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Can Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal avoid December slump?

A look ahead to Arsenal’s busy December fixture list with some difficult games on the horizon.

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Things are looking better for Arsenal as they have now gone top of the Premier League, following their impressive away win over Brentford. The Gunners have lost just once in the top-flight so far this season and have leapfrogged both Manchester City and Liverpool in the table.

Arsenal play eight matches across all competitions before the start of 2024 as they enter a busy period this December, with five of them away from home.

Mikel Arteta has most of the squad fit ahead of a hectic festive period, which begins with a home match against Wolves this weekend followed by an away trip to Luton Town. A big opportunity for Arsenal to extend their four game winning streak and gain more momentum before a tough run of fixtures to conclude 2023.

The first of Arsenal’s harder games this month will be when they travel to Aston Villa, as they are the most in-form team at home in the division, with 13 successive league wins on home soil since the last meeting back in February. Plus, Unai Emery will be determined to beat his former side.

READ MORE: Mikel Arteta’s top January transfer target addresses links to Arsenal.

Then Arsenal will host Brighton in a fixture that has caused problems in recent years for Mikel Arteta’s side as the Seagulls have won their last three visits to the Emirates in all competitions.

Six days later, Arsenal head to Anfield to face Liverpool. This will be the ultimate test for the Gunners as they haven’t won at Anfield for over 11 years and Liverpool are also serious title contenders along with Manchester City.

Arsenal end the calendar year with a home game against West Ham and a trip to Fulham, The Gunners will be hoping to pick up maximum points from these two matches. However, they have already lost to West Ham in the League Cup this term and drew 2-2 with Fulham in the reverse fixture in August. So both games cannot be taken for granted, although Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 17 London derbies in the Premier League – 12 wins and 5 draws since May 2022.

Another positive for Arsenal is that they have secured their place in the Champions League knockout stages as group winners following their home victories against Sevilla and RC Lens. So Mikel Arteta will be able to rest some of his important players for the final group game in Holland versus PSV Eindhoven ahead of crucial Premier League fixtures.

Arsenal have much to play for, as the margin at the top of the table is still incredibly tight as only two points separate the current top four teams. So the Gunners need to keep getting the results to stay firmly in the mix for the Premier League title, but December is always a testing period to see what the squad is made of. Especially if Mikel Arteta believes that it will take 96 points to be crowned champions this season.

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