v. Newcastle - January 2 (BPL)
Newcastle enter this one in the relegation zone sitting at 18th in the table. It is tight, though, as they are just three points underneath Chelsea at 14th. After taking two surprising wins over Liverpool and Other North London Team to open December, they've drawn once (to Aston Villa at home) and lost twice (to Everton at home and at West Bromwich Albion).
Current position and record: 18th, 4-5-10 (17 pts)
Previous meeting: Newcastle 0, Arsenal 1 (August 29, BPL)
v. Sunderland - January 9 (FA Cup)
Whatever superlatives you can come up with for Newcastle's season thus far, you have to intensify them with respect to Sunderland. Replacing former manager Dick Advocaat with Sam Allardyce hasn't produced the necessary results to get them out of the relegation zone. Having lost their last five games, they're likely more desperate for points hosting Aston Villa than they will be for a cup match at the Emirates.
Current position and record: 19th, 3-3-13 (12 pts)
Previous meeting: Arsenal 3, Sunderland 1 (December 5, BPL)
@ Liverpool - January 13 (BPL)
Since taking over Liverpool on October 8, Jürgen Klopp has at least invigorated the spirit among the base if not doing too much for Liverpool's standing in the table. Big away wins (3-1 over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, 4-1 over Man City at the Etihad and a 6-1 thrashing of Southampton at St. Mary's) have come with some notable disappointments (a 1-2 loss at home to Crystal Palace, a 0-2 loss at Newcastle, drawing against West Bromwich Albion at home, and a pre-Christmas 0-3 stomping at the hands of Watford.
Current position and record: 7th, 8-6-5 (30 pts)
Previous meeting: Arsenal 0, Liverpool 0 (August 24, BPL)
@ Stoke - January 17 (BPL)
With the trio of Bojan Krkić, Xherdan Shaqiri and Marko Arnautović, the Potters are playing some very, very fine football right now. Since the beginning of November, Stoke have downed Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Everton in last weekend's 4-3 highlight-filled match. Three points in the first six games of the season, though, mean that strong recent run have brought them up to just 10th place.
Current position and record: 10th, 8-5-6 (29 pts)
Previous meeting: Arsenal 2, Stoke 0 (September 12, BPL)
v. Chelsea - January 24 (BPL)
Current position and record: 14th, 5-5-9 (20 pts)
Previous meetings: Arsenal 1, Chelsea 0 (August 2, Community Shield)
Chelsea 2, Arsenal 0 (September 19, BPL)
It's an interesting month ahead though perhaps for what it doesn't include. Three clubs between 14th place Chelsea and the bottom of the league with no matches against a team higher than 7th place Liverpool. An FA Cup match but nothing on the Champions League front. No international break.
Just Arsenal football straight through.
And with just five matches over the month compared to the six from December, any fitness issues should have to do with a compressed schedule. Looking at the like a new signings coming back in the next few weeks, Arsenal fans have legitimate reasons for optimism looking at January as it stands right now.