Its worth remembering that any advantage (or disadvantage) the fixture list gives is minimal. Ultimately, every team has to play every other team twice - I know that's no great insight but it's easily brushed over by Ol' Rednose so he can make a complaint.
1) Every team is going to experience greater fixture congestion than usual. The summer of an international tournament means the fixtures need to be finished earlier. This is more the case with a World Cup year than a European Championships year. So big cup and European runs will mean 2 matches a week for three months consistently.
In terms of Arsenal, with a thin squad this should hinder us as the squad will be even more stretched than usual. Though if its any consolation we usually do well in years where there isn't an international tournament in the summer (eg. 97-98, 01-02, 03-04).
2) If we're within 5 or 6 points of the top of the table in mid-February, we should win the League. Our last 10-12 are eminently games we should win. But its a big 'IF' with a very tough early and mid season schedule.
3) It's an African Nations Year. As the squad stands, that means Toure, Eboue and Adebayor will bugger off for a month provided their country qualifies.
Roughly speaking, the tournament lasts from the second week of January to the second week of February.
Anyone spotted our four fixtures at the end of January and beginning of February? -
Wed Jan 27 Aston Villa A
Sat Jan 30 Manchester United H
Sat Feb 6 Chelsea A
Tue Feb 9 Liverpool H
It promises to be fun. Not.
4) Considering out previous League form, I may be getting ahead of myself.
BUT: the North London Derby at Shite Hart Lane is scheduled for the same weekend as the FA Cup semi-final. If either team gets through, that match will be pushed back.
Which means we can win the League at the Lane again. Jubbly.
Never say never.
Keep the faith,