Arsenal discovered their 2022/23 Premier League fixture list on Thursday morning. And for the second season in a row, they’ll be kicking off the new campaign away from home on a Friday night in London.
Last August it was a trip to newly-promoted Brentford for the Gunners where they were soundly beaten 2-0 and this time around they return to a ground that may still bring back bad memories from last season with a visit to Selhurst Park to face a Crystal Palace side that were 3-0 winners in the corresponding fixture.
Opening game aside, the Premier League fixtures announcement was a little different this year as one look at the calendar shows there are no games penciled in after November 12 all the way up until Boxing Day when Arsenal welcome West Ham United to the Emirates Stadium.
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Of course, the reason for this is because of the World Cup which is usually staged in the summer months, but FIFA’s major announcement from over a decade ago, the biggest tournament in football has been moved from its June-July slot to the winter due to the intense heat in Qatar around summertime.
As a result, the 2022 World Cup will take place in Qatar from November 21 to December 18 and during this period the Premier League season will be on pause before resuming on December 26 which allows the 2022/23 campaign to finish a little later than usual on May 28, 2023.
Now, despite the mid-season break and knowing of the dates for a while now, the timing of the tournament is still unlikely to go down well amongst many Premier League managers such as Mikel Arteta as he is set to lose some key players for up to a month and there’s no guarantee he will get them back in the same shape they left in.
Currently, the Spaniard is facing up to the prospect of being without Aaron Ramsdale, Benjamin White, Gabriel Magalhaes, Cedric Soares, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Thomas Partey, Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Granit Xhaka, Gabriel Martinelli and William Saliba for up to a month if they are called up by their respective nations.
Add Bernd Leno and Lucas Torreira to the mix if they are still at the club come November, whilst Eddie Nketiah could also be on the plane to Qatar if he switches his international allegiance to Ghana after representing England at various youth levels.
Furthermore, should the Gunners complete deals for Matt Turner, Lisandro Martinez, Youri Tielemans, Gabriel Jesus and Raphinha in the summer transfer window then it’s likely they will all be on World Cup duty in the winter – with some playing for nations that could go deep into the tournament.
However, there are three senior players who certainly won’t be making the trip to Qatar in any scenario. With Scotland, Norway and Egypt all failing to qualify for the World Cup it means Kieran Tierney, Martin Odegaard and Mohamed Elneny should, in the dream scenario, should be fresh after the mid-season break.
This will serve as a massive boost for Arteta as depending on how far the Arsenal representatives go at the World Cup will play a big role with regards to his team selection against the Hammers, so having at least three senior players ready for the resumption of the Premier League should come in handy.
Source by Football London