I mean I’m not doubting his talent, he is definitely great on his day but it’s plain to see Arsenal have struggled to accommodate his play style. He is just not someone you build a team around, he is someone who is able to help that person you build a team around very well.

    All in all didn’t he buy a house in London? So he’s probably not leaving.

  23. Emiratesstroller

    The only stats, which have any relevance is our final position in the EPL at
    END of season and not after 13 games.

    Nevertheless the facts are that Arsenal are unbeaten since the first game of season after 20 games and no other team has managed to do that. We are still in all three competitions that we have played and that is certainly an achievement in itself.

  24. Emiratesstroller

    I find it amusing that every single newspaper and blog is posting the same
    story about Ozil wanting to return to Real Madrid as though they are the
    original source of the story and that it is “gospel”.

    We know that Newspapers in Spain such as Marca and Le Balon like to make mischief. After all we have been reading for weeks that Bellerin planned to return to Barcelona!!

    Ozil has just bought a £10 million + house in Highgate, which is hardly the
    move of a footballer desperate to leave London and return to Madrid.

    For a start Real Madrid are supposed to be subject to a transfer embargo until January 2018.

  25. karim


    Lol, typical.
    They had the opportunity to put some pressure on both Paris and Nice, they were leading 1/0 with a side full of usual subs but Dijon levelled in the dying minutes.

  26. Bob N16

    Agreed Emirates,

    Could it just possibly be a strategy to up the weekly ante by Ozil’s agent? Could his agent just be being machiavellian and slipping a story to a newspaper to help with negotiations?
    Who would have thought?

    My guess is he’ll sign shortly…sorry Ozil haters! Personally he’s the sort of ‘luxury’ player I love to watch. Some of his tireless running against Bournemouth, for example, was outstanding. Sadly his teammates didn’t find him. Let Ozil and Sanchez pass it to each other and we won’t go far wrong!

  27. GoonerDave

    November was neither a success nor a failure.
    Still questions about this team’s belief, but we have real quality in the squad these days. If we can stay within touching distance and hit a sustained period of decent form, we have as good a chance as anybody.
    At least the squad doesn’t have gaping holes in it any more.

  28. Cyrus the virus

    Confirmation bias;
    see what we expect to see,form a conclusion and then search diligently for evidence to support the conclusion rather than the other way around. Finding evidence to support predetermined conclusions. Someone is always responsible when something is a mess or something breaks and its predetermined that its never them when things are okey.

  29. Dream10


    watched the Monaco-Marseille match. Monaco were impressive. They have lovely balance in their side. Little Bernie Silva was superb in the first half. He showed great acceleration and lovely control on the right flank. That cross with the outside of the foot?! Tiemoue Bakayoko looks like a top class player. Combines physique and intelligence. He & Fabinho would not look out of place in any of the elite CL sides in a couple of positions.

  30. steve

    “We are still in all three competitions that we have played and that is certainly an achievement in itself.”


    Where’s the achievement in that? It’s still only the group stages in the CL, only 13 games played in the league and only two rounds played in the league cup so far. You kinda would expect them to be in all three competitors at this stage.

  31. gambon


    “Joe goes into a panic every time I raise the contentious issue of money as do many others on here.”

    Well, you have been saying for years that we have no money, that Kroenke was bleeding the club dry, and that Wenger is the shining light saving the club.

    Well, we spent £100m this summer……what do you have to say about that?

    You very clearly said over and over that there is no money.

  32. Bamford10

    Dream & Karim

    Yeah, I was really impressed with Monaco when I watched them against Spurs. A very smart & well-organized side. Who is their manager? Is he the same as two years ago?

  33. steve

    mysticleavesNovember 30, 2016 11:31:59
    “them” not “us

    Yep “them” you know the team? Am I playing in the team?


    “Well, we spent £100m this summer……what do you have to say about that?”

    His answer to that was something along the lines of: “Well the board just decided to give Wenger money this summer”. Lololol.

  34. Bamford10

    If Wenger doesn’t figure out our central midfield conundrum, we will do nothing of note this season, and it will be, once again, ALL ON HIM.

    If you play Ozil as the CAM, then the two CMs in the center must be good enough on both sides of the ball to dominate the center of midfield. Do we have two such CMs? Who are they?

    Or, you could play with a diamond four and use four “CMs” to dominate midfield.

    Or, you could shift Ozil wide and let someone else, like Ramsey, play CAM so that we have a three-CM midfield that can control games.

    But what you don’t do — can’t do — is continue with a weak central midfield against good teams that aim to dominate midfield. This will get you NOWHERE.

    We will see what Wenger does. He did play Ramsey as the CAM for the last 20 minutes on Sunday, so perhaps a light has turned on there.

    I’m not saying, of course, that this will guarantee success, but a true three-CM midfield is better than a pseudo three-CM midfield.

  35. Dream10


    Yep. Leonardo Jardim. The same guy that knocked us out. Their team right now is superior to the one of two years ago. Think he will manage one of the big Serie A teams, Atletico Madrid or PSG in a couple of years.

  36. raptora

    Theo Walcott: “Obviously me and Alexis are having a very good relationship at this moment in time. At the start of the season we created a lot of goals for each other and everything was happening. Now we’re starting to see signs that a little bit was happening again today. Alexis has definitely stepped up to making this position. I think he’s enjoying it. I can see the smile he’s playing with. He even did an interview today in English, which he never does. I’ve been saying him ‘try and talk to the guys when you can, try and give them a bit of time’. Because his English is better than you think. I’m very pleased for him and I’m really enjoying playing football with him.”

    Doesn’t look like Alexis is on the verge of leaving us. I kinda think that he was disappointed by our team losing the title to a team like Leicester and not showing enough ambition, but now that we look better and he is in stunning form, from what I’ve seen, the chilian looks super happy. I think that we will secure him with another contract. He is our most important player along with the Kos who also looks happy playing alongside Mustafi. Mustafi who a lot of fans have been critisizing for his recent play but for me he’s been terrific with how he was put into a new team in a new country with no time to settle down and his quality of play has been just great. I would put an 8.5/10 grade for his showing so far. Hopefully he can get even better and nick some goals here and there.

  37. karim


    Yeah, their first half was superb and Silva was the maestro, great assist with the outside of the foot that was !
    Bakayoko is class also.


    Jardim is really good, he’s started from scratch again after Monaco sold so many players, and as Dream mentioned, they’re even better this year.

  38. GoonerDave

    The 100 million spent in the Summer was TV money. Go and ask Stan to devalue his asset by spending the club’s cash in bank.
    There are now fans who hate Wenger so much, they don’t bat an eyelid when our owner makes a billion off the club. Arsene had plenty of wages to work with every year, he presided over a child-like defensive set-up, apparently signed secret contracts for the bank and most damning, he was complicit in Stan’s profit machine and certainly lied to the fans. Have at him, but why let Stan off the hook? He has profited the most.

  39. Dream10


    It is all fine and well for Alexis Sanchez to question the club’s ambition, but it’s also his duty to perform at a consistently high level. He was at best average in 15-16 and the second half of 14-15. Many of his goals in the last couple of years were against the bottom sides. It is the same this year in the PL so far. 6 of his 8 goals are against bottom half sides in Bournemouth, Hull and Sunderland. He struggles away from home against the top half of the table. At this moment, his off the ball movement and touch in tight areas are not at the level of top forwards. He’s a talented player who’s explosiveness is one of his main qualities.
    He is someone who has played an awful lot of football at the top level over the past decade. Since the 2007 under 20 World Cup in Canada, he’s been operating at a full tilt virtually non-stop. Worried that his physical decline will impact his output more than other top players. Alexis is an all action type of player whose effectiveness will plummet as he exits his prime. He shares some similarties with Steven Gerrard. His decline at age 30 hurt him more than in comparison to Lampard, who was 31-32 and one of the main men in Chelsea’s 09-10 PL & FA cup double. Massive risk for Arsenal to give him a new 5 year deal at 200k (that’s what some journalists are reporting), between the ages of 28 & 33

  40. gambon


    How does spending money devalue the club?

    Do you have no comprehension of inflation?

    Higuain was £32m in 2013….you think Napoli devalued the club by £32m when they bought him?

    If this is all going over your head, just say so.

  41. Cesc Appeal


    Completely agree, I’m glad more and more people are picking up on this issue with the central midfield, so vitally important we get a balanced middle.

    It either has to get drastically better likely with buys in order to balance out Ozil’s real central midfield weaknesses, or Ozil has to be shifted and another body added to the middle.

    If you had say, Matic and Kante as a central pairing, the side would look much more balanced and Ozil’s negatives would not be anywhere near as apparent. I just picked on Matic and Kante because in Conte’s 3-4-3 they hold the fort in the middle alone.

    I like Xhaka a lot, his only real weakness in my eyes is his lack of pace, had we gone out and got Kante as well, which a lot of posters were asking for in the summer, it wouldn’t be so bad.

    But Caz beside him, non-starter for me, Coq, too limited, Elneny, I like Elneny, but I think of him as a squad player, Ramsey, probably the most dynamic pairing on paper and Ramsey’s industry could certainly make up for Xhaka’s lack of mobility, but taking it out of theory and into practice you can see the obvious issues with Ramsey lack of discipline and inefficiencies.

    In my opinion, I would like to see us try a 4-3-3, maybe try Ramsey, Xhaka, Caz as a middle three, or swap Ramsey out for Elneny if he still seems to think Arsenal is his one man show. Then have Ozil, Sanchez, Iwobi or something, maybe Walcott in there, Welbeck when fit, whatever, but something like that.

    If we cannot make it work, then we need to think of restructuring in the summer, really thorough restructuring and maybe some difficult choices. If Ozil sulks at being thrust out wide (not that anyone would be able to tell) too bad.

  42. Dissenter

    “I have never said there was no money at the club, only that wenger was refused access to it”

    Cut the crap dude.
    You don’t even have the grace to admit when you’ve gotten something so wrong.
    You argued all summer that our transfer budget was limited by Kroenke.

    Why can’t you just admit what everyone around here were forced to read from you all through the summer.

    If this were the medieval times, I would challenge you to a joust and slay your horse from under you.

  43. Joe

    I have never said there was no money at the club, only that wenger was refused access to it.

    What a moron. Either your reading comprehension is that of a child or you’re just plain stupid

    Wenger has said kronke never stops him from spending what he wants.

    Gazidis has said we can buy any player in the world bar the top 3-4.

    The board has said not numerous times they will back wenger with whatever he wants.

    Do you not remember the ” if We gave wenger 100m, he would give it back ”

    So please fuck off alex. You don’t have a clue. Not one bit.

    Over and Over again your idiotic posts gets proven to be bollocks and you keep repeating the same shit

    No one cares what you think.

    No one thinks you’re right.