Manchester City at home
Welcome to the Premier League Unai Emery.
Whilst a lot of people have winced at Arsenal’s tough start to the Premier League season, I prefer to look at it another way.
The beginning of the season is a great time to play both sides due to the World Cup.
Arsenal have just 8 players at the World Cup – Granit Xhaka, Mesut Özil, David Ospina, Nacho Monreal, Mohamed Elneny, Alex Iwobi, Danny Welbeck & new boy Stephan Lichtsteiner.
Only really Ozil, Monreal and Xhaka start in our strongest XI.
This means for the opening day of the season, we could line up the following line up:
Bellerin Mustafi Sokratis Kolasinac
Wilshere* AMN Ramsey
*If he signs
The only place we are looking lightweight is in midfield, as both Xhaka and Elneny are in Russia, and likely new signing Lucas Torreira will also be out there.
Manchester City, meanwhile, have 16 players at the World Cup.
The likes of Kyle Walker, Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Nicolas Otamendi, Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne strut their stuff around Russia
John Stones, Vincent Kompany, Ederson, Danilo, Fernandinho, Fabian Delph, Benjamin Mendy, Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva and David Silva will also be out there.
Looking at their squad, you struggle to make a competitive XI out of those players who have not gone.
If they rush some players who will be knocked it early – the likes of Stones and Walker – they might be able to put out a decent XI; but an XI who would not have had much of a pre season.
Chelsea also have a lot of players at the World Cup. 14 in total.
Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois and loan man Michy Batshuayi. Gary Cahill and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Olivier Giroud N’Golo Kante, Antonio Rudiger, Willian, Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen and Willy Caballero.
Kenneth Omeruo and Victor Moses will be playing for Nigeria.
Going into the first few games of the season, they will be without a senior goal keeper and have just senior CB – David Luiz – to choose from.
Emery has a chance of starting the season off with a bang. Two wins against two top 6 sides.
Other fixtures to look out for are:
Spurs (a): March 2nd
Spurs (h): December 1st
Boxing Day: Brighton (a)
New Years Eve: Liverpool (a)
New Years Day: Fulham (h)
Last game: Burnley (h)
The post-Europa league games are also friendly. They will all get moved to Sunday and for away supporters, we have avoided any long trips:
Crystal Palace (a)
Two of the post Europa League away days in London and the furthest to travel is Southampton. Not bad.
With the transfer window closing on the eve of the Premier Leaghe starting, clubs have to get a move on with any business they have to do.
Arsenal have fairly nice fixtures in the last 8 games of the season. If we start well, we could be in with a shout towards the end.
Up the Arsenal