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Arsenal's 7-year itch to end their barren trophy run will see them needing to overcome two rather challenging months in September and January as was indicative in the Premier League fixture list that was released earlier today. The Gunners play the tricky trio of new league champions Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool in both sets of months, which could well have a massive bearing on the outcome of their 2012-13 season.
The Gunners start off against a decent Sunderland side at home on the opening day, 18th August. That is followed by a dangerous trip to the Britannia stadium to face Stoke, who are sure to put up a battle always. A tough September starts with Arsenal's visit to Anfield. The FA kept up the tradition of making sure the two teams meet up early in a season, having faced each other in the second fixture last year and on the opening day the year before. A relatively easy home fixture against newcomers Southampton is the only consolation as difficult back to back games follow, which starts with a trip to the Premier League Champions to be followed by London rival Chelsea's visit.
October provides some much needed-relief after a tough September with three relatively easier games in newcomers West Ham, and last year's promoted teams Norwich and QPR to follow. November starts with a trip to Old Trafford, where the memories of the 8-2 drubbing are sure to haunt them. The crunch game against the Red Devils is followed by two London derbies on home ground, the first against Fulham and the second against arch-rivals Tottenham. Two away games against Aston Villa and Everton in four days conclude the month of November.
An entertaining Swansea side visit to mark the start of December, followed by gritty West Brom. Their first away game of the month is at the Madejski to face the Championship winning side Reading, which would be followed by a trip to the DW Stadium. December ends with back-to-back home games. London rivals West Ham visit first, for the Boxing Day clash, to be followed by a high-flying Newcastle team which has played out some memorable matches against the Gunners in recent times. The New Year starts with an easy game at St. Mary's Stadium against the Saints. However, that is the only January fixture which shouldn't be that much of a battle. Arsenal will play host to Manchester City and Liverpool, on either side of a trip to rivals Chelsea. Three big games in a row could well break Arsenal's season as early as January.
The short month of February provides a much needed breather with only three league games scheduled. First is the visit of the Potters, which would be a battle and an Arsenal hangover from the previous three tough games could cost them. A visit to the Stadium of Light is next, the place where they were kicked out of the FA Cup last term. The Villans come to the Emirates to complete the month of February. A visit to North London rivals Tottenham for their second derby game is their first fixture of March, which would be followed by a visit of the tricky Toffees. The final two fixtures of the month would be a long trip to the Liberty Stadium and a match against Reading at the Emirates.
The penultimate month starts off with an away game against West Brom and a home fixture against Norwich. A London derby at the Craven Cottage is next, which could be followed by a huge match as the Red Devils come to the Emirates. The match could well end one team's chances of winning the Premier League and is sure to be a heated battle. The next two games are an away trip QPR and a home game against Wigan, both of which the Gunners should win. The season ends with a visit to the Sports Direct Arena to face a talented Newcastle side. It's setup to be a cracker off a finish.
Opening Day: Sunderland (h) 18-08-2012
Major Fixtures: Liverpool (a) 01-09-2012, Man City (a) 22-09-2012, Chelsea (h) 29-09-2012, Man Utd (a) 03-11-2012, Tottenham (h) 17-09-2012, Man City (h) 12-01-2013, Chelsea (a) 19-01-2013, Liverpool (h) 29-01-2013, Tottenham (a) 02-03-2013, Man Utd (h) 27-04-2013
Boxing Day: West Ham (h) 26-12-2012
New Year: Southampton (a) 01-01-2013
Ending Fixture: Newcastle (a) 19-05-2012
- 18/06/2012 23:39 - Chelsea begin campaign at Wigan Athletic, crowded fixture list a worry for the European Champions
- 18/06/2012 23:17 - New Liverpool regime begins at West Brom, intimidating start awaits the Reds
- 18/06/2012 23:01 - Man City begin title defence at home to Southampton, daunting winter in store for the Champions