Arsenal are set for a busy December fixture schedule.
England does things differently, binning player recuperation in favour of cramming as much football into a single period as possible. Arsenal, like the rest, prepare for a helter-skelter of a month.
Why the Premier League and below do what other European leagues don’t is always brought to light, as it can be severely damaging to player welfare, especially in the current climate where squads are thinning by the week with games galore.
From a selfish point of view, it’s fantastic. The Premier League is the best division in the world for many reasons, with the action-packed nature of the winter schedule one of the highlights of the Christmas period. Game after game, twist after twist, it makes for enthralling viewing.
Dates are subject to change, but Arsenal face a grueling run of nine matches in just 26 days, six of those coming in the Premier League.
- Europa League: Rapid Vienna (H) – December 3
- Premier League: Tottenham (A) – December 6
- Europa League: Dundalk (A) – December 10
- Premier League: Burnley (H) – December 13
- Premier League: Southampton (H) – December 16
- Premier League: Everton (A) – December 19
- Carabao Cup QF: Manchester City (H) – December 22
- Premier League: Chelsea (H) – December 26
- Premier League: Brighton (A) – December 29
Daunting, to say the least. Fortunately for Arsenal, the success of the Europa League campaign ensures fixtures against Rapid Vienna and Dundalk can be played almost exclusively with squad members who aren’t set to feature in the top-flight.
One of the few plus points so far this season has been the ease with which Arsenal have progressed to the knockout stages, and travelling to Ireland is the longest journey on the list.
Tottenham away is a frightening prospect, and how confident Mikel Arteta‘s side can be prior to the North London Derby will rest on how they fare against Wolves on Sunday.
A four-game stretch against Southampton, Everton, City and Chelsea is an unenviable run-in. Three of those sides sit above Arsenal in the table at present, although the Citizens boast a game in hand.
It is not premature to state that the outcome of that period will define the season. Falter in the winter months and the road ahead leading to the top four extends even further than it already is. Games against Burnley and Brighton are must-wins…the rest probably are too, such is the state of affairs.