You know how you always get in the build up to Christmas, thinking about all the exciting things you might, but probably wont, be getting? Thinking about how you will have the greatest time of your life because everything will be so perfect? Then you actually get nothing that you wanted, only a load of toiletries and maybe some new socks, turning your day in to one of crushing disappointment? Well, that is exactly how I, and no doubt all other football fans, felt in the build up to 9:00 am yesterday morning.
The day the football fixtures for the new season are released is always a day that draws great interest among fans, a day that I consider to be the actual first day of the season. And boy, do I feel like Arsenal were screwed badly.
Starting off a season by making the long journey to Newcastle is bad enough, but following that, a home game against Liverpool and then an away trip to Manchester United? It feels like Santa came down the chimney and kicked me in the nuts.
I don't think we could have picked a more difficult start to our season if we tried judging by last seasons results in these fixtures:. Newcastle; the scene of an embarrassing fall from a 4-0 half time lead to a 4-4 draw with ten men. Liverpool; somehow throwing away a 1-0 lead earned in the 98th minute, to draw 1-1 after 99 minutes. and Manchester United; where we went down without a whimper 1-0 to the eventual champions.
If we were to take five points from these games I would be absolutely delighted, but I think taking two would be a lot more realistic. This could however leave us way of the pace already. Man City should have at least 7, Chelsea should have 9. Not ideal for the gunners.
The only saving grace about all this I guess is that we are getting the difficult fixtures out of the way early. Even before the end of October we will have already travelled to Stamford Bridge and White Hart Lane, so come the business end of the season we will have the big games at our place. I could of course be completely wrong and Arsenal could once again surprise us, taking maximum points form the 3 games with a massive goal difference, but only time will tell.
The one other stand out fixture for me is the home game against Chelsea, April 21st. The day I get married. Should the sky TV people want to leave it on this date and make it a 12:45 kick off, there is a very good chance that I wont be turning up to my own wedding. If I should make it, then what better present than to have the mighty gunners beating one of our biggest rivals? Fingers crossed.