Thursday, 17 June 2010

Fixture list observations: All to play for

The benefits of waking up late this morning, was that I had the Arsenal fixture list in my inbox and didn't have to go looking for it. The arrival of the fixture list is a momentous occasion for a blogger: it is when the season to come becomes 'this season' rather than 'next season', and the year just gone becomes 'last season. Admittedly, I still need to write player ratings for most of the squad, but exams and the World Cup seem to have come in the way. They will arrive eventually, I promise.

The full fixture list is here and it makes interesting reading. There will the highs and lows; the imagination now runs into overdrive, trying to work out where the great goals will be scored, and where Cesc, maybe, just maybe, could lift a trophy.

If you want a full analysis, it's very easy to come over all Jose Mourinho: five out of six of the Champions League group games are followed by away games and not just any away games: Sunderland, Man City, Man United, Chelsea, and Aston Villa. The astute amongst you will notice that Arsenal took a solitary point from the corresponding five matches last season and it will (yes, I know its obvious but still...) be important to take more from these matches.

Having said that, there is the point that every team has to play the other 19 twice. The opening day match away at Liverpool looks exciting. The run of six games from the 16th of April where we face Man United, Aston Villa and Liverpool at home, and Stoke, Bolton, and Fulham away will undoubtedly dictate how our season pans out.

I think it's fair to say that the League was lost in February by our defeats to Chelsea and Man United. It's asking a lot to think Arsenal will win all six of those games. But ultimately, this time last year I was predicting Cesc would lift the League trophy at White Hart Lane. Instead, our quest for the League title pretty much folded there. So I'm not jumping to any conclusions...

Keep the faith,

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