How the fixture list offers Emery’s Arsenal a chance to grow
Richard Marsh | 22 August 2018
It’s been a bruising start for the new boss
Unai Emery has lost his first two Premier League games as Arsenal manager. And that’s already led to much discussion about how the Spaniard will fare in North London.
Defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea have left some people questioning Emery’s methods. The Gunners never lost their opening two league games under Arsene Wenger.
But there were positives to take from Arsenal’s the two games, particularly in their trip to Stamford Bridge. It’s clear what the new manager is trying to achieve.
They’re sixth in the betting for a top-four finish at 9/4, but after a sticky start, things should brighten up nicely for Emery in the next couple of months…
Fixtures fall their way
Nobody was expecting Arsenal to get much from their opening fixtures. But now they can reap the rewards.
Between now and November, the Gunners don’t play a single side from last season’s top seven.
West Ham United (H) are Arsenal’s next opponents. They’re followed by Cardiff City (A), Newcastle United (A), Everton (H), Watford (H), Fulham (A), Leicester City (H) and Crystal Palace (A). That’s eight very winnable games and a potential 24-point haul.
Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville said on Monday Night Football that he expects Arsenal’s new boss to need around 18 months to put things in place. The next 10 weeks offer a belated but ideal place for Emery to start his new era.
A season of two halves
If the Gunners can gain momentum during those eight games, and Emery begins to perfect his first XI, then Arsenal will be in a much better place for their next meetings with top-six opposition.
They’ll have home advantage versus Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur before Christmas too, with their only pre-festive top-six away game being a trip to Old Trafford.
On paper at least, it means Arsenal have an excellent chance to be in rude health by the halfway stage of the campaign.
Post-Christmas, Emery still has to take his men to Anfield, White Hart Lane and the Etihad.
But by then, the Spaniard and his new team should have found their feet and identity.
A title challenge this season looks unlikely, but Arsenal are currently 9/4 to bag a top-four finish.
Those odds will drop quickly, however, if they take advantage of the favourable run of games coming their way.
It’s a chance for Emery and Arsenal to really gel and gain momentum. After a nightmare start, the Gunners’ season really begins now.
And Coral traders make the North Londoners 4/11 favourites to get up and winning by beating West Ham on Saturday afternoon.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing