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Arsenal November 2016 Preview: Into The Fray

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And now, the storm is upon us.

Arsenal Manager Arsène Wenger
Arsenal Manager Arsène Wenger
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Ahead of the October slate, I said this:

The quality of opposition certainly suggests that Arsenal could come out of October on a positive run on all fronts: remaining in the mix at the top of the league table, progressing in the league cup and stacking up more points in Group A.

Arsenal will need as much with a much, much tougher November ahead...

...Tighten the belt, fam.

Arsenal held serve. Now, the November tsunami is upon us. Loosen the belt.

It is time.

@ Ludogorets - Tuesday, November 1 (UCL)

Table position and record: 3rd, 0-1-2
Previous meeting: Arsenal 6, Ludogorets 0
Current form (UCL): W-D-D-L-L

Arsenal dispatched Ludo with ease just two weeks ago at home. Now, we head to Bulgaria atop the group table with three matches remaining.

There’s no reason Arsenal should come home with anything but three points.

v. Tottenham - Sunday, November 6 (PL)

Current position and record: 5th, 5-5-0 (20 pts)
Previous meeting: N/A
Last five meetings (PL): W-D-L-D-D
Current form (PL): W-W-D-D-D

This seems important.

We’ve drawn three of the last four meetings and lost the other, last year’s disheartening away fixture. Sp*rs are the league’s only side yet to lose a match even while Harry Kane nears a return from injury.

This seems important.

@ Manchester United - Saturday, November 19 (PL)

Current position and record: 8th, 4-3-3 (15 pts)
Previous meeting: N/A
Last five meetings (PL): D-L-D-W-L
Current form (PL): W-D-D-L-D

This also seems important.

As opposed to the NLD where the game is shaping up as a match between peers, United are struggling to serious degree right now. Over at The Busby Babe, SB Nation’s community for Man U supporters, they’re asking if José Mourinho is unravelling...

This would seem an opportune time to head to Old Trafford.

v. PSG - Wednesday, November 23 (UCL)

Table position and record: 2nd, 2-1-0
Previous meeting: Arsenal 1, PSG 1
Current form (UCL): N/A-N/A-D-W-W

Arsenal took a point from the Parc des Princes in September. This game, though, could decide the group. For an Arsenal side that has come second in the group in recent years, leading to less favorable outcomes in the Round of 16 (WE DON’T TALK ABOUT MONACO), taking the top slot would be a welcome change.

v. Bournemouth - Sunday, November 27 (PL)

Current position and record: 10th, 3-3-4 (12 pts)
Previous meeting: N/A
Last five meetings (PL): N/A-N/A-N/A-W-W
Current form (PL): W-D-W-D-L

Bournemouth aren’t in bad form, but let’s be honest. This is the Jack Wilshere Darby. You don’t want 500 words on Junior Stanislas or some expository on the Steve Cook-Simon Francis pairing in central defense. You want Jack Wilshere content for Thanksgiving.

It’s coming, fam.

v. Southampton - Wednesday, November 30 (EC)

Arsenal hit the fifth round of the EFL cup to close the month against Soton. At this point, six Premier League sides remain with a pair from the Championship making up the final eight. Fair question as to how much value this game has in a season like this with a thick December schedule that has yet to add the FA Cup to the upcoming congestion let alone further Champions League action.

Nonetheless, it remains a plus opportunity to get younger players action. We’ll have to see how the side looks come late month. Injuries could shift things around where see a pretty different lineup from the one that came out against Reading in round 4.


Summary

This is where the season takes off. To this point, it’s been a slow build. Arsenal have done well enough against inferior talent while maintaining health for the push ahead.

That push starts in earnest in November.

If the first months of the season built up narrative capital, it’s time to start spending it this month.

Here we go.