Theo Walcott believes that playing on a Friday night could finally help Arsenal get off to a quick start in the Premier League.
This season, Arsenal and Leicester will have the dubious honour of opening the season on a Friday night. This will definitely be a novelty, as the Premier League season has traditionally opened on a Saturday with an early kick-off.
Theo Walcott believes it’s this novelty that will help Arsenal get off to a better start than they have in recent years. “Every season we tend to start the league not so well and I think a night game might be better for us,” he said, reports the Daily Star. “It’s a bit different, it’s new for us, the fans will be up for it obviously.”
Arsenal’s opening day record in recent seasons has been very poor. They have won just one opening day fixture since 2010, and have lost their last two, both at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal’s opening day results after 2009
- 15/8/10: Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal
- 13/8/11: Newcastle 0-0 Arsenal
- 18/8/12: Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland
- 17/8/13: Arsenal 1-3 Aston Villa
- 16/8/14: Arsenal 2-1 Crystal Palace
- 9/8/15: Arsenal 0-2 West Ham
- 14/8/16: Arsenal 3-4 Liverpool
A game under lights certainly has its own unique atmosphere and a more vocal Arsenal support could help the Gunners overcome what should be a tough Leicester side.
An opening day defeat is a sure-fire way to upset the supporters and turn cautious optimism into raging pessimism. More importantly, Arsenal need all the points they can get to finish above their rivals.
Last season’s opening day defeat to Liverpool ultimately proved to be the difference between the two teams when it came to the race for a top-four spot.