5 Fixtures That Every Arsenal Supporter Should Look Out For This Premier League season
By Allan Riley
The Premier League is back on Saturday. With that in mind, I've taken a look at five intriguing fixtures that have the potential to be memorable from a variety of reasons. From potential banana skins to make or break fixtures, these games are sure to be unpredictable and ones that Arsenal fans should keep a close eye on.
September 12: Fulham (A)
It's obvious that Arsenal's first game of the season was going to make an appearance. Both teams haven't had much in the way of a preseason, but Arsenal have just contested in the FA Cup and Community Shield since the start of August, so it'll be interesting what happens here. Fulham, like Arsenal, have given the reigns to a young manager in Scott Parker, who guided the club to promotion in his first full season.
Fulham's biggest threat is undoubtedly Aleksandar Mitrovic, who is a proven Premier League goalscorer. The Cottagers last season racked up wins over Championship big boys Leeds and Brentford, and went up through the playoffs. However, they scored the fewest amount of goals of any of the top six, but had the third tightest defence. That being said, it should be a comfortable win for Arsenal. Given the fact that two seasons ago when the now newly promoted side was in the Premier League, the Gunners beat Fulham at home 4-1 and then 5-1 away from home, that should fill Arsenal with confidence going into the first match of the season.
September 29: Liverpool (A)
Arsenal's difficult run of fixtures starts at the home of Liverpool, the reigning Premier League champions. While Mikel Arteta has a 100% win record against Jurgen Klopp, he's never faced his German counterpart at Anfield before.
The last league game ended with an Arsenal win, a win that was undeserved given Liverpool's dominance. Arsenal's record at Anfield isn't pretty, either. They have conceded three or more goals in each of the last five visits; conceding five goals in two of them.
Liverpool obviously have quality players all over the pitch and can hurt teams at any moment. That being said, Arteta's game plan does seem to work against the Merseysiders, so expect anything to happen.
October 3: Sheffield United (H)
The game immediately following the Liverpool fixture is one to look out for as well. This game doesn't really spring to mind when thinking about big games footballing-wise, but it does however, present other significance.
This could very well be Arsenal's first game in front of a home crowd since March. The British government do intend to let fans attend football matches by October, so we could see a partially filled Emirates for this one.
In terms of Sheffield United, Chris Winter's charges worked miracles last season, but most likely won't carry on their superb form from last season. They're a side with no real star names but an incredible team spirit. They get stuck in and always fight for each other. Wilder is also a very tactically innovative manager. This one will be difficult.
October 31: Manchester United (A)
The last time Arsenal faced Manchester United, Mikel Arteta registered his first win as Arsenal manager with a comfortable win at the Emirates. However, this isn't the same side that lost to Arsenal that match.
This is a side that haven't lost a Premier League game since January. This is a side that have one of the league's best signings of the season from last year in Bruno Fernandes. They have an attack of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and the mercurial, Mason Greenwood.
Next to the revolutionary signing, Fernandes, United also have two high-quality midfielders in Donny Van de Beek and Paul Pogba, culminating in a dangerous but also slightly unbalanced midfield, to go with their iffy defence. Despite that, said midfield is still very dangerous attacking-wise and this game will be much trickier than our cakewalk back in January. Let's hope the Halloween fixture does not provide too much of a scare for the gunners at Old Trafford.
November 22: Leeds (A)
Leeds are finally back in the Premier League after a 16-year absence. Arsenal did play the Yorkshire side in the FA Cup, grinding out a tough 1-0 victory last season but they are sure to be a tall task coming into their first top flight year in ages.
The only reason Leeds lost the aforementioned cup game, was because of their poor finishing. Marcelo Bielsa's side had 13 shots in the first half alone, and now they have an improvement on Patrick Bamford in Rodrigo. With such an impressive signing, it would be fair to assume that they should be much more dangerous and potent in goal scoring positions.
Furthermore, Bielsa is also one of the most tactically astute managers in recent footballing history. His tactical nous and innovation took the Championship by storm. He's one of the great footballing minds; someone who's inspired new-generation greats like Mauricio Pochettino and Pep Guardiola.
Leeds have a quality squad that's more than capable of staying in the division. That paired with Bielsa's geniusness could lead to them causing Arsenal a hell of a lot of problems.
In closing, those are the main five fixtures that Arsenal fans should keep an eye out for coming into the 2020/2021 season. Also, be sure to check out the chief editor, Alfie Culshaw's 2020/2021 season preview for a more in depth look at the upcoming season as a whole.
The matches mentioned will be pivotal to a successful season for Arteta and his players, so let's hope good results can be achieved in those mentioned and many more as well.