Arsenal played on Friday. They don’t play again until Sunday. This particular gap is due to the vagaries of the Premier League schedule, but we’re going to have a bunch of breaks like that this season because Arsenal aren’t in Europe for the first time in more than 25 years.
No midweek palate-cleansing matches to wash away the foul taste of a bad result at the weekend (I’m on the record that losing to Brentford away probably wasn’t the bad result everyone thinks it is given the circumstances facing the Gunners, but still). No comparatively easier win against a clearly less-talented team from a less prestigious league. Only one chance a week to watch our favorite club in action.
It stinks. It’s going to stink even more if the season goes the way that some of the more dramatic prognosticators are suggesting. As a fan, I like watching Arsenal, and I particularly like watching Arsenal win. There is going to be considerably less of that this season.
From the team perspective, it’s a bit more of a mixed bag. The players get more rest, and there will be fewer injuries this season as a result. They can focus more on the critical Premier League matches and spend more time in preparing in training.
But they also don’t get the psychological benefits of winning matches and scoring goals. A brace against Random Europa F.C. goes a long way towards helping break a scoring slump. A match against Who Are They United is the perfect chance for some of the Gunners younger players to get a run out.
It’s weird. It’s going to take some getting used to. And only time will tell if it ends up being a good thing or a bad thing for the club.