Tough Start But Some Christmas Cheer: Highlights from Our 2021/22 Premier League Schedule

The fixtures for next season’s Premier League were published yesterday and some parts immediately stood out from an Arsenal perspective.

You can read the full list on the club website, but here are some of the highlights:

We Need To Hit The Ground Running

The fixtures computer has given us a challenging start to the new season, which kicks off on August 14th when we are away at newly promoted Brentford, followed by Chelsea at home and Manchester City away.

The Brentford game may look easily winnable on paper (the Bees finished third in the Championship and had to battle through the play-offs), but newly promoted teams are often at their most dangerous at the start of the season when they are still full of hope and expectation. By mid October they have usually had the stuffing knocked out of them with some heavy defeats.

So, this opening day fixture is no gimme and it is immediately followed by matches against the teams that finished fourth and first in the Premier League last season. Chelsea and Man City will both be intent on getting a strong start to their campaigns and we’ll have to be ready to match them. We will learn a lot about the Arsenal of 2021/22 in the first two weeks.

A Reasonable Christmas

The seasonal schedule can be difficult for several reasons: a lot of games crammed into a short space of time; players wanting to be with their families rather than travelling all round the country; odd kick-off times.

This year we’re away at newly promoted Norwich on Boxing Day, then home to Wolves two days later, with a New Years Day fixture against Man City at home. Obviously City will be a challenge, but the fact that we don’t have to travel after Boxing Day until the middle of January is helpful. And given how good City were last season and will probably be in the season to come, I’d rather be playing them on a special occasion like New Years Day, when our home crowd will be merrily lubricated and well up for it.

The Enemy

Our home fixture against the Noisy Neighbours is on September 25th. We play them again at the Armitage Shanks Arena on January 15th, by which time it will hopefully be apparent to them and all their fans that they’re in for another season of disappointment.

It’s also possible that their involvement in the Europa No-Hoper Conference – which will see them having to trail round half the far-flung countries of Europe – will impact their league form, while we have no such excuse.

An Excellent Run In

If we can remain competitive up to the start of March (for a shot at the top four, let’s say) then we’ll have a fighting chance of making it thanks to our decent run in.

After Liverpool at home on February 26th, we have 11 games to the end of the season, of which only one is against a traditional ‘Big Six’ team (Man United at home on April 23rd).

Of course, you could argue that the traditional Big Six is no longer a thing, and that our run in includes teams who may well be in the actual top six at that point of the season (notably Leicester, whom we play at the Emirates on March 12th) and possibly Aston Villa (March 19th away) who are busily trying to strengthen their squad this summer.

However, a final 11 games of Watford (a), Leicester (h), Villa (a), Palace (a), Brighton (h), Saints (a), Man United (h), West Ham (a), Leeds (h), Newcastle (a) and Everton (h) is not bad at all.

Finishing with a home game can also make a difference if we need a result on the final day.

Tough Away Days in the First Half

The fact of that decent run in should tell the observant reader that there must be some pain lying elsewhere in the schedule, and it comes with a bunch of hard away days in the first half of the season.

We face away games at Man City, Man United, Liverpool and Leicester before the end of November.

However…

In the end the fixtures probably mean little. If our team is functioning well and has been intelligently added to during the summer we will do OK, regardless of the order in which our opponents come at us.

But, to coin a footballing cliche, it can be a game of fine margins and in the areas listed above we can hope that the margins might favour us.

RockyLives

57 Responses to Tough Start But Some Christmas Cheer: Highlights from Our 2021/22 Premier League Schedule

  1. LBG says:

    Rocky
    Remember when we wrote down all the fixtures at the start of the season by hand, circling some ( no highlighters) and (expected them to be played at 3o’clock on a Saturday.)
    Get the squad right Mikel, keep em fit and lean during pre-season, and we can take on the World.

  2. RockyLives says:

    LBG

    Don’t I just.

    I’m also conscious of how we have blown our ‘easy run in’ several times in recent seasons.

    In fact, the way we finished last season was a definite improvement – five wins on the bounce.

    The season before we managed 2 wins, 2 losses and a draw.

    In 2018/19 it was 1 win, 3 losses and a draw.

    And in 2017/18 it was three wins, two losses.

  3. Pete the Thirst says:

    Awaiting the cruel hand of Sky and BT to move games from Saturday at 3pm to Monday at 5pm…

  4. Pete the Thirst says:

    Wonderful performance from Ramsey last night. Showed what a great player he is.

    He has injury issues there is no doubt, but he turns up for the big games. Two winning goals in FA Cup finals for Us proves the point.

    That We let him go for nothing was beyond a joke.

  5. RC78 says:

    Pete – I agree with your Ramsey’s assessment.

    I feel that this year’s schedule is very positive for us. It is quite balanced with some tough fixtures in a row but never more than 2 so we have no excuse to not do well in the League and national Cups.

    A Top 4 finish and winning one of the Cups would be the minimum for us I think…

    If we are not in the Top 4 and are out of the Cups before the end of January, it is time to say good-bye to Edu-Arteta. On that topic, Mavropanis should be given a chance with us and Saliba should be loaned out in the EPL so we have:
    Holding, Mavro, Gabriel, Mari as our CBs knowing that Chambers and Tierney can also play as CBs if needed.

    COYG!

  6. LBG says:

    Surely not a Portuguese Corona for us!

  7. LBG says:

    I’m looking forward to Villa at home most, and ramming Vardy and Martinez back down their throats! I hope!😁

  8. fred1266 says:

    Rocky those last 11 games are extremely hard

  9. LBG says:

    GoonerB
    I think you should put yourself forward for the Spursey job. Surely they deserve much more in the way of bolleaux for next season!😉

  10. GoonerB says:

    With my tactical nous LBG I’d likely turn them into title winners 😎 I’m purely here to help the good bloggers of AA and Mikel Arteta see the light. Your getting there LBG but are not quite ready yet. I will continue till my mission is completed.

  11. LBG says:

    GoonerB
    To be rated by you as almost there, is enough from me.
    Even your talent couldn’t lift Totteringham to title winners.

  12. LBG says:

    “for”

  13. LBG says:

    PS
    Doubt whether your bolleaux would be up to Moaninho’s, mind.

  14. LBG says:

    All these ex ” professionals ” advising ESR to leave Arsenal. Dickheads! Including R Madrid who think they can swindle us out of our star.
    We trust in you Emile, dont do an Alex Hleb and have lifetime regrets.

  15. LBG says:

    Gotta love Ian Wright, Wright, Wright.

  16. LBG says:

    Anyone want to disagree that modern day, especially International football is shite?

  17. fred1266 says:

    Not all games LBG just some

  18. LBG says:

    Fred
    Evening! You mean as long as it isn’t British football.?

  19. LBG says:

    Fred
    That game is why I would choose to watch International rugby, or cricket ( most of the time) rather than football.
    And as for “football’s coming home”….two chances, slim and none.

  20. LBG says:

    Back to The Arsenal and the usual pre season speculation ( sorry, shite again) have you looked at Tyler Adams of Leipzig yet?

  21. Sue says:

    Well that didn’t live up to the hype! Sterling and Kane – really poor. And to think we’re one of the favourites for the tournament, playing like that, you’ve gotta be joking!!

  22. Sue says:

  23. fred1266 says:

  24. LBG says:

    Looks like Medley is off to Belgium. Shame we dont seem to make money from our longterm youngsters.

  25. LBG says:

    RC
    Any opinion on Argentina’s J Correa of Lazio. Possible swop deal involving Terrier. Seems an underrated CF to me.

  26. RC78 says:

    Hi LBG – I am not so sure about J.Correa. Did not see him play too much. At Lazio, I followed more Milinko-Savic, Luis Alberto and Immobilie…Now Correa is a striker and from what I gathered, he d be more like a Laca type of striker.

  27. LBG says:

    RC
    Except he is a dribble….without doubt.

  28. LBG says:

    “dribbler”

  29. LBG says:

    51.5m for BOdegaard is only feasible if reported £250m transfer pot from Kroenkes is anything other than pipedream. But if we have that why not buy Grealish…. and Bissouma for me.

  30. fred1266 says:

    What a pass xhaka

    What tackle xhaka

    Who would have thought someone would say those words in the same comment

  31. LBG says:

    What a good (ish) future Roma player, Fred.

  32. fred1266 says:

    Yea hope Roma watching

  33. LBG says:

    Why cant we have proper referees in the Premier League?

  34. LBG says:

    They are not, Fred! Like the rest of us they are watching the Italians!

  35. fred1266 says:

    So true LBG, only one mistake made thus far

  36. fred1266 says:

    Well am watching my boy xhaka disappointed u not doing the same, check out the shaqiri goal when you get a chance

  37. fred1266 says:

    Xhaka carving open them turks

  38. LBG says:

    Your boy Xhaka, your boy Bellerin, your boy Martinez, your boy Ramsey……..looks like you are a jinx, Fred.

  39. LBG says:

    Turkey were absolute blind school turkeys in this event.

  40. fred1266 says:

    Xhaka was never my boy don’t ever disrespect me like that again

  41. LBG says:

    Fred
    Shame you dont read your own comments. Disrespect you…never!

  42. LBG says:

    Fred
    Bet you enjoyed Switzerland’s 22 shots on goal, though?

  43. Sue says:

    Gutted! Good luck, Mark

  44. LBG says:

    And Medley and Coyle.

  45. LBG says:

    Well it looks like Lokonga is more likely than Bissouma. I am disappointed but the Anderlecht player is different style and may add to the creativity of the team. Still no news on bigger players leaving, Willian, Nketiah, Bellerin, Nelson, Lacazette, Torreira, Guendouzi. If they all go at the same time it will certainly cause a stir.

  46. Sue says:

  47. RC78 says:

    Saka starts along side Sterling and Grealish to support Kane up front

    Pickford – Walker, Maguire, Stones, Shaw – Rice, Philipps – Saka, Grealish, Sterling – Kane

  48. RC78 says:

    Imagine if Saka and Grealish keep Foden out of the team in the end…

  49. LBG says:

    RC
    Why would that be surprising. I think Mount deserve a slot ahead of Foden, let alone the two today.

  50. fred1266 says:

    Hi AAers when Scotland conceded the fans were cheering why is that shouldn’t you all be vex

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