Arsenal come off the transfer deadline frenzy and international break looking to right the ship in the month of September. August tested the club as a whole and the only positive thing to come out of the month was retaining their Champions League qualification.
The Gunners begin piecing their season back together tomorrow as they host Premier League new boys Swansea City at the Emirates. There's a ton of things that could go right or wrong this month for the Gunners.
The following list predicts six of the myriad possibilities.
The club's boss—Arsene Wenger—shall unveil his new signings this Saturday at the Emirates and he could not have asked for a better team to face. Swansea City FC travel down to North London to face the Gunners.
A club with minimal Premier League experience must face a hungry Arsenal team looking to get their first league win of the season. Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun display their talents and prove why Wenger wanted them to help fill in the multiple holes at midfield.
Mikel Arteta played 174 matches and scored 28 goals in England’s top flight during his time as an Everton employee. Benayoun recorded 92 appearances during his time at Liverpool and a handful of games during his time in London for Chelsea. The English experience helps the duo assimilate into the squad easier, not having to adjust to the style of play around the league.
Aaron Ramsey commented this week leading up to the Swansea fixture about the impact of the two new signees he’ll be playing alongside and what they bring to the squad.
“We have had a good think about things and it will be a fresh start now. We have brought in some quality players, Arteta and Benayoun are two creative midfielders who are really comfortable on the ball and they will be great additions to the squad.”
Both players no doubt want to give their new club a resounding performance on their debut. Swansea seems to be a favorable matchup to do exactly that.
The new-look Gunners travel to Germany for their first group stage match in the Champions League competition. Arsenal walks into a rabid environment at Signal Iduna Park, looking to take all three points with them back to London. The Dortmund fans will be jumping as if their feet were on fire as they welcome the Londoners to their hallowed ground.
Just three days after playing their first game since the transfer window closing, Arsenal look to impress during their trip to Germany. In particular, the red-hot form of striker Robin Van Persie strikes the iron again—three times—against the Bundesliga champions.
Arsenal’s captain may have been the most ecstatic member of the squad to see such creative talents like Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun come into the fold for the club. He has been on a torrid run over the past eight months or so, including putting four in the back of the net against San Marino during his time with Netherlands' national team this past week.
Van Persie’s new partnership with Arteta and Benayoun gets an early start in their first European experience together. Arteta certainly wants to impress in his return to Europe’s biggest stage and providing assists for the Gunners’ top striker certainly wouldn't hurt.
The Blackburn Rovers have given Arsenal fits over the past few years with their physical style of play. The possession-oriented attacking style of Arsenal has experienced difficulty breaking down the defensive structure of Blackburn in recent memory.
Last season’s trip to Edwood Park saw the Gunners take all three points in a crucial road victory. Theo Walcott and Andrey Arshavin put Arsenal over the top in the 2-1 triumph on that soggy match day.
This season, Arsenal travel to Blackburn hoping to bring home a victory like a season ago but should be content with a draw. Although they desperately need to make up ground on the top of the table, bringing home a point away from London could prove to be satisfactory for the Gunners, who have six fixtures in the month of September.
Arsenal, who only took away one point from their three EPL games in August, could match that grand total against Blackburn. Scoring two meaningless goals during the thrashing at Old Trafford were the only two times Arsenal got on the scoreboard in league play during August.
They’ll struggle mightily to put one in the back of the net against Blackburn who’ll try to rough them up in the process. If Arsenal can get their fluidity back, Blackburn’s going to counter by parking the bus in front of the net.
Points remain the name of the game for this fixture. Any points taken away should be looked at as a positive result.
Arsenal host Shrewsbury Town at the Emirates on September 20, as they unleash their younger talents upon the League Two side. Arsene Wenger came under incredible heat for his underwhelming signings early in the summer.
Players like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Carl Jenkinson and Ryo Miyaichi did not exactly quench supporters’ thirst for fresh blood and talent. Wenger later made adequate moves to help the squad with not only talent but experience as well.
However, the Carling Cup typically has been a place for Arsenal’s youth to shine and prove to the boss that they are ready for first-team action all the while showcasing their development. While all three of the previous named players are included in the first team, they do not crack the starting XI unless circumstances call for it.
Given Arsenal plays a League Two side in Shrewsbury Town, the three new boys can showcase their talents and provide a glimpse into what they could bring to the first team in the future. Ryo came off of a loan spell in the Dutch league with rave reviews.
His blazing speed and skill on the ball impressed Wenger enough to push him through to the first team and allowed him to travel on their Asian tour.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has been a target for Arsenal for some time now, drawing comparisons to Theo Walcott with his speed and Southampton beginnings.
Both youngsters should amaze in their Carling Cup debuts for the club, possibly even bagging a goal or two.
As I sit here and write this, the Bolton Wanderers sit at the bottom of the top half of the table with three points. Bolton travel to the Emirates to face an Arsenal squad trying to gel and bounce back with a strong month in September.
Arsenal host Bolton as the last Premier League fixture on the list for the month of September before they host Olympiakos four days later in the Champions League. Arsene Wenger certainly wants to take all three points and have his players primed for their Champions League group stage matchup.
If my predictions hold true—and they will because I’ve never, ever been wrong forecasting events in the future—Arsenal should walk away from September satisfied. Maybe they aren’t jumping for joy but coming away with seven points in September is, well, seven times better than their results from August.
Last September, the Gunners blew Bolton out of the water at the Emirates, posting a 4-1 victory a year ago Sunday. Bolton did pull out a 2-1 victory at home against Arsenal, but that took place during the table nosedive late into the season not so elegantly performed by the Gunners.
With a few games under their belt, Arsenal’s new starting XI (for the time being at least) basks in the chance to play in front of their supporters.
Arsenal hosts their third game in nine days at the Emirates in three different competitions. The club’s supporters filled to the gills—hopefully with redeemed faith in the club—file in for the last of the three home games in succession.
The new lads get to experience their first taste of Champions League football inside the Emirates. With a handful of games under their belt, the newcomers get to partake in a different type of atmosphere in North London.
The third of three games in three different competitions to be held at the Emirates in eight days concludes with the European affair. European games see players rise to a new level, stadiums become incensed with the quality of play, and the exposure far exceed most domestic games.
The two clubs share a split record with each other. Arsenal came away with a 2-0 victory at the Emirates and Olympiakos squeaked by with a narrow 1-0 triumph at Karaiskaki Stadium during the 2009-2010 competition. The Gunners want to open their Champions League campaign at home with a bang and fully intend on doing so.
Arsene Wenger and his men plan on sending the Greeks back to their financially troubled homeland with a high-octane display in front of the Emirates faithful. Arsenal should easily beat Olympiakos with at least a two- to three-goal differential.