Arsenal are staring at a very big month with difficult fixtures on the agenda and key players returning from injury.
Arsenal are England’s team to beat at the moment. They’ve made a great start to the Premier League and if they beat Napoli this evening, they’ll maintain a perfect start to their Champions League campaign.
However, October throws up five key matches for the Gunners, which will stretch the current squad even further with fixtures against West Brom, Norwich and Crystal Palace in the Premier League, another Champions League tie against Borussia Dortmund and a League Cup clash against Chelsea.
The club’s chances of retaining their position at the top of the Premier League table are very good because those are all fixtures you would back the North London side to win on paper.
The clashes against Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea are more difficult to predict because they will test Arsene Wenger and the side in different ways.
The match against Dortmund fortunately comes for Arsenal after the scheduled return of two of their most important players; Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott.
The League Cup clash could be very interesting because Wenger is likely to go with a much younger side, with the return of Yaya Sanogo also due before that tie, which means the Frenchman could feature.
The comebacks of Cazorla and Walcott are doubly significant although they could give Wenger selection problems of a positive nature.
The current Arsenal midfield which includes, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Mesut Ozil and Mathieu Flamini are all playing out of their skin and it’s difficult to see any of them being replaced.
Cazorla is a top quality player and Arsenal are a better side with him than without him, but it’s difficult to see where he’s going to slot back into the side and it’s unfortunate on anyone Wenger drops for the return of the Spaniard.
Walcott has also been challenged at right midfield by the talented Serge Gnabry. The young German doesn’t look out of place in the first team and his performances are only going to improve.
Walcott should eventually come back into the side at right midfield but he now knows he’s got a youngster snapping at his heels, waiting for him to make a mistake so he gets more consistent chances for the first team.
For Wenger the big tests come in Europe. He’s proven he can get this current crop of Arsenal stars playing well domestically but there are still questions in Europe, especially against the bigger sides.
It promises to be a potentially brilliant month for the club, which can start well with three points against Rafa Benitez’s Napoli this evening.
What are you expecting from the club this month?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald