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The Season Starts Here – A Look at Arsenal’s September Fixtures

August has come and went, and the mood around Arsenal Football Club is eerily familiar. A poor start to the season, which included a loss at Stoke City (where luck really was not on the side of the Gunners) and a 4-0 drubbing at Anfield at the hands of Liverpool (where luck had nothing to do with it) have left Arsenal on 3 points after 3 games.Many pundits believe September to be the real “start” of the Premier League, with the transfer window closed, international matches played and the full team for the coming months assembled, as well as an idea of their standing following the first few games of the season.In Arsenal’s case, this standing desperately needs to be negated. While the Manchester clubs and Liverpool have all got off to promising starts, Arsenal have fallen behind already and really need to get their act together – and fast – to keep themselves in real contention for the Premier League.With the future of Alexis Sanchez clear (at least till January) and new signings Sead Kolasinac and Alexandre Lacazette being stand-out performers from the first round of fixtures, at least there is a sense that there are some decent players in the team – it’s just a matter of getting them to play well together.There are still some long-term injured players to return in the coming weeks, that will hopefully make a difference. Depth in midfield will be strengthened as Jack Wilshire and Santi Cazorla make their returns, giving Wenger a positive headache as to who to choose down the centre of Arsenal’s team.Looking ahead to a busy September, the club have three league games, a Europa League game and League Cup game to play over the course of the next three weeks.Arsenal’s next three fixtures are very important – Bournemouth, Cologne FC and Chelsea.Bournemouth at home is surely a must-win game for the Gunners. Collecting no points from their first 3 games and having lost every game they’ve played at the Emirates; the Cherries represent a chance for Arsenal to begin to make up for the disappointment of recent weeks. Having both lost and failed to score in their two most recent matches, Arsenal will want to amend both facts on Saturday the 9th of September in this 3PM kick-off.In midweek, Arsenal will get their first taste of Europa League football against German outfit Cologne FC. Wenger will likely blood a few youngsters in this fixture, meaning Arsenal fans will get a chance to see some players who have a good chance of taking the step up and featuring in the league. The Bundesliga season has started badly for Cologne, with an opening day loss away to Borussia Monchengladbach followed up with a home loss to Hamburg. The side came 5th in last season’s Bundesliga which earned them an EL place. With Cologne’s poor form, a home win for Arsenal is very much so within the realm of expectations of supporters, so hopefully there’s not more disappointment come Thursday night. Then, the following Sunday on September 17th Arsenal come up against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. This is a fixture that has been played quite a few times over the past number of months, with Chelsea coming out trumps last April in the League, then Arsenal beating their neighbours at Wembley in the FA Cup. Chelsea responded with a Pre-Season win in Beijing but then Arsenal once again came out on top in the Community Shield match on penalties at the beginning of August to herald the beginning of the new league season.The Blues suffered an opening day loss to Burnley, but have recovered well since then, registering wins against Spurs and Everton. Antonio Conte’s men will be optimistic of their chances of scalping Arsenal, so hopefully the mood around the club is buoyant following 2 wins before this match arrives.The rest of the month includes a Carabou Cup 3rd round clash against League One side Doncaster Rovers, where fringe players and youngsters will surely be given an opportunity to play, and a Premier League tie against Tony Pulis’s West Bromwich Albion at the Emirates, who have had a terrific first month in the League and a fantastic transfer window to boot.Bringing in a player of the calibre of midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak from PSG is a clear sign of intent from the Baggies, and they will be no push overs in this fixture as they aim to continue their excellent form.All-in-all, Arsenal’s September, on-paper, does not appear that bad. While there are five games in a three-week period, both cup games seem inherently winnable, although with Arsenal’s form thus far into the season, nothing is for certain.Out of Bournemouth, Chelsea and West Brom, a haul of seven points would be an excellent outcome, although perhaps five points or less is more realistic when considering the Liverpool performance. It’s a huge month for Alexis Sanchez, who, hopefully for both his and the team’s sake settles back into the groove of things quickly. He may miss the Bournemouth game potentially, but will surely see plenty of game time this month.Other players who are in need of a good month are full back Hector Bellerin, who was excellent at times last season but also needs to get started in earnest this year yet and was completely at fault for Liverpool’s 3rd goal and Aaron Ramsey, who left a lot to be desired against Liverpool and failed to track several defensive runs that lead to attacks at Anfield.Across the board, September is a huge month for the club, and hopefully some improvement from the errors of August will be seen from the Arsenal squad and its manager.