If Arsenal were to pick the month that they dislike the most, then it must surely be the month of November. It’s just over two months into the new season and things are usually looking bright for the Gunners. Then as previous years have shown, a poor November and December has led to a drop for Arsenal in the league table, before we then make a late push for a possible comeback or Champions League place in the final few months of the campaign.
It has become all too familiar for Arsenal fans and every year we hope that we have been given a slightly ‘kinder’ winter period. However this year’s winter fixtures remain as challenging as ever, especially during the month of November. During November Arsenal are set to face Champions League opponents Ludogorets and Paris St Germain. In the Premier League, the Gunners have Spurs, United and Bournemouth, as well as Southampton in the quarter finals of the EFL Cup. Stand out ties are of course against Spurs, United and PSG, but the matches against the other opponents, including the EFL Cup match against Southampton will not be by any means easy. The Gunners face both Ludogorets and Spurs this week. Then in the space of 11 days, Arsenal have to face United, PSG, Bournemouth and Southampton, which will be even more testing for the Gunners.
Wenger will have to get his rotation down to a tee so that the team isn’t weakened in any way, but that the side is also fresh and fit for each game. This year Arsenal’s squad depth is far greater than in past campaigns, but it shall still be possibly the most challenging month for Arsenal this season, at least so far. Wenger recognises the important of this month and Le Prof knows that if Arsenal decline during the winter, then we will again be on the backfoot for silverware. Wenger said: “We now have difficult games coming up, with a difficult November, so by the end of November we will know more about ourselves. The desire is there and the mentality is great, though. There is great togetherness, we have quality as well, so they are good ingredients but we have to show that we can do it week in and week out.”
Arsenal may not have been able to come away with the right results during previous November months, but I am feeling pretty positive about the Gunners this time around. Arsenal are showing confidence and based on current form, we should be able to grab a good number of points against Spurs and United. Spurs remain unbeaten, but the Gunners are at home, whilst United are currently going through a struggling spell of form. Ludogorets should be easy on paper, but it’s a long trip to Bulgaria and Arsenal cannot underestimate them. A home match against PSG will be a cracking tie that could go either way, whilst you’d expect the Gunners to push through against both Bournemouth and Southampton.
Form will not be the biggest issue for the Gunners during November, it will be the team’s rotation and fitness. Let’s hope Arsene Wenger works it out because we’ve got ourselves in a very strong position in all three competitions so far this season.