17
Jun
09

2009/2010 Fixtures List; the good, the bad, and the best travel times for us foreigners

fixtures-list

Well, finally some news that isn’t an Arsenal player denying that they are leaving for Real Madrid. Today’s breaking news story is that the FA has released the 2009/2010 fixtures list. You lucky devils are getting this hot off the presses and chock full of analysis. When is the best time to go see a match? I got that covered.  What’s the make or break part of the season (besides the transfer period!)? I got that covered. In fact, I have the whole thing covered, in my typical “Good, Bad, and Ugly” style. So, without further ado, here’s the Arsenal fixtures list for 2009/2010.

The Good

There’s always a ton of controversy when it comes to the fixtures list and this season is no different. That said, I’m going to ease you into that controversy with the good news, because there is some!

The good news this year is that the end of season run-in is possibly the easiest I have seen as an Arsenal supporter. Starting February 20th, and excluding all of the cup matches, Arsenal finish the season with Sunderland (H), Stoke (A), Burnley (H), Hull (A), West Ham (H), Birmingham (A), Wolves (H), Tottenham (A), Wigan (A), City (H), Blackburn (A), and Fulham (H). That’s 12 matches in a row against teams that a title contender needs to go into thinking they should win. I’m NOT saying these are automatic wins; Fulham, Stoke, Birmingham, Tottenham, and City are all teams that are very dangerous and have either beat this team recently or given us a lot of heartburn. I also don’t expect Burnley, Wigan or Hull to just roll over and let us tickle their tummies.  But you have to play these guys some time and if there was ever a time to play them it would be all in a row, at the end of the season.  Let’s put it this way, I’d rather play those guys at the end of the season than have 7 fixtures in a row against top four clubs to finish our season off.

The Bad

So, the bad news is that just one month before the good run, Arsenal have a terrible run that they will have to make it through. Every season so far has been this way and it’s just a fact of football life that you will have a period in the season that will test your team. Including all scheduled cup matches, starting on January 20th Arsenal have a Carling Cup semi-final (second leg), followed by an FA Cup 4th round, then Villa (A), Man U (H), Chelsea (A), Liverpool (H), an FA Cup 5th round, and then the 1st leg of the Champions League knock out round.

If any part of the season will see Arsenal out of all competitions it will be the month of January 20th to February 20th, which I will either refer to as “Doomsmonth” or “HOLYCRAPWEHAVEAREALCHANCEATATROPHYmonth”.

The other bad news is that right there at the start of the season we already have scheduling conflicts. Arsenal are scheduled to play Bolton at home on the 18th of August while at the same time scheduled to play the Champions League “Play Off” first round. I assume that the Champions League fixture would take precedent and the Bolton match would be rescheduled for the end of the season which isn’t really such a bad thing but still, it means that Arsenal, with all our cup fixtures are going to have to play a metric shirtload of football, right off the bat.

Wenger needs to get this team ready right from the start. Which just exacerbates any injuries suffered in bullshark, retread, fark, conch, competitions like the Confederations Cup.

The good news about that Champions League play off is that they are seeding the competition and Arsenal are the number one seed. The number one seed will be paired with the number ten seed (decided by a pre-pre-qualifier) and that means that Arsenal will be playing against someone like Anderlecht (or lower) rather than all the doom and gloom scenarios that were touted by the press last year.

Best Times to Travel

I consider the following factors in making this recommendation: availability of tickets, availability of extra games, potential scheduling conflicts, and cost to travel. Thus, I almost always recommend seeing a newly promoted team, on a Saturday, where Arsenal could play in the Champions League on a Tuesday, where there aren’t any other competitions scheduled, and during the off season (November to April). Given all those factors, I am recommending us foreigners travel to see Arsenal on one of the following days (in no order):

October 17th against Birmingham followed by a Champions League Matchday 3 on either the 20th or 21st (which would be the best birthday week ever).

December 5th against Stoke followed by Champions League Matchday 6 on the 8th or 9th.

April 3rd against Wolverhampton Wanderers followed by the Champions League Quarter Final on Tuesday the 6th.

March 6th against Burnley, which is also followed on a Tuesday by a Champions League match, however, the Burnley match is currently double booked for an FA Cup Quarter Final match and so that could be a problem. In fact, both of those matches could end up being away matches, in which case you are proper fucked.

Thos are my best bets for you all to get over and see two matches. Remember that Champions League matches are drawn so there’s no guarantee of a home match, but usually you know that plenty in advance and can adjust your travel plans accordingly. I’d say you could jump a cheap flight and see the match in a foreign land but there’s no way in hell you’re getting away tickets to a Champions League game.

Ok, well that’s my run down of the 2009/2010 fixtures list. What do you think are the hot times to go see a match? When do you see trouble in the season? Let us know in the comments below.

P.S.

Don’t forget to get in on the very first 7amkickoff contest, being hosted by www.philosophyfootball.com. Only 13 more days!


19 Responses to “2009/2010 Fixtures List; the good, the bad, and the best travel times for us foreigners”


  1. 1 Matt
    June 17, 2009 at 9:00 am

    August 15th, start the clock.

  2. 2 WC
    June 17, 2009 at 9:30 am

    I actually don’t mind having a tough run of games early simply because in the first 2 months of the league, everyone seems to be craptastic to some extent since they’re still working off the summer relaxation. The likes of Liverpool and Mancs especially are pretty poor first half of the season teams and if we can get those games out of the way early then we can focus on grabbing points from everyone else below us. What I really hate though is that more of our games against the other top four are at home, when I’d much prefer to play them away when they aren’t in form yet and then take them on at home in the second half of the season when we’ve had our squad playing for months and aren’t shaking off the summer rust.

    Tim, you also forgot to mention our continual link to Felipe Melo for some 10M and possibly Senderos.

    • 3 CaribKid
      June 17, 2009 at 9:47 am

      Like you WC,

      I prefer us to be tested early in the season for 2 reasons:

      1) Most teams are not yet up to full form ans so it becomes a tossup, especially against the top echelon.
      2) It defines your team early and shows what needs to be done with the squad to move forward positively.

      The flip side of this however, is that teams which make the fewest changes are always most dangerous at the start and so it will be interesting to see which teams go for wholesale changes and which just do some tweaking.

      In the long run though, the best team normally wins over the course of the season and we all play the same amount of games against the same opposition.

  3. 4 Matt
    June 17, 2009 at 10:19 am

    Programming note: the worm turns at two o’clock central time today on FSC. (They are re-running Stoke-Villa, the famous draw, one of my top-ten moments of last season).

  4. 5 Mia
    June 17, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    The best thing about the fixture list is that we don’t play a big team April when – hopefully – we’ve got the CL quarters and semis to focus on. None of the nightmare of having to play Liverpool, United or Chelsea three times in a week, which always, in my memory, screws us in Europe and leaves the players despondent. I’m also glad about the relatively difficult start; it forces us to get our act together from the outset.

    CaribKid, you’re wrong about Gibbs: he has played in midfield at under-21 level, including a fortnight ago in a friendly when he scored two goals – one from the left, one from the right. That’s not to say he’s ready, however – I agree with you there – but he’s a worker and could therefore be a better bet than Denilson or Diaby if he was given the chance to make the position his own. But let’s hope it’s all academic and we’ll buy someone Cesc likes.

  5. 6 Tim
    June 17, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Denilson works plenty hard, his only problem(s) are that he’s a tad slow and he’s not terribly good in the air.

    On the other hand, Song also works hard and his only problem(s) are that he’s a tad slow and not terribly good with the ball.

    But then neither is Alonso, who Cesc thinks is better. So, what we need is a guy who is good with the ball, good with the head, and has a little pace.

    Wesley Snejider?

    Felipe Melo?

    Only Arsene and Tony Adams know…

    • 7 CaribKid
      June 17, 2009 at 12:36 pm

      Snejider is too offense minded, more like a Fab, and also plays on the wing. Hell of a shot though and is very combative.

    • 9 CaribKid
      June 17, 2009 at 9:33 pm

      You know we are odds about Denilson, Tim and it’s very surprising how divided Arsenal fans are about him. There seems to be no middle ground with Denilson, you either love him or hate him (as a player).

      My take on Denilson is
      1) Slow as molasses
      2) Totally inept in the air (name me one good DM who could not compete aerially?)
      3) Limited passing skills and limited vision

      He is not even 4th string for Brazil at that position and his competition includes Melo and Silva (who are not the greatest) and his coach, Dunga, is a former DM.

      Personally, I like Denilson. No complaints, just does the best he can without fuss and bother. Really nice guy, but he brings nothing special to the table. To make matters even worse, he is totally unsuitable for Arsenal because we have a small back 4 who are not particularly commanding in the air, and a GK, Almunia, who doesn’t command his penalty box. Put that all together and you have a recipe for disaster in the EPL.

  6. June 17, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Oh and Diaby is so far down on my list of viable central midfielders it’s not even funny.

    I’d put King Ramsey I in there before Diaby. Diaby will make a decent striker at Pompey next year but he’s no midfielder.

  7. 11 WC
    June 17, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    I’d take anyone but Denilson, Song or Diaby right now. Not that Denilson or Song are terrible but simply put they just aren’t ready right now and they really need someone to mentor them. Diaby is a foregone conclusion in terms of even qualifying for the bench – he may be a good player to provide cover but I hope to never see him in the starting 11 against any top half team next season. Even Felipe Melo is questionable in that he’s a good player, strong and quick but he’s a sort of late comer who is only now becoming prominent at 25. He has weaknesses which were exposed by Egypt in their 4-3 game against Brazil in the Confed Cup, so his inexperience shows since he has very little top level experience. However if anyone can develop him quickly it’s Arsene.

    I’m still going to bore everyone to death with Lorik Cana and/or Jeremy Toulalan.

  8. 13 nycgunner
    June 17, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    I like this fixture! Better to play the tougher games early – specially the likes of ManU and Pool as WC mentioned because those f***ers always go on a good run at the end of the season. Also, if we still in all competitions at the end of the season and Arsene is rotating the squad, that plays to our advantage as well. Hopefully I can catch a couple of games this year during a CL home game week – thanks for the tip Tim.

    I dont honestly see Wenger doing any more new signings in the central midfiled position. Good or bad, we already have a few players who can play there and for a new player to come in, someone has to make way. I would probably like to see Diaby go to make way for a new central midfielder but knowing how Wenger likes to stick to his young players, I’d be shocked to see this happen. Now we have Tony Adams and Bergkamp the Legend telling Arsene to buy more. With all due respect, I’d like for them to shut up because the more you try to tell Arsene to do something, the more stubborn he is going to be – that’s just how the man has been. This whole discussion on central midfield is too scaringly similar to last year. As soon as Flamini left, everyone started talking about who we should get to replace him. In then end we got nobody, because Wenger didn’t want to “destroy the young players”, an obvious reference to the likes of Diaby, Denilson and Song. This season he has said the Denilson in the “most under rated player in the league”, which tells me he feels Denilson is doing the job. So if he didn’t want to replace them last year, why would he do it now? Im keeping my hopes down as far as a new CM signing is concerned.

  9. 14 Mia
    June 17, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    You – well, CaribKid – were a bit dismissive when I mentioned a couple of days ago that Philippe Auclair thought we were going to move for the Bordeaux striker whose name I can’t spell – Chakah or some such(?). Not sure why. I mean, he’s one of the most respected writers in France, not some clueless site or English tabloid hack looking for something to fill the pages. He’s very close to Wenger and in my experience he doesn’t make these pronouncements lightly. Anyway, dismiss it again if you wish, but apparantly the deal is now close to completion – unless, of course, he demands impossible terms.

    I like Toulalan a lot but, no, can’t see it happening. Am I the only person who is amazed we tried – briefly – to sign the Nigerian keeper? A keeper? Nice though it would be to have a better one, it’s surely a low priority given our limited budget and pressing needs pretty much everywhere else – like a striker, defensive midfielder, central defender/right back and right-sided midfielder. Eboue wants to go if he gets a good offer from Sapin; I don’t see Rosicky playing 70 games next season (frankly I don’t see him playing seven); and as for Walcott poor Walcott, did anyone else watch him in the under-21s on Monday? He was subbed at halftime and rightly so: clueless and feeble even against a bunch of Finnish kids. He may yet make a striker – that seems to be what Wenger is hoping now – but I’m really afraid he has passed his peak! When he was young and played instinctively he was great but now he’s expected to use his brain, it’s emerged that he hasn’t actually got one. Can he go back to playing instinctively or has that youthful confidence gone for good?

    • 15 WC
      June 17, 2009 at 2:34 pm

      I think you’re being overly harsh on Walcott to be honest Mia. Arsenal has had one of the longest seasons of any team in the world barring perhaps Chelsea or Man Utd. Theo has had to play as much games as he could in both the league, cup and Europe for us so he’s already tired. Additionally, as Wenger has warned, he has to play for the senior and U-21 England team at the same time. I can’t blame him if he looks below par because he’s literally had no real rest. When he’s not playing, he’s injured so really how can they expect him to be at 100% for them if they continue to push him?

      As for Chamakh he’s confused everyone. He claimed that if Bordeaux win Ligue 1, which they did, he’d leave. However when they did win, he was saying that he’s not sure if he wants to go anywhere now and so talks have obviously stalled among all clubs for his services. He’s made no real intention to leave Bordeaux aside from some passing comment.

    • 16 CaribKid
      June 17, 2009 at 4:37 pm

      Can’t really remember being dismissive Mia. If I was, I apologize, wasn’t meaning to be.

  10. June 18, 2009 at 1:19 am

    Hey Tim,

    If you’re not adverse to traveling, I’d actually recommend going at a time when (if possible) when the Arsenal are playing away matches up north. Easy to get tickets at a Bolton or a Blackburn – as a bonus, the atmosphere is great as you get to sit amongst the away section and shout yourself hoarse. Problem is that you’re not visiting Emirates, but considering the baloney you have to go through to get a home ticket, might not be a problem.

  11. June 18, 2009 at 5:39 am

    In my opinion, if we’ll come out well in January plus the treble fixtures of Manure, chelski n Liverpool, it will boost the confidence to finish off the season esp against those last 12…but we must guard against complacency (if we find ourselves on track)

    Thank God the Africans in the team are not that very ‘important’ after all, cos they’ll be on international duty (ACN) in this same month of January.


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