v. Watford - Saturday, April 2 (BPL)
One of just two games in the front half of the month, Arsenal get started at home against the Golden Boys of Watford. Of course, the two just saw each other less than three weeks ago when Watford bounced Arsenal out of the FA Cup with a 2-1 upset at the Emirates.
Now, Arsenal will look to avenge the cup loss to kickstart their final eight games of the season against a Watford side 11 points well wide of the relegation zone.
Current position and record: 14th, 10-7-13 (37 pts)
@ West Ham United - Saturday, April 9 (BPL)
In perhaps the most unexpected late-season clash of significance for Arsenal, the second of the two games in the first half of April sees a trip to Upton Park to face the fifth-place Hammers. Led by a wholly in-form Dimitri Payet, West Ham are coming in hot as well having not lost since a 0-1 drop to Southampton on February 6 despite facing Liverpool, BAD TEAM, Everton, Manchester United and Chelsea since. For his part, Manager Slaven Bilić would be an easy choice for postseason accolades were Leicester not atop the league under Claudio Ranieri.
With Manchester City slipping at 4th and United asking at 6th, this one looms large for all involved.
Current position and record: 5th, 13-11-6 (50 pts)
Previous meeting: West Ham 2 @ Arsenal 0 (August 9, BPL)
v. Crystal Palace - Sunday, April 17 (BPL)
It's a familiar back-to-back as Arsenal followed up West Ham with Crystal Palace back in August in the first two matches of the season. Now seven and a half months later, this Palace contest open a heavily congested latter half of the month. Arsenal have just two games in the first 16 days of April; the final 14 days have twice as many contests.
This run gets started with a visit from Palace who are seven points from relegation, though with three games between now and this matchup things could look quite differently come the 17th.
Current position and record: 16th, 9-6-15 (33 pts)
Previous meeting: Arsenal 2 @ Crystal Palace 1 (August 16, BPL)
v. West Bromwich Albion - Thursday, April 21 (BPL)
West Brom come to the Emirates on a Thursday accelerating things. With a trip north just three days later, selection will be crucial here. And with the news that Arsenal will be getting Jack Wilshere, Tomáš Rosický, Petr Čech, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain back in the coming days/weeks/games/measurements of time, Arsène Wenger will have some tough decision to make for the run-in.
Current position and record: 11th, 10-9-11 (39 pts)
Previous meeting: Arsenal 1 @ West Bromwich Albion 2 (November 21, BPL)
@ Sunderland - Sunday, April 24 (BPL)
Following the midweek clash with the Baggies, Arsenal have some serious travel upon them heading up to Sunderland on Sunday. Depending on how the table looks, this game could be the difference between relegation and staying up for Sunderland meaning they'll likely be as motivated as anyone for late April. Having lost just one of their last six games, there's reason to think this could pose a legitimate challenge.
Current position and record: 18th, 6-8-16 (26 pts)
Previous meeting: Sunderland 1 @ Arsenal 3 (December 5, BPL)
Sunderland 1 @ Arsenal 3 (January 9, FA Cup)
v. Norwich - Saturday, April 30 (BPL)
Arsenal close up April against the Canaries with just Manchester City and season-ending Aston Villa the lone two opponents left in the season.
Like Sunderland, Norwich are relegation-threatened with the next three or four weeks needed before knowing if this game will be the determining contest for their 2016-17 fate.
For all their defensive woes this season, Norwich gave up just three goals in their last four games, their best defensive stretch of the season.
Current position and record: 17th, 7-7-17 (28 pts)
Previous meeting: Arsenal 1 @ Norwich 1 (November 29, BPL)
The run following Christmas has been...less than stellar.
Now out of all extraneous competitions, Arsenal are left with nothing but league games from here on out. Eight total contests remain. Six of them loom in April. Half are in the 16th-30th run. It's likely to be...what, uncomfortable? Squirmy? Asking?
Leicester are 11 points beyond Arsenal a game up. More disgustingly, another team are two wins ahead on a game beyond. To steal and upend one of the stupider, more hackneyed maxims, Arsenal aren't in control of their own destiny (ugh, it felt bad to type that). The fixture list isn't overwhelming from the quality of opponents, but that hasn't stopped Arsenal this season or in years recent.
No, Arsenal have already dug a hole. They may not be able to climb out. The best they can do is stop digging.
Uncomfortable, squirmy asking indeed.