Five key fixtures for Arsenal before 2013 ends

They're top of the Premier League and set to qualify from their Champions League group, but what are the toughest games left for the Gunners this year?

Arsene Wenger surprised everyone by signing Mezut Ozil on deadline day and his side continue to surprise the pundits by sitting pretty at the top of the table. Add to that the fact they're top of a Champions League group that includes last year's runners up Borussia Dortmund, as well as Napoli and it's been an incredible start to the season for the North Londoners.

But what awaits them before the new year? Let's have a look at the key games left for them in 2013.

Southampton (H) 23rd November - When the fixture list came out then nobody thought this game would see first take on third but that's the case this Saturday when Saints travel to the Emirates. Mauricio Pochettino's men will be hard to break down and will offer a real threat going forward so don't expect a comfortable home victory.

Marseille (H) 26th November - The Champions League takes centre stage three days later and a home win against the French side who are already out of the competition, should see them qualify for the knockout stages in 2014.

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Napoli (A) 11th December - If Wenger and Rafa Benitez's teams match each other's results on the 26th then a positive result in Naples will see Arsenal win the group, which could be of major importance when it comes to the second round draw.

Manchester City (A) 14th December - A major test of whether this Arsenal side is title winning material. City are struggling away from home but are scoring goals for fun at the Etihad so this has the ability to be an absolute stormer of a game for a Saturday lunchtime.

Chelsea (H) 23rd December - The last game in the league before Christmas sees the London rivals square up as well as Wenger meeting with Jose Mourinho once again. The Blues picked up a win in the Capital One Cup earlier on in the season at the Emirates and will be looking to make Wenger's turkey taste bitter on Christmas Day.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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