Arsenal’s tough end to the 2020/21 campaign looks like it could continue into the opening stages of the 2021/22 season after being handed a particularly tricky start as next season’s Premier League fixtures are unveiled.
The Gunners will travel to newly-promoted Brentford for the opening day on August 14, with the Bees needing very little motivation as they look to secure a famous victory in their first ever Premier League game.
That trip across the capital is followed by another all-London affair when Arsenal welcome Chelsea to the Emirates on August 21, Thomas Tuchel’s Blues will undoubtedly still be riding high after their Champions League glory in June.
Mikel Arteta then makes the daunting trip to face former mentor Pep Guardiola as Arsenal look to record a rare win at the Etihad against Manchester City.
It has been an unhappy hunting ground for the Gunners in recent years, recording 3-0 and 1-0 defeats in their last two respective visits.
The hugely difficult start to proceedings did not go down well with Gunners fans on social media, many of them bemoaning their luck and revealing their lack of hope that Arsenal will come out of the run of games unscathed.
One particularly bleak member of the North London outfit’s fanbase wrote: “The countdown to weekly heartbreaks begin. Here we go.”
Though Arsenal actually did the double over Chelsea last season, recording a 3-1 win at home before a shock 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge, Tuchel is likely to invest heavily, ensuring the Blues arrive at the Emirates heavily strengthened.
One fan claimed that manager Arteta will not survive the tricky start to the campaign, tweeting: “Arteta gone by 4th game lol.”
His sentiments were echoed by an equally unhopeful Gunners supporter, who made his feelings clear when he tweeted: “So Arteta is gonna sell [William] Saliba this summer, and get sacked by October. That should be fun.”
Much of the Arsenal fanbase will have immediately looked to see when the first North London Derby is, Arteta’s men meeting fierce rivals Tottenham for the first time next season on September 25 at the Emirates.
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Arteta’s first full season at the Gunners helm ended in disappointing fashion last time around, with a second successive eighth-placed finish.
The 2021/22 season marks the first time in 25 years Arsenal will not have any European football to juggle alongside league commitments, which could turn out to be a positive.
With that being said, that was not the overriding feeling of much of the fanbase in the wake of the fixture list’s unveiling.
One Gunners fan wrote: “You can trust me when i say Arsenal will have 0 points after matchday 3”
Arsenal can’t afford another season outside of European competition, failing to reach the Champions League since 2016/17.
Arteta knows the size of the task at hand and is expected to make at least one marquee signing in a bid to bolster his side’s chances of a top-four finish.
Arsenal’s fixture list in full
14/08/2021 15:00 Brentford v Arsenal
21/08/2021 15:00 Arsenal v Chelsea
28/08/2021 15:00 Manchester City v Arsenal
11/09/2021 15:00 Arsenal v Norwich City
18/09/2021 15:00 Burnley v Arsenal
25/09/2021 15:00 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur
02/10/2021 15:00 Brighton v Arsenal
16/10/2021 15:00 Arsenal v Crystal Palace
23/10/2021 15:00 Arsenal v Aston Villa
30/10/2021 15:00 Leicester City v Arsenal
06/11/2021 15:00 Arsenal v Watford
20/11/2021 15:00 Liverpool v Arsenal
27/11/2021 15:00 Arsenal v Newcastle United
30/11/2021 20:00 Manchester United v Arsenal
04/12/2021 15:00 Everton v Arsenal
11/12/2021 15:00 Arsenal v Southampton
14/12/2021 19:45 Arsenal v West Ham United
18/12/2021 15:00 Leeds United v Arsenal
26/12/2021 15:00 Norwich City v Arsenal
28/12/2021 15:00 Arsenal v Wolverhampton
01/01/2022 15:00 Arsenal v Manchester City
15/01/2022 15:00 Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal
22/01/2022 15:00 Arsenal v Burnley
08/02/2022 19:45 Wolverhampton v Arsenal
12/02/2022 15:00 Chelsea v Arsenal
19/02/2022 15:00 Arsenal v Brentford
26/02/2022 15:00 Arsenal v Liverpool
05/03/2022 15:00 Watford v Arsenal
12/03/2022 15:00 Arsenal v Leicester City
19/03/2022 15:00 Aston Villa v Arsenal
02/04/2022 15:00 Crystal Palace v Arsenal
09/04/2022 15:00 Arsenal v Brighton
16/04/2022 15:00 Southampton v Arsenal
23/04/2022 15:00 Arsenal v Manchester United
30/04/2022 15:00 West Ham United v Arsenal
07/05/2022 15:00 Arsenal v Leeds United
15/05/2022 15:00 Newcastle United v Arsenal
22/05/2022 16:00 Arsenal v Everton
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