While the excitement of the World Cup has been sweeping the nation over the last few weeks, there have still been some interesting developments when it comes to the world of domestic football. Today, we had the release of the Premier League fixtures for the 2018/19 campaign – and if you’re an Arsenal fan, prepare yourself for a baptism of fire on the opening weekend.
Unai Emery’s first competitive game in charge won’t be against a lowly ranked side or a newly promoted team, because instead, it’ll be against the reigning champions Manchester City. Under the guidance of Pep Guardiola, they were able to register a record-breaking season last year, and frighteningly enough it feels like they want to go even further this time around. Repeating as champions in the top flight isn’t easy, but when you’ve got a squad like theirs, anything is possible.
Perhaps the best thing that Emery can do for a game of this magnitude is to build it up as if it’s a cup final. He’s got around two months to prepare for this game now and while City may view this as just another season opener, especially given that they’ll be in the Community Shield one week prior, Emery needs to let his players know that a win to open the season against a team like City would do wonders for their confidence.
One of the things that they need to accomplish from the word go is ‘letting them know they’re there’ which may sound like an old-school mentality, but it could be the most logical move. The Gunners aren’t a team who are known for coming flying out of the gate and putting you under pressure, because instead, they’re known for taking their time and breaking you down methodically.
The start of the season is all about laying the groundwork for what you want to accomplish from August until May, and Arsenal have the players in place to make that kind of statement against the reigning champions. They’ll be at home, there will be a fun atmosphere in the air, and you have to play everyone twice anyway – so why not start with the big dogs?
Are you excited for Arsenal’s season opener?