Arsenal must use the fixture list to their advantage in title race

After a dubious start to the season Arsenal are now on an unbeaten run in the Premier League and the fixture list ahead of them this October promises a platform to build on.

Arsenal face Stoke this weekend at the Emirates after an impressive win in Marseille in midweek after going three games in unbeaten in the Premier League and six games unbeaten in all competitions.

The Gunners’ opening day defeat to Aston Villa, prior to the uplifting signing of Mesut Ozil, spelled out doom and gloom for the Emirates faithful but Arsene Wenger’s side now have a spring in their step after a number of solid performances and the results to match them, including a victory in the North London derby against Spurs earlier this month.

Arsenal now face fixtures with Stoke, Swansea, West Brom, Norwich and Crystal Palace in the back-end of September, through October until they face Liverpool at home on November 2nd.

Whilst there are no easy games in the Premier League, as they say, and Arsenal have had a habit of making hard work of what on paper look like easy fixtures in recent years, the fact they don’t face a title rival or any team in last term’s top seven until November bodes well for Wenger’s men.

Other than having beaten Tottenham, the Gunners haven’t and won’t face a ‘top’ team for over a month now and their superb form ought to continue given that two of their next five fixtures are against teams who finished in the bottom half of the table last season, one is against a newly promoted side and the other two are against 8th place Albion and 9th the Swans who placed 9th last term.

On paper, at least, it’s a kind run of fixtures, despite a difficult and loaded schedule in the Champions League. You’d have to say, Arsenal, even with their current injury list, are quite capable of picking up 11 point or more from the available 15 in the next five.

Swansea caught the Gunners out last season but they’ve won just one game this term so far and West Brom have yet to record their first win of the season. Stoke will be tough on Sunday but with the quality Arsenal have and the fact it’s a home game, you’d have to say the Gunners will be the favourites. There are no ‘easy games’ but there are easier games.

In contrast Arsenal’s title rivals have the tougher fixtures – Tottenham and Chelsea face each other later this month, the two Manchester rivals face each other this Sunday and the Blues also face their old foes Fulham this weekend and City take on Everton and Chelsea next month. All in all, the Gunners could be riding high by the time they host Liverpool.

November is when it gets tougher – Arsenal will line-up against Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund, and Manchester United in the space of 8 days. Then they’ll have Everton, Manchester City, and Chelsea to worry about in December but if they can go into that period before Christmas with the momentum of a good run it could just be the wind in their sales to give them the edge over their rivals who undoubtedly have the tougher fixtures in the meantime and could be feeling a little jaded by that point.

image: © crystian cruz

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