Six matches, six wins.
A fine September albeit facing a relatively low level of difficulty. Perhaps interestingly enough, that’s what Arsenal is facing in October. While the quality wasn’t superb, the results were perfect. I’d take as much this month, though the travel schedule will be quite different.
While Arsenal hosted their last four games in September at the Emirates, as of right now they have just two home games in October.
@ FK Qarabağ - Thursday, October 4 (EL)
Current group position and points: 4th, 0
Previous meeting: N/A
Current form in all competitions: W-W-W-L-W
Qarabağ? Carabao! Carabao? Qarabağ!
Between Vorskla and now Qarabağ, this group is going deeper than I was prepared for.
(Looks at the next Europa League game.)
(Sees Sporting from the Primeira Liga, a team I actually recognize)
BOO! WE WANT ÖSTERSUNDS!
Qarabağ are the reigning Azerbaijani Premier League champions who were knocked out of the Champions League by BATE Borisov in late July. Thanks, Wikipedia!
@ Fulham - Sunday, October 7 (PL)
Current position and record: 17th, 1-2-4 (5 pts)
Previous meeting: Arsenal 2, Fulham 0 (January 18, 2014)
Current form in all competitions: L-W-D-L-D
Another comfortable fixture, Arsenal travel just 10 miles after the 2,469-mile trip to Azerbaijan midweek. And for a newly promoted side, they haven’t been all bad with Aleksandar Mitrovic putting in work up front. The problem has been the defense which has let in 16 goals tied for worst in the league.
v. Leicester City - Monday, October 22 (PL)
Current position and record: 7th, 4-0-3 (12 pts)
Previous meeting: Arsenal 1, Leicester 3 (May 9, 2018)
Current form in all competitions: W-W-W-L-L
Interesting one, this.
Leicester have looked solid as of late and have Everton at home prior to the break. If they can get all three there, they could come to the Emirates pumped. The surprise here has been James Maddison. He’s been very sharp this season.
@ Sporting CP - Thursday, October 25 (EL)
Current group position and points: 2nd, 3
Previous meeting: N/A
Current form in all competitions: W-L-W-W-W
Three weeks after heading to Baku, Azerbaijan, it’s off to Lisbon, Portugal, to take on Sporting who finished third in the Portuguese league last season and currently sit fourth.
They’ve got some talent. Nani is still grinding at 31-years old. Bas Dost is an interesting option, though he’s missed much of this season due to a thigh injury. And young Bruno Fernandes is really impressive.
Of course, part of the story here has to be an incident in May when 50 or so supporters stormed the practice grounds and attacked Sporting’s players and coaches after failing to make the Champions League. A wild and sickening incident, it has to be at the back of their campaign this year.
@ Crystal Palace - Sunday, October 28 (PL)
Current position and record: 13th, 2-1-3 (7 pts)
Previous meeting: Arsenal 4, Crystal Palace 1 (January 20, 2018)
Current form in all competitions: W-D-W-L-W
Roy Hodgson! Oh my dear friend. Never leave us.
What’s interesting here is that Arsenal might well have crept into the Champions League places by this point with less than a week to a match against Liverpool looming the next Saturday at the Emirates. Obviously, the need to not look ahead is a constant among top sides. I could obviously make the same point for Liverpool in their match against Cardiff City the day before Arsenal heads to Selhurst Park. Still, this is one Arsenal really need to make the most of to carry momentum into things the week after.
It’s another inviting month of opportunity for Arsenal. And aside from the Liverpool tie, November isn’t any more daunting. Come December, though, things ramp up.
And that’s really the construct here. Arsenal need to make the most of October as they did in September if only because the battles ahead threaten significantly.
Last year, a loss in August to Stoke and the famed October “cojones” loss to Watford coupled with three losses to top sides to lead into a madly disappointing December that predated the nightmarish early 2018 results.
Since the early pair this year, Arsenal have been perfect.
Should October follow suit, it’ll be full steam ahead into the fixture congestion of December and what will be a very exciting winter.