Month by month fixture analysis: Tough, but there are positives

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Get in people. Beers in the sun. Hype for the lads. All day sessions. Chanting in the streets. Tears. Disappointment. Maybe a 22 man brawl in an All Bar One. Penalties. Germans. Ronaldo tears for sure.

Shame I’m in the US and I’ll miss all of this.

I don’t mean to denigrate the country I pay taxes in, but you have to find the real nerds to get a football experience (thankfully, I found them) over here. Mostly, it’s people politely asking what the fuck is going on over your shoulder.


Anyway, it’ll be fun.

For once, I don’t have a lot of opinions about what’s going to happen. I’m hoping the ball works properly. I want the big teams to play their absolute best. I’m praying for all the elite players, no one wants to see Salah ping a hamstring after 10 minutes. I’m also looking for Nigeria to take their play to the same levels as their kit. Also, I’d love to see Southgate have a cracker… and I’d love to see Sterling destroy the critics.

Should be a fun tournament. We’ll get to see Torriera play tomorrow at 8am (EST). All the rumblings are that he’s basically a done deal. We’ve signed Kantzorla for our midfield next year. Bring in Bernd Leno and a Caglar, and shit me, we’ll be rolling.

Sven M, Raul and Emery will have made all the changes we’ve been begging for 10 years, inside 6 months.

Careful what you wish for? Get fuuuuuucked…

That doesn’t mean things won’t go wrong, there’s still a huge amount of uncertainty when it comes to how we’ll play when the season starts. That’s obviously not been helped by the fixture list. I could swear when United have started with new managers, they’ve been utterly blessed with easy games?

Arsenal have to roll out the new era against City (H) and Chelsea (A). As Matt quipped earlier, I’ll be happy if we’re unbeaten. Unfortunately, the ideas Emery is bringing will be in incubation stages, our World Cup players won’t be fit and may not be available, and we’ll be playing against a well oiled billion $ machine. As fans, we just have to keep the faith and not lose our shit if the worst happens. That said, we’ll have a very strong squad, and hopefully being at home will carry the same value as it did last season. Top 3 baby! Also worth noting that City won’t be as strong in season two, and Chelsea, as it stands, are in a right fucking mess.

If we can take two points from those games, we have a very comfortable run of 6 games heading into the international break. If we can finish that period with 18 points, we’ll be very much in the mixer, and really, that’s what our season has to be about. We need to be in striking distance of the top 4 come what March.

Coming back from the first international break to Liverpool isn’t helpful, but at least it’s at home, and they’ll be just as fatigued as our boys. One thing to consider here is Arsenal players will have the luxury of a midweek break, unless Unai thinks he needs to play the first team for the group stages of the Europa. We’ll be more physically prepared than them. They also won’t have the luxury of planning. Their players will be back on a coach as soon as they land. We’ll have a little bit more time, and our players will be a little more comfortable.

We also get fucked after the next international break, welcoming Spurs to The Emirates as the first game. Not ideal, but again, they’ll be more fatigued than our boys, and hopefully that new stadium is bad to them and their form is in pieces. Playing United 3 days later is also shite. The manager is going to have to hope he can take 4 points from those games, and then he’s going to have to do something Wenger never did… rotate the fuck out of his players for the four games after (Huddersfield, Southampton, Burnley, Brighton), because we play Liverpool at the end of that run. The great thing about the December crunch is the shite teams generally don’t have squads that can cope with three games a week. If we’re strong, they might rest their legs for easier points opps.

January has one tough game against Chelsea, Feb has us start the month against City away, then a pivotal start to March where we’ll play Spurs (A) and United (H) back to back. You’d like to think those games will have some meaning. Take 4 points there and then we have a real chance at top 4. Our final 8 games are a cake walk, we just have to hope we haven’t burnt down the bakery before we get there.

Right, I’m off to watch the World Cup,

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1,172 Responses to “Month by month fixture analysis: Tough, but there are positives”

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  1. Victorious

    I want my country to go all the way but the moment they bow out its curtains for me regarding the tourney,clubs football dwarfs any international tournament for me
    can’t wait for the new season to begin already.
    Ars Vs Oil money.bring it on

  2. Sancho Monzorla

    At least the Icelandic keeper can tell his kids he saved a penalty against Lionel Messi in the World Cup.

  3. Leedsgunner

    Apart from the the pen to Umtiti which was justified — all the other pens granted so far in this tournament has been so far so so soft.

    Lionel bottles it.

  4. Bamford10


    Messi is “terrible” outside of Barca? Sorry, but that’s nonsense. I’m one of those who thinks Maradona is still above Messi, but Messi is frickin’ amazing and in no way is he ever “terrible”. Sorry.

  5. Dissenter

    Spain lost their first game to Switzerland in 2010 and still went on to win the trophy.
    First games don’t mean that much.

  6. Guns of Hackney


    Okay, not terrible but below par. For a player like him, below par is terrible.

    Either way, he’s not great outside of Barca.

  7. Bamford10


    I’d say both. Not a good pen, but keeper went the right way and was quick and solid. I could be wrong, but I think Messi usually goes the other way?

  8. qna

    Samsesong. Give credit to Iceland. They are making them look this boring (Although I am not finding them boring myself).

  9. WengerEagle

    As much as I love Messi I’d rather have Neymar right now.

    You always know with Messi when he’s running at you that he’s looking to get on that left peg whereas Neymar can skip past you either way onto either foot. He’s lost the explosiveness to burst past defenders onto either foot.

  10. Dissenter

    Wenger Eagle
    “As much as I love Messi I’d rather have Neymar right now.”

    You’re looking for trouble lad. 🙂

  11. qna

    Bamford. This is the big time. That was slow half way between the middle and the goal post and waste height. The only way that was going in is if the keeper went too early and guessed wrong. Any keeper that could hold their nerve and wait till the last moment would have stopped that I reckon.

  12. Bamford10


    This is a good example of when Argentina could have used Icardi. They could use a strong, physical presence in the box right now. A guy who comes in, uses a bit of physicality and gets a goal.

  13. Victorious

    Iceland proving to be a stubborn team,might even be a tougher opponent for Nigeria as against Argentina..makes the 3points against Croatia very important..come on super eagles

  14. Guns of Hackney

    Messi is the analogy of big fish, small pond.

    Obviously talented but he can’t impose himself outside of Barca.

  15. qna

    WengerEagle: As much as I love Messi I’d rather have Neymar right now.

    Messi is 31 and Neymar is 26. That is not the least bit controversial. But Neymar will never come close to Messi or Ronaldo in his career. He is a long way back and won’t catch them. Amazing how Ronaldo is still so good at 33. Neymar will have dropped off by that age.

  16. Leedsgunner

    Iceland is so well drilled. Completely smothering Argentina out of the game. I want them to come out of the game with at least a point… defending as a team… when faced with Man City this is what we should be doing…

  17. Dissenter

    Wenger Eagle
    The player was touched with the shoe laces. He went down as if ISIS just used a truck mounted anti-aircraft machine gun on him.
    Not a penalty, not a yellow card…still overly embellished to the point of being called a dive.

  18. Guns of Hackney

    The Argentina manager has very poor dress sense. Upturned collar, I’ll fitting suit and an open shirt.

    Goddam it.

  19. Bamford10


    You’d rather have Neymar, eh? Hmmm, interesting. Methinks this might provide an opportunity for s wager.

  20. Guns of Hackney

    If Neymar follows the usual career trajectory as his fellow Brazilians, his weight will be uncontrollable by 27 and by 28 he’ll be banging transvestites in Rio nightclubs.

    The kid is pulling in millions…he won’t give a fuck.

  21. qna

    Time for Messi to start shooting on site. He will eventually get one in. There is no team fluidity. It needs individual brilliance now.

  22. Bamford10


    “But Neymar will never come close to Messi or Ronaldo in his career. He is a long way back and won’t catch them.”

    Uh oh. Someone has apparently not drunk the Neymar-is-already-at-the-level-of-Messi-and-Ronaldo kool-aid.

    Be careful, QNA: the Neymar fan-boys are going to be coming for you.


  23. Bamford10


    I find them fun. And I did promise one; so I feel like I should follow through on that promise. I like to be a man of my word. 😉

  24. Guns of Hackney

    Neymar is aging fast!

    It didn’t seem that long ago he was 18 and ripping shit up…now he’s 26, nearly 27 and looking for an out at PSG after a season. The guy is a joke. He likes money. He’s not interested in becoming a legend.

  25. Dissenter

    I fear for Nigeria. The poster boy is Alex Iwobi…that’s a very average team by Nigerian standards.

  26. qna

    Bamford. No serious person has Neymar at the level of Messi and Ronaldo. But that shouldn’t stop one from admiring Neymar. I think Brazil will go further than Argentina or Portugal. Sometimes when you lose you really win.

  27. Guns of Hackney

    Leeds wins the prize.

    Arsenal need a GK. Icelandic keeper saves penalty. 1+1 = bingo!!!

    He’d cost a pint of vodka. Get him.

  28. WengerEagle

    Lol he’s only turned 26 in Feb and he’s already a multiple league champion/CL champion.

    55 goals for Brazil, equal with Romario and only 7 off Ronaldo now and he’s not even a striker.

  29. gazzap

    I’m really fucked off if we keep that wanker Granit and sell our jack. I don’t want to get into comparing the two but come on we keep some swiss twat who has just turned up and is yet to put in a decent season for us but sell an English player who has been at the club since 9. He hasn’t even had a chance under Emery, We’ve got to stop selling good English players.

  30. WengerEagle


    Are you mental? Legacy in the game of course no question.

    But as for current ability, he’s absolutely right there with them.

    Ronaldos a great goalscorer but doesn’t actually do much in terms of play outside the box at this stage.

  31. Dissenter

    “We’ve got to stop selling good English players.”

    Oh dear
    Wilshere couldn’t even secure a starting spot for Bournemouth.

  32. Guns of Hackney

    Neymar couldn’t score 100
    Goals in France. Ergo, he must be rubbish.

    That league is weeeeeaaakkkkk.

    55 goals against El Salvador is bullshit. Let’s see him after this WC.

  33. Dissenter

    “Can you really smoke a cigar at a football game? Lol”

    Maradona has earned the right to smoke anything he wants to smoke …In Russia.

  34. Dissenter

    “Iceland beat Argentina 1-1”

    That’s what the commentator said on US tv

    This is not a surprise

  35. gonsterous

    What about this Iceland keeper? He’s sharp and his concentration is superb!!!

    please stop. you sound like liverpool. good for a game, let’s shortlist him and get him asap…

  36. gonsterous

    in Mother Russia, you do what you want.. or is Russia not as lenient as back in the Soviet days ??

  37. qna

    WengerEagle. You don’t get put on the same level as two of the all time great footballers for ability. Last I checked there is no award given at all for ability.

    Neymar was the sideshow to the main event at Barca. There is no question about that. He had gone out to make a name on his own and has pretty much failed so far.

    He is a great player, don’t try to change my words please. I have enough that dealing with the balding guy on here.

    How good Messi and Ronaldo are is a debatable topic in itself. Are they as good as Pele or Maradona? Etc. you can’t sneak in another player just because it suits you. He is not in the conversation.

    Is he in the Zidane, Ronaldo Lima conversation? Yes.

  38. gazzap

    “Wilshere couldn’t even secure a starting spot for Bournemouth.”
    but probably in our top 3 players between January and April this season.

  39. qna

    Dissenter. Lol. In that case when I earlier made a joke about him wiping off traces of a line off his face I might have been on to something 😉

  40. Bamford10


    “No serious person has Neymar at the level of Messi and Ronaldo.”

    Well, WengerEagle says he would take Neymar over Messi right now in this tournament, so I feel like he sort of does.

    Also, when I suggested that Neymar hadn’t yet demonstrated that he can be the decisive player in the biggest of big matches — a la Messi, Ronaldo, Zidane — a couple of people here nearly had aneurysms.

    Are you saying Neymar has not yet demonstrated that he is at that level?

  41. Dissenter

    ““Wilshere couldn’t even secure a starting spot for Bournemouth.”
    but probably in our top 3 players between January and April this season.’

    In a shitty season that we are all trying to forget.
    A season where we finished 37 points behind the winners and 12 points behind 4th place.

  42. TR7

    Sorry Neymar not even in Zidane and Ronaldo Lima level discussion for me. Zidane among the 10 greatest footballers ever for me whereas Ronaldo won World cup and best player awards unlike Neymar.

  43. Leedsgunner

    He’s just about kept out everything Messi and co have thrown at him… I don’t think what I suggested is that ridiculous… or reactionary.

  44. qna

    “Well, WengerEagle says he would take Neymar over Messi right now in this tournament, so I feel like he sort of does.”

    I thought he meant for Arsenal. I would take him too, given his age. But for this tournament, no I wouldn’t. I would take Ronaldo. Internationals the entire teams quality is mixed. WC is more like UCL than it is like a 38 game league competition. Ronaldo is the king of the UCL at the moment. Nobody better right now in that competition. He will take Portugal far in my opinion.

  45. WengerEagle

    You’re not grasping this qna, current ability not legacy in the game.

    If I was currently managing a side in this WC and you were to offer me any player I would take Neymar.

  46. WengerEagle

    Amazed that nobody else thinks that was a penalty on Pavon .

    Thought he did very well when he came on looked bright and threatening. Did more in his cameo than Meza and Di Maria combined.

  47. qna

    “lol,get some sleep”

    Victorious I have no respect for anything you post. Jog on. Neymar is 26. His best football will come in the next 5 years. He is in the conversation, but it depends on what he does in the next 5 years. I am calling it now that he doesn’t replicate what Messi and Ronaldo managed. But he is quite capable of performing in a away that he will end up being comparable to Zidane and Ronaldo Lima.

  48. gonsterous


    I never Said he didn’t have a good game. to suggest buying him for saving a penalty would be more insane…

  49. qna

    WE. Got it. Answered in my response to Bamford. I would take Ronaldo, then Messi, then Neymar. Based on today I expect you will have a good chance to gloat and dig me once Brazil plays. But there is a long way to go, I will hold firm. Dont forget Brazil is a better team in general than Portugal and Argentina. So if they basically perform equally, I am calling the win for myself 😉

  50. Leedsgunner

    Read my original comment again, I didn’t say buy him… I said he was good. You filled in the blanks and made that inference.

  51. Dissenter

    I expect Nigeria to lose all three games.
    Iceland are too determined and organized.
    Argentina and Croatia will find 1-2 moment s of quality to squeeze victories.

  52. Victorious


    Zidane and Ronaldo are legends,Neymar doesn’t get mentioned in same sentence for because of his ‘potentials’ or ‘abilities’..when he earns that right come back to me.. until then stick to PlayStation.

  53. gonsterous


    apologies. when you asked “what about this Icelandic keeper?” I assumed you were asking if we were interested in wanting him in the arsenal squad… didn’t know you were just highlighting his influence on the game…

  54. Dissenter

    Waiting for you to ask
    Why do you want to know?
    I’ve followed Nigeria longer than you can imagine, that should give you a clue.

  55. Leedsgunner

    Along with ability, you have to have passion and the desire to take the game and lift it to another level to bring your team the victory. When viewed in this light Ronaldo demonstrated he has that grit and determination over Messi.

    Big occasions make Ronaldo come out more and lift his game, club and country. Messi does for his club, but for his country, he often looks like he’s forcing the issue and trying to hard… imo.

  56. Victorious

    Following the trajectory of a nations football doesn’t make you a citizen,its a simple question mate..
    are you one of those ashamed of their country of birth?

  57. Dissenter

    You’re an idiot to even come up with the “ashamed of the country of birth” line.
    I saw you coming dude. You’re too much of a simpleton to banter with.

    I’m watching the game with extended family in Lagos chatting on whatsup app You have no clue who I am or about.
    You do have to be a child the way you think.

    Where am I from?
    The country of my birth?
    The country I grew up in?
    The countries I studied in?
    The country I’ve lived in for 2.5 decades?

    Surely it’s not black and white, not enough for you to start throwing out stuff about shame.

  58. Dissenter

    All I can say is Nigeria occupies a very special place in my heart and in daily life.
    No shame to say that.

    Even then I still say that Nigeria will be lucky not to lose all three games.
    It has nothing to do with patriotism or a lack thereof, just plain opinion based on facts as I see it.

  59. Victorious

    lol why lose your shit just because of a simple question? you don’t have to be so insecure mate, I meant no harm

    blabbering on about being a child?humourless of your banters etc? and you’re the one flinging your toys out the pram because a question is directed to you, grow up u whopper

    so apparently you’re Nigerian,but just a vile,aggressive and worringly pessimistic one,anyway cheers!

  60. Dissenter

    Looks like the world cup has been an outstanding success so far for Russia. Massive numbers off foreign fans are in the country. You don’t even need in a visa for the most part.
    Nothing like the power of football to unite.

  61. Dissenter

    I’m a Nigerian…and a lot of other things, including another nationality that I cherish a lot.
    Victorious the simpleton cannot understand that.

    ‘Where are you from? ” doesn’t always get a you a simple answer.

  62. Bamford10


    “If I was currently managing a side in this WC and you were to offer me any player, I would take Neymar.”

    This is a fairly bold statement. I mean, I can sort of see the logic in it, in that at 26, Neymar should probably be quicker, livelier and more energetic than a 33-year-old Ronaldo or a 30-year-old Messi.

    But is he as determined as either of these two are? Does he have their hunger or desire? Does he have the kind of grit they have, the kind of grit required to win a World Cup trophy? See, that’s what I don’t know. I still see him as the kind of talent who is unbelievable when all is smooth and easy and going Brazil’s way but who might disappoint, put his head down, pout or stop working for the team when things get really difficult. Maybe that’s me.

    Further, I don’t know that he is as intelligent as either Ronaldo or Messi. I don’t know that he sees the game as well.

    We will see.

    Ronaldo looked pretty damn good yesterday, though. If Neymar is better than Ronaldo at this very moment, he’s got quite a performance to live up to and improve upon.

  63. Bamford10

    Africa hot, I like it so
    I know what to wear, but my friends don’t know

    Him put him socks, him put him shoe
    Him put him trouser, him put him shirt

    I no be gentleman at all oh
    I be Africa man original.

    Tell ’em, Fela. 😉

  64. Sancho Monzorla

    Victorious has obviously never left his home town or country for a prolonged period. Culture yourself, brother.

  65. Dissenter

    The Peruvians haven’t lost in 15 games.
    From what you’ve seen of them so far , do you rate them?

  66. Bamford10


    I have seen too little of them. As always, I like their kit.

    Denmark seem to be dominating at moment, though.

  67. Dissenter

    It’s equally matched.
    The perfect European style vs South American styles

    This game typifies the clash of cultures that you’ve talked about.