The Premier League fixtures for the upcoming 2021/22 season have been released today and Arsenal have been dealt a difficult start to the campaign.
The Gunners will face Champions League winners Chelsea, defending Premier League champions Manchester City and north London rivals Tottenham in their opening six games.
The season is due to start on August 14, with Arsenal facing a trip to the newly-promoted Brentford.
They then host Chelsea at the Emirates, before facing an extra domestic fixture that month for the first time since 1995.
As a result of Arsenal’s failure to qualify for European football last season, they will enter this year’s edition of the Carabao Cup in the second round rather than the third.
This means they are set to play an extra game in between their clash with Chelsea at home on August 21 and their trip to City on August 28, with Arsenal’s official website listing August 25 as the scheduled date for their second round Carabao Cup game.
Arsenal only missed out on qualifying for Europe by a solitary point last season, finishing eighth.
Tottenham finished above them in seventh and qualified for the new Europa Conference League.
Despite the fact that this means they will not enter the Carabao Cup until the third round of fixtures, Spurs will in fact face two extra fixtures in August as opposed to Arsenal’s one.
This is because Tottenham will enter the Conference League in the play-off round, with their first leg fixture due to be played on August 19 and their second leg fixture on August 26.
Reflecting on Arsenal’s failure to qualify for Europe, manager Mikel Arteta insisted that the club is well-placed to bounce back next season.
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“I’m sad because this club deserves to be delivered trophies and the Champions League,” he said. “We haven’t managed that.
“It’s not been enough. We have to be very critical of ourselves, of myself, and then prepare the best possible way for next season to take advantage of that.
“Hopefully we can have the pre-season that I haven’t had, and have time to work with those players and try to be a better team.
“Other teams are going to get better and they’re going to strengthen, so we need to get better.
“First of all, we have to get our players better, more consistent and help them to improve. All our way of playing, our philosophy, I think is in place.
“They buy into that and now is the moment to take it to the next level, to improve that and improve our consistency because since December to now, we’ve shown that we’re the second or third-best team in the league.
“It’s not enough. Six months, the level is high, so we need to do that for 10 months.
“What I can say is that when I watch the team a few months ago and when I watch them now, regardless of the result, in my opinion we are in a much better place and we will be in a much better place.
“That’s the step but as well we now need to identify that the level is now so high that the only way to do it is to be much better next season, much more consistent and that’s the challenge ahead of us.”
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