If you managed to make it through the August-December look at the season’s fixtures, here is part two. Enjoy. (If that’s the right word to use.)
January has the potential to be a very busy month for the club, should the team to make it to the semi-finals of the Carling Cup and win the FA Cup third round tie they will have to play eight games in thirty days. The month starts with an away trip to Fulham on the 2nd. So, following the away trip to Villa on December 21st, the team will be playing in London until at least the FA Cup 3rd round tie on the weekend of the 7th & 8th. Should we make it to the Carling Cup semis, the first leg will be played on the 11th. The Premier League will then resume with an away trip to Swansea on the 14th ahead of the visit of ManU to the Emirates on the 21st. With the two cup games and Swansea trip coming before this game, it is a chance to rest some of the more senior players to ensure they are 100% for the ManU game. The Carling Cup semi-final second leg is schedule for the 25th with the FA Cup 4th round on the weekend of the 28th & 29th. The final game of the month sees us travel to Bolton on the 31st.
League prediction: WWDW (10pts)
February sees us take on Blackburn at home on the 4th. We then have a week to rest before travelling to Sunderland on the 11th. The 5th round of the FA Cup will take place on the weekend of the 18th & 19th. Spurs visit the Emirates on the 25th, though that game will be moved should the team reach the Carling Cup final, which is scheduled to be played on the 26th. Will the team be able to right the wrongs of last season and bring home the Carling Cup as its first piece of silverware? Time will tell. One thing seems certain, if they do reach the final their opponent is unlikely to be as favourable as Birmingham should have been last season, which may be no bad thing as it would help avoid complacency.
League prediction: WDW (7pts)
This is when the men really start to be separated from the boys and the run-in begins in earnest. The team faces a trip to Anfield on the 3rd followed by the visit of Newcastle to the Emirates on the 10th. There are no easy games at this point of the season and the team will be hoping to be in good form and injury free as each game becomes more crucial than the last. An away trip to Everton is scheduled for the 17th but this is subject to change should either team reach the quarter finals of the FA Cup. There is then a week of rest ahead of a home game against Aston Villa on the 24th and an away game against QPR on the 31st.
League prediction: LWDWW (10pts)
The first league game of the month comes on the 7th with a home game against Man City and is followed by an away trip to Wolves on the 9th. The boss will need to think carefully about which players he rotates for these two games as clearly he won’t be able to play the same starting eleven in such a short space of time. On the 14th, Wigan are set to visit the Emirates, however this game is subject to change should either team reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup. A week later, on the 21st, Chelsea visit the Emirates in what will hopefully be a pivotal game in the title race. The final game of the month comes a week later, on the 28th, with an away game against Stoke.
League prediction: DWWDD (9pts)
Our final home game of the season will be on May 5th, against Norwich. However, this is subject to change should either team reach the FA Cup final. You would have to look at that as a guaranteed three points at home. Our final game of the league season is on Sunday 13th, when we will travel to play WBA. If the team is level on points, or ahead, with two games to go you would have to fancy our chances of lifting the title with Norwich and WBA as our final two games.
League prediction: WW (6pts)
The second half of the season will see us playing nine home games and 10 away games.
Final league points tally prediction: 82 points. P38 W24 D10 L4.
That final points tally may seem overly optimistic as it would be a 14pt improvement over last season and involve just four defeats, four less than last season. But, if you can’t be optimistic ahead of a new season then you may as well just stop following football. It’s also based on the assumption that we will have strengthened the squad and sufficiently addressed the defensive frailties that plagued us last season.
That’ll have to do for my outline of the season’s fixtures as they currently stand. Of course, some of these may change depending on results in the various cup competitions.
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Take it easy.