The Premier League fixtures for the 2017-18 season were released today.
Champions Chelsea will begin the defence of their title at home to Burnley on August 12.
Other standout fixtures include Jose Mourinho’s return to Stamford Bridge on November 4, Mourinho vs Pep Guardiola at Old Trafford on December 9 and the first north London derby of the season on November 18.
The release of the fixtures is always an exciting day in the football calendar. We’re still two months away from competitive action, of course, but it offers a reason for fans to get excited.
Arsenal’s fixture list makes for interesting reading. February will be a crucial month for the north London outfit - they face Everton, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City in the second month of 2018.
But Arsene Wenger will be confident if his side needs a strong finish. The Gunners host Burnley then travel to newly-promoted Huddersfield Town for the final two games of the season.
European matches will be included in Arsenal’s schedule but it won’t be Champions League games - it will be Europa League fixtures.
As if Arsenal fans needed reminding.
Grueling Europa League schedule
The Gunners missed out on the Champions League for the first time in Wenger’s reign after they finished fifth last season.
So defeats to Bayern Munich in the round-of-16 won’t be on the cards.
Playing in the Europa League ensures Arsenal’s schedule will be jam-packed. Man United played an additional 15 matches en route to winning the tournament last year, with Jose Mourinho ultimately sacrificing his team’s place in the Premier League standings to ensure his players were fit in the latter stages of the competition.
It’s about finding the right balance. It paid off for United, who will play in the Champions League despite finishing sixth, but it could have very easily gone wrong for the Red Devils.
The teams Arsenal will play after Europa League matches
Arsenal will find out their opponents in the group stage of the Europa League on August 25.
The dates for their group stages matches are September 14 and 29, October 10, November 2 and 23 and December 7.
This has led to some frustration from Arsenal supporters following the release of the Premier League fixtures.
Immediately following those six Europa League matches, their respective opponents are Chelsea (A), Brighton (H), Everton (A), Man City (A), Burnley (A) and Southampton (A).
That’s incredibly tough. Five away fixtures, and four of the six teams finished in the top eight.
Arsenal fans react on Twitter
Cue an angry response from Arsenal supporters on Twitter.
Can Arsenal win the Europa League? Let us know in the comments section below!
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