Arsenal fixture list presents incredible test

NORWICH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal looks on prior to the Premier League match between Norwich City and Arsenal at Carrow Road on December 26, 2021 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal looks on prior to the Premier League match between Norwich City and Arsenal at Carrow Road on December 26, 2021 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images) /

Arsenal needed to take advantage of the end-of-year schedule that they were delt at the start of this campaign, and with December rapidly fading, they most certainly have done that. The team has won five in a row, scoring 19 goals in that time and conceding just two, and are using their youth so freely and with such confidence that it feels like the Gunners continue to turn corners at an increasing rate.

After the stretch of matches that included losses in three out of four games to the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and Everton, the Gunners have rebounded and restated their claims to being a different team than those of the last several seasons. This is a side that is built on youth, and trusts that youth without question; while youth will sometimes struggle in matches where the stage is so massive and the opposition have such talent and experience, it is only through those tests that young stars in this group can learn to play at those levels at all.

Those losses, like the tough times of the previous seasons, help to build a better club with players who understand how to overcome adversity in real time. How this Arsenal lot have responded since those defeats should illustrate to us that they are serious, determined, growing and progressing at a much faster rate than may have been previously anticipated by pundits and analysts alike.

They must keep this energy and volition going now that they’ve managed to grab it back. Arsenal must remain focused, even as their match against Wolves has been postponed, for matches against Manchester City and Liverpool in quick succession will mean that these Gunners will have another set of tests regarding their real ability as the season moves forward.

Arsenal fixture list serves up Manchester City and Liverpool in the Premier League and Carabao Cup semi-finals

Wolves would have been a way to throttle up for the harder matches that await the team before their FA Cup participation begins with a date at Nottingham Forest. Manchester City have already shown the Gunners what they still wish to become, and that loss set off a run across multiple months in which a loss was not suffered; Arsenal will look to repay the favor this time, and show Pep and company how much they have evolved since that early-season tie.

It will not be any easier now than it was then, however, as while Arsenal is a better side than they were, Manchester City are likewise. They sit at the top of the Premier League, above Liverpool and Chelsea, and have shown themselves to be a really dangerous club no matter the competition.

A win for Mikel Arteta and these Gunners would be a major step forward for this team, and it would give great confidence to these young players It would give the team a really special win to hang their hats on this season, and moving forward in all competitions, that type of confidence is invaluable; the match just days later with Liverpool would instantly test this confidence, to be sure.

Yet while Liverpool handled Arsenal not too long ago, things can change quickly in football. Arsenal and the Reds would be using different mixtures of players likely, but the intensity will remain as it was last time they faced one another. Whoever can get the best of the other will once again find success. The fact that it will be across two legs will be important for each team, depending on how they each play the first of the legs, but the Gunners will not want to get off to a flimsy start against such a dangerous squad as Jurgen Klopp’s lot.

The success that Arsenal finds with these two matches will go a long way towards determining whether they will seriously factor in a top-three discussion, whether they can hold onto their top-four position as it currently stands, or if they are actually more of a top-five, six or seven side instead.

While Nottingham Forest should present Arsenal with few issues afterwards, as the FA Cup begins for Arsenal in earnest, but the team would be awfully frustrated with the previous results. Alternatively, a win or two would boost this young teams confidence so much that the top three would have to consider Arsenal to be a challenge where previously they were simply not up to the par with the rest.

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Every month or so in this Premier League, and in England as a whole, one team can find another opportunity to test themselves against the best that the Premier League has to offer. While Arsenal has previously failed, they are getting closer to finding the success they crave with each passing day and challenge. When they face City and Liverpool in such proximity, they will again have their chance to show the world what they’re made of.