Morning all.

The festive fixtures have been confirmed by the Premier League and for Arsenal, it looks like this.


  • 26th – West Ham at home. 8pm (Amazon Prime)
  • 31st – Brighton away. 5.30 (Sky Sports)


  • 3rd – Newcastle Utd at home. 8pm (Sky Sports)
  • 14th – Totts away. 3pm
  • 21st – Man Utd at home. 3pm

I’m sure both the Totts and Man Utd fixture date/times will be changed for television.

Just one away game which requires travelling a distance which is to Brighton, and even that’s not a million miles away from north London. A 5-30pm kick off on New Years Eve isn’t the best time for fans to be travelling but at least they’ll be back in time to see in the New Year.

The Europa League knockout fixtures don’t start up until the middle of February but, if memory serves me right, there will be an FA Cup fixture in January and a League Cup fixture if we beat Brighton in a couple of weeks time. We also have two fixtures which need rescheduling because of postponement, Everton and Man City – both of which will take place at The Emirates.

Arsenal have six more fixtures and the aftermath of a winter World Cup to get through before the festive matches come along and there’s a lot of hard work to be done. A lot of points to be won. Ok, just nine as far as the league goes but every single one of them is precious.

Three points on Thursday would be perfect too although I’m sure we’d all be happy if we come away with one because that’s all we need and it’ll mean Mikel Arteta can rest all his first team players for the Zurich match if he wants to.

Arsenal are in a bit of a sticky patch. A fast start is followed by a bit of a drop in tempo and even after fresh legs are brought on from the bench, little changes. That’s an observation and not a criticism. I’m no football manager or master tactician but it’s not difficult to see that if an opposition team can ride out the first 30 odd minutes without conceding a goal, their chance will probably come. Unlike Leeds, Bodo/Glimt and PSV, Southampton took a chance and nicked a point they probably shouldn’t have had the chance to nick.

Saying that, it must be so frustrating, demoralising even, if as a player, you’re getting pushed, tugged over, having your shirt pulled, have an opposition player punch you in the back or perform a move better suited to wrestling all game and the officials do nothing about it. I’m not sure I’d be able stay controlled, focused, enthusiastic and energetic if I was on the end of such treatment in a game, regardless of how I much I was being paid.

I posted this clip from Twitter yesterday and here it is again.

How can any of what’s shown in the above video be deemed to be within the rules of football? Yes, Arsenal are lacking up front as far as goals go and are looking fatigued as a game goes on but if the officials do their job properly, the way the game played out on Sunday might have been very different to how it actually did.

Talking of strange decisions, Unai Emery has taken the job at Aston Villa following the sacking of Steven Gerrard. I admire him for returning to the league where he was once mocked by so many. It’ll be interesting to see how he does but if the Villa board back him in a way the Arsenal board allegedly didn’t, we’ll see how good/bad he really is. The media reckon he’s a great appointment, an ambitious one – oh they are a fickle bunch aren’t they? They chop and change their opinions more often than you or I have hot dinners. A bit like the officials in the Premier League really.

See you in the comments.