Arsenal’s Europa League group stage fixtures have been confirmed, revealing the best and worst of the upcoming schedule.
Though Arsenal’s Europa League draw was completed on Friday, Arsenal fans had to wait until Saturday to start making plans for a potential European away day, as UEFA struggled to organise all three of their competitions in a limited window.
We now have Arsenal’s confirmed fixtures, which are as follows:
- 8th September – FC Zurich vs Arsenal*
- 15th September – Arsenal vs PSV Eindhoven
- 6th October – Arsenal vs FK Bodo/Glimt
- 13th October – FK Bodo/Glimt vs Arsenal
- 27th October – PSV Eindhoven vs Arsenal
- 3rd November – Arsenal vs FC Zurich
*This game is reportedly set to be played in St. Gallen, not Zurich
Looking at the fixtures on either side of each of these games, it’s a mixed bag.
The opening fixture is an away game in Switzerland following Arsenal’s trip to Old Trafford the previous Sunday, so that’s going to be a difficult week.
But the second game against PSV at home is between a home game against Everton and an away game against Brentford, so the squad will hardly have to travel at all that week.
October begins with a home game against Spurs and a home game against Liverpool, so it’s good to see that the match between those two is another home game against FK Bodo/Glimt.
But the away game in Norway the next week comes a few days before an away game in Leeds, really adding to the difficulty of that Leeds trip.
The trip to PSV is sandwiched between an away game against Southampton and a home game against Nottingham Forest, so that one honestly could have been a lot worse.
Finally, Arsenal have a home game against FC Zurich days before their away match against Chelsea. That’s another positive, as Mikel Arteta’s side won’t have to travel before that major big-six clash.
If the Gunners can have the group in a good position by that stage, even better. If not, they’re going to be juggling going strong in that fixture against keeping players rested for Chelsea.
Overall, the trip to Norway is likely to cause the most problems, and Arsenal’s group opener away in Switzerland will probably be impacted by a potentially draining trip to Manchester the previous weekend.
But there aren’t too many causes for complaints. The hectic schedule was an inevitability, thanks to the winter World Cup.
In general, the competition organisers could have made things a lot worse.