Arsenal face Newcastle in the 2011-12 opener

The Gunners travel to the formerly known St James Park who knows what it is now for their opening fixture on August 13th. Newcastle has in recent years proved extremely challenging for the London side. Last season’s encounters are enshrined in Toon history.
After which they face two extremely tough weekend matches against Liverpool at home and Man Utd on the road. If Arsene Wenger was looking for a test for his squad stockpiled with new summer signings he gets it rightaway. It’s all in the fixture list released today.
The first half of the season is frontloaded with away games to rival teams. Which is a mixed blessing as the Emirates has not proven by any measure to be fortress indomitable.
Notables include a 1st October date with Tottenham at White Hart and three weeks later away to Chelsea. On 17th December there is an Eastlands appointment with City.
The two most vulnerable months of March and April see no let up in the quality of opposition. The ides of March kicks off with a 3rd March encounter at Liverpool. The Gunners also entertain Everton and then travel to Aston Villa. Sandwiched in between is a hair raising Newcastle visit.
April brings no relief. Man City come knocking on 7th April and Chelsea returns the favour on 21st April. Then away to the Tony Pulis coached Stoke City who delight in burning holes in Arsenal’s ambitions the last week. The season ends at West Brom on 13th May.
This post is all caveats. A season should bring new hope but post the 2005 euphoria meltdown is inextricably linked with feelings of self doubt and deja vu. Hopefully Wenger is not barking at the moon about the 5% needed and is serious about getting that part right.

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