Arsenal return to Premier League action this weekend as they host arch rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the North London Derby. They head into the game as league leaders, having won six of their opening seven games.
The Gunners’ 3-0 win over Brentford a little over a week ago demonstrated how dominant Arsenal have been in some of their performances this season. However, they now have some tough fixtures to overcome before the World Cup starts in November. Mikel Arteta will be hoping that they can maintain their position at the top for the next few weeks at least, but their closest rivals will be looking to overcome them if they can.
With that in mind, football.london have taken a look at Arsenal’s next five fixtures and compared them to Chelsea’s, Tottenham’s and Manchester City’s.
Tottenham (H) – October 1
Arsenal return from the international break with a north London derby at home to Tottenham. Just one point currently separates the teams, with Spurs one of just two teams yet to taste defeat in their first seven Premier League matches.
The Gunners won the fixture 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium last season, although a 3-0 defeat in the reverse game at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium ultimately proved costly in Arsenal missing out on a top four spot.
Liverpool (H) – October 9
Arteta’s side follow up the north London derby with another tough test against Liverpool. The Reds have endured a difficult start to the season with nine points accumulated from their first six matches. Aside from their 9-0 thrashing of AFC Bournemouth, Jurgen Klopp’s side are yet to hit top gear.
Arsenal have a dismal record against Liverpool of late, though, with the Champions League finalists running out 2-0 winners at the Emirates last term thanks to goals from Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino.
The Gunners’ first league away trip of October is to Yorkshire to face Leeds. Managed by the charismatic Jesse Marsch, the Whites started the season in sensational form – with a 3-0 win over Chelsea the highlight of their campaign so far – but they are winless in their last three games.
The victory over Chelsea proves that Leeds’ high-pressing, high-tempo style can be enough to beat any team on their day. The Gunners won 4-1 at Elland Road last season.
Southampton (A) – October 23
The Saints have had an indifferent start to the season with two wins, one draw and four losses from their opening seven games. Arsenal will be heavy favourites for the game, but they did lose at St Mary’s last season, with Jan Bednarek scoring the only goal of the match.
The Gunners loaned Ainsley Maitland-Niles to Southampton on deadline day and he will be ineligible for the game.
Nottingham Forest (H) – October 30
A home game against Nottingham Forest will mark the end of a hectic month for Arsenal, where they play nine games in all competitions. The newly-promoted side have struggled on their return to the Premier League with just one win from seven matches, and they’ve lost home matches against fellow promoted sides AFC Bournemouth and Fulham.
This will be the first Premier League meeting between Arsenal and Forest in 23 years, but the Gunners were beaten at the City Ground last season in the FA Cup third round while failing to register a shot on target.
Chelsea’s next five fixtures:
Crystal Palace (A) – October 1
Wolves (H) – October 8
Aston Villa (A) – October 16
Brentford (A) – October 19
Manchester United (H) – October 22
Tottenham’s next five fixtures:
Arsenal (A) – October 1
Brighton (A) – October 8
Everton (H) – October 15
Manchester United (A) – October 19
Newcastle United (H) – October 23
Manchester City’s next five fixtures:
Manchester United (H) – October 2
Southampton (A) – October 8
Liverpool (A) – October 16
Brighton (H) – October 22
Leicester City (A) – October 29