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Mikel Arteta: The 5 key fixtures for new Arsenal manager that can salvage season

Mikel Arteta is the new Arsenal head coach and with a three-and-a-half year contract at the Emirates there is an element of forward planning now.

But the season is not entirely lost and while Arteta has already called for patience, he will privately hope to salvage something to take into his first full season next year.

Arsenal are seven points off Chelsea and a top four place, but that could dramatically change in the coming weeks.

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The Blues travel to Tottenham this weekend, meaning a defeat for Frank Lampard’s side would provide Arsenal with the opportunity to cut that deficit to just four points, should they win at Everton.

Here are five key fixtures that could help Arsenal salvage their season under Arteta:

Bournemouth (a), 26 December

The first one is obviously important and it’ll be at Bournemouth on Boxing Day with too little time to fully take charge against Everton on 21 December at 24 hours notice.

The Cherries will play in a style that could offer Arteta a chance to give his side freedom to play immediately.

Chelsea (h), 29 December

The first home match: Arsenal fans simply have to show their support and make some noise, no matter how the next two matches go (Bournemouth following Everton).

A London derby against their fierce rivals, who are in a similar rebuild, should offer an insight into the immediacy of the Spaniard’s impact against a similarly inexperienced manager.

Man United (h), 1 January

A quick turnaround after the Chelsea game, this game will be revealing no matter the result against the Blues. Can Arteta inspire his side with just three days of rest?

A top four rival, too, this will be a huge game to decide which of these sides is in pole position to challenge with Chelsea and Tottenham to finish inside the top four.

Chelsea (a), 21 January 

Chelsea, again, this time at Stamford Bridge in the first away game against a top six rival and a prime candidate to deny them a place in the top four.

Can Arteta’s side be brave away from home with his projected ambitious style? Or will it be the start of him compromising his beliefs, at least for the remainder of the season?

Tottenham (a), 25 April 

The first north London derby of the Arteta era, this will obviously be of huge importance to Arteta both overall but also on a personal level.

He will tackle Jose Mourinho, a manager with vastly more experience and with differing principals. It promises to be a fascinating contest.

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