Gruelling Xmas schedule starts against Man United – Do we have the squad for Arteta to rotate?

So it’s that time of the year again, and just for a change Arsenal are up in the Top 5 and looking to negotiate the gruelling fixture list and remain in contention for the European places.

We are not in such a bad place, and with only one defeat in our last seven games, there is cause for optimism amongst the Gooner faithful.

But, as Arteta said yesterday: “We go game by game. After the defeat at Anfield, obviously you see things in a different perspective maybe, but we’ve been on a good run and we have to carry on going and let’s see where it takes us, but now let’s analyse this game and start to prepare the game against Man United as quick as possible because we don’t have many days.”

Man United away is never an easy game for us, and with our opponents in turmoil we have to believe we can hold our own this time around, so who else have we got in our 8 game fixture run in December?

After United, we have to go to Merseyside to play against Everton, who are proving to be beatable after their fast start.

The next six games will really show where we are heading, as we start with Southampton at home, and then high-flying West Ham come to the Emirates, who at the moment are our biggest rival for the 4th spot.

Leeds away is definitely winnable, and then we have the League Cup game at home to Sunderland which will give our stars a rest.

On Boxing Day we are away at lowly Norwich, and we end up just two days later with a home game against Wolves.

There is no doubt Arteta will have to make full use of the depth in his squad, and although we are pretty sure who his First XI are made up of, do we have enough quality in our backups to weather the storm of 8 games in 27 days?

Tags Xmas schedule


  1. The players should be mad to get as many games in as we’ve had no Euro games and should be well rested.
    lf were not then something is wrong with the training we do.
    It will mean that some will cramp up and need rest as they have gotten used to 1 game a wek but over all we should have less problems than the teams in European cups.

  2. Yes we do but he doesn’t rotate well enough in my opinion along with making subs too late in most games effectively giving most starters very little rest even once the game is already won.

    Saka’s injury is no doubt a result of this.

    FYI Everyone has had/has a gruelling schedule, we’ve had the least games to play out of the clubs aspiring for top 6 so no excuses.

    1. While I normally like to see more rotation, I don’t really get this narrative that Saka’s injury is due to him being overplayed. One game a week for a 21 year old is not overplaying in my book.

      With no Eoropean games, rotation was always going to be less until the fixtures pile up.

      Now if Arteta starts him Thursday and again on Monday then I’ll agree.

      1. If available then he should start on Thursday against Man Utd and Should be rested against Everton on Monday

      2. I don’t think the body counts how many games a week are being played and then decides if it’s being overplayed. Reality is that Saka had a massively heavy season last year and didn’t get much time off and continued on duty for club and country this season.

        We have a squad for rotation and a good player in Martinelli that can contribute to the team. Point being he could’ve been rested a bit more in games we were comfortably winning.

  3. At least, everyone can get their chance, either, Pepe, Martinelli,AMN,laccazet , even Holding, hopefully there wouldn’t be much injury to the key 11, so as not to distort the way we play, rb would be crucial, hopefully Tomi stay fit, I doubt any one at the club can give us a proper cover

    1. Options of playing slowly or with 10 men?

      No coincidence that we’ve looked much better without him and the results show.

      1. Xhaka is a very important player, even in his absence none of our cm has done exceptionally.
        I stand to be corrected but I’ll like to see Partey stats since Xhaka injury to be convinced otherwise.
        Our midfield has been ordinary so far, nothing special

          1. What results ?
            You wouldn’t say Xhaka is the reason we lost 3gmes at the start of the season would you?
            We finished 8th last season, Partey was part of the team isn’t it?
            How many games have we won because our midfield specialist was there?.
            Partey and Xhaka are almost on same level IMO, since arrival he hasn’t been exceptional and we are week in the middle, it would be folkish to think we are better without Xhaka, either as squad or main player, Xhaka is important until we can get a better cm

            1. We finished 8th last season… With Xhaka.

              Do you remember the last time we were not sliding down the table? The season before Xhaka came.

              This season is just another beautiful illustration of how removing certain weak links (who were starters no matter what) results in us moving back up the table.

              1. So Xhaka is the only reason we have been on the downward, not Mustaffi or socratis . With that reasoning, we can say arsenal should have sold Xhaka and let Mustaffi and the rest of them stay, since Xhaka is the reason we perform badly

                1. Nice straw man. Where do I say he’s the only reason? I don’t. He’s a big part of the reason because he’s always been a starter even though he’s only squad level quality.

              2. We’ve finished 8th with Xhaka, we’ve been out of UCL since xhaka, we’ve been through several different managers with xhaka. and ppl are still saying he’s essential. arsenal midfields used to always be high quality, even when we weren’t amazing. it has been awful for years now, and xhaka is one of the buys that started our trend downwards. i just find it amazing people stand by him so much. he is part of the downturn in quality within our squad.

            2. Honestly the team dont miss xhaka. with xhaka missing it shows that this team can function without him in the 11. we need another cm, but xhaka is not the answer.

        1. Totally agree with you. People judge Xhaka to easily. Tierney doesn’t play good football for AFC without Xhaka, hence he is on the bench. He might not have the pace but he stabilizes the team and also he is a good passer of the ball. He has unfortunately had to play against Ceballos, Guendozi, injury prone pair in Ramsey and Wilshere and as if not enough, Elneny.

      1. Yes we have a big squad but what’s the point if we don’t rotate well. MA doesn’t rotate well. Really worried about the United match

        1. I can’t believe you just said this?, why were most people slating MA in the past? ‘He rotate too much’ they say

  4. The earlier our subs come on n gel with the team the better.. Arteta should be aware of this by now bcoz he’s not going to play the whole season with ESR N SAKA

  5. Baring too many injuries in certain places we have a good enough squad. If Auba finds his touch then we are even better.

    I think we will end with 74 points. Over last seven years the average for top four is a little over 70 with lows of 66 and highs of 76.

    If 74 doesn’t get us to CL it will get us to EL which is a big improvement.

    This time last year I would never have even dreamed of typing this so that says a lot. We are still a long way from the Big Three and MU does worry me with new management (they are beating Chelsea as I type).

    So how many points do you think they will end with?

      1. I would say 19 points, we will have to beat everton and not to lose toan united and if we get a result against man city that is even better

  6. The answer to the question in the title is yes and he must rotate, not necessarily completely but to suit the situation.

  7. Yes. We have a big squad to rotate
    and im sure MA will rotate but he doesn’t rotate well enough

    I hope he’ll rotate wisely for United


    We will rotate as MA thinks necessary, bearing in mind unforseeable circumstances and I for one , being a supporter of our club AND its manager , am content to leave this in his hands.

    I realise many on here think they know better than MA, but I DO NOT!

  9. The African nations cup starts on Jan 9 and runs to Feb 6.
    These are the games we have in this time period
    Man city (h) 1st Jan
    Spurs (a) 15th
    Burnley (h) 22nd
    Wolves (a) Feb 8
    Chelsea (a) 12th.

    Going by this we would not have TP5 and Elneny available for all those games except the city game. So I guess the xhaka injury/recovery might just be a blessing in disguise .

    1. I think we will be short our players form Jan 1 till mid Feb., they do have to train with their nat teams and travel back to Eng and recover.

  10. Arsenal’s midfield is weak, but that has more to do with the inertia of Edu and Arteta in keeping Elneny and Xhaka at the club while also hedging on the ineffective Odegaard. Now you are stuck with these three useless unproductive players who weaken the managers options and give nothing in return. Arsenal definitely need better than Xhaka. To those in charge do your job. Look around and spend the necessary funds. You are not going to find an inspiring midfielder on the cheap. Also agree with Mr Foxs’ reminder that every club is in the same predicament. Look at United. They played Champions League and will have to rush into Thursdays game against us. Please, no excuses. It’s all about character and is what makes English football so unique.

  11. there are some positions I worry about. If Saka is gone all xmas period, it’s Martinelli/ESR/Pepe. I think that is a drop in quality. I dont think Pepe can be relied on anymore and I think Martinelli finally getting to play over Pepe, means that Mikel doesn’t see him as a player that will be here much longer. CF, also worrying. Auba just doesnt have it anymore it seems. He needs to find his goalscoring instinct again and fast. midfield i feel decent with the coverage actually. Sambi/Partey/AMN are all quality players. maybe not high quality with amn and sambi, but they HAVE held their own against the midtable teams we are expected to beat. things are gonna get tough this month and we’ll need different players stepping up every game.

  12. I worry about the way most Arsenal fans are better coaches on social media….y’all should go get your coaching badges so that you can practise what y’all slate MA for…..some weeks ago, we criticized him for rotating too much and that we ddnt know our starting 11,now we know and the new criticism is him not rotating the squad and now we blame Xhaka,and Edu and Arteta, haven’t we learnt anything yet in all these while? MA is working with what he has, even if he had gone for Bissouma earlier and let Xhaka go, we would still be in worse position when the Nations cup begin……let’s shut up and support the team and stop blaming….

  13. Weeble! I just think we should have bought better than Odegaard last summer. Our attack is too slow and is missing a midfielder with dynamic spark. Partey should be doing more but for someone who was touted as a whiz kid at 17, Odegaard is not quite cutting it. Either that or our manager has got it all wrong in the way he sets up the attack.

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