The 2018/19 Premier League fixtures have been released, and while football is so bizarre that more people are interested in Russia vs Saudi Arabia today, there’s still some excitement to be had regarding the fact that the new season is just a few months away. We’ve had a quick look at the Gunners’ opening day encounter against champions Manchester City, but beyond that, it’s always interesting to analyse how things could go over the course of the first six games.
That benchmark of the six-game stretch seems to come into play for both the start and end of the Premier League season, and it always serves as an interesting comparison between Arsenal and other clubs around them. While we personally think it’s a little bit silly to look at what could happen in May given how many different variables there are throughout the PL campaign, we’re certainly going to take a glance at what kind of start Unai Emery can expect in his first season in charge. Spoiler: it’s not going to be easy.
Manchester City – Home
As we mentioned in our previous post, this game couldn’t be coming at a better time for the Gunners. Unai Emery needs to hype this up as if it was a cup final because they need to go into it assuming that City will take them lightly. It’ll obviously be a difficult game, but they’ve got what it takes to pull off a shock.
Chelsea – Away
Getting these kinds of games out of the way early could be the best thing possible for Emery, although playing at Stamford Bridge in his first away encounter could make for an interesting showdown given the rivalry between the two clubs. Chelsea are going to be an unknown entity in many ways after a poor season last year so Arsenal will need to bring some momentum over from the City game.
West Ham – Home
London derbies are always going to be feisty affairs, but the Hammers are still a team in the rebuilding phase – in more ways than one. This serves as Emery’s first major chance to register three points in a game where Arsenal will be the favourites, and as long as they play the game at their own tempo, they should be fine.
Cardiff – Away
Promoted clubs are always tricky to deal with early on in the campaign, but thankfully for Arsenal, this won’t be the very first game of the season. The Bluebirds will already be a few games into their PL return and while the atmosphere in Wales could prove to be a difference maker, Arsenal should have more than enough quality to secure the victory.
Newcastle – Away
A few years ago this fixture wouldn’t have seemed so intimidating, but if the Magpies are able to keep hold of Rafa Benitez for at least another year, then they could be a force to be reckoned with next season. St James’ Park has its mojo back, they’re putting together a solid squad, and they’re coming off of an impressive finish last year. A win here would be a big moment in Emery’s first season.
Everton – Home
Everton have been extremely hot and cold since the departure of David Moyes all those years ago, and they find themselves in a similar position to the Gunners with a new manager at the helm. The tempo of this game will depend heavily on how both sides start the campaign, but if Arsenal can implement their own style early on, then they shouldn’t have too many problems dealing with the Toffees.
What do you think about Arsenal’s scheduled start to the 2018/19 season?