Friday, November 1, 2013


Arsenal were rather predictably (at least for me) knocked out of the Capital One Cup by Chelsea - a club whose squad is vastly superior to that of the Gunners. Having said that, as an Arsenal fan - it is one of the lesser disappointments and compared to the exit at the hands of Bradford last year - it is an easier one to take for me.
Arsenal have lost two out of their last three matches - both at home - against two very strong teams - Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea. And while Arsenal after 9 rounds are sitting at the top of the table at the end of October, thanks to both good play by the team, as well as a kind fixture list so far, the tough run of matches has started with the Dortmund game and it is going to get really tough for the Gunners starting tomorrow.
Between November to February, Arsenal play 19 (if they win the FA Cup 3rd Round) matches : 14 of them in the Premier League, 3 in the Champions League and 1, potentially 2  in the FA Cup.
By the time January is over - 23 rounds of the Premier League will be over and we will have a much better idea of whether this year's squad are genuine title contenders or just 4th place hopefuls. And even before that, by 11th December - we will know if Arsenal have qualified for the knock-out phase of the Champions League. The qualification - which now hinges on getting results at two very difficult stadiums - Westfalenstadion (Borussia Dortmund) and Stadio San Paolo (Napoli), is extremely important for two things. Firstly and obviously - the club and the fans want to go as far as possible in this glamour competition which is financially lucrative as well and also helps in attracting talented players. But more importanly perhaps for this season - should Arsenal not qualify and end up 3rd - they will be dragged into the cesspool - a long drawn out competition which will be a massive strain on the limited squad resources of the Gunners and could ultimately hinder the title challenge of the Gunners if it remains on track through the winter.
Also in this period is the January transfer window and reinforcements - especially up front and also defensive midfield are needed.
The fixtures that I have marked in red are really tough matches, while the brown ones are tricky as well. This is going to be a long and tough three months for Arsene Wenger's men.
Brace yourselves: WINTER IS COMING !

PS: Apart from GoT - I must credit Matt Becker for the title idea

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