Wenger: Fury over United

2009-01-23 15:57

London Colney - Arsene Wenger believes Manchester United's fixture schedule has given them an unfair advantage in the Premier League title race.

Wenger has reignited a row originally started by Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez by highlighting the extra time Sir Alex Ferguson's team have to recover from their midweek match next week.

The Arsenal manager is unhappy that league leaders United, who are six points ahead of the Gunners, play West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday, while Wenger's men face Everton on Wednesday - meaning they have only two days to recover before their next game at home to West Ham on Saturday.

As if that wasn't enough to irk Wenger, United aren't scheduled to play again after their Albion match until the following Monday, although that home fixture against Everton could be postponed if either team has to play an FA Cup fourth round replay.

Wenger's comments follow a furious attack from Benitez on Ferguson earlier this month sparked by what he perceived as the United boss's attempts to influence officials and his complaints that United got a raw deal from the fixtures.

"I feel that next week Benitez has a case if you look at the way the fixtures are arranged," Wenger said on Friday.

"You can say that Manchester United have been extremely advantaged. It is difficult to explain why one team plays on Tuesday and the others are all on Wednesday. It is unfair competition.

"I do not think you need to be a specialist in football to understand that in this case it is an unfair advantage for Manchester United.

"I supported them (United) when they had a case but this week, I think Benitez has a case.

"Will it have an advantage on the global season? I don't know, you would have to analyse that better in time."

Unlike Benitez, Wenger opted not to make his attack personal against Ferguson and blamed the Premier League and the television company who show the English top-flight matches for the situation.

"It is not Manchester United's fault, it is not Liverpool's fault. It is the organisation of the fixtures," Wenger said.

"You can only accuse Sky of choosing the games, the guy who did it three months ago choosing West Brom against Manchester United to be on Sky, he certainly has a case to explain."


  • Selwyn - 2009-01-23 17:09

    Oh Whinger just because your team is playing crap at the moment you will look at someone or something to blame it on. MU had to play 3 games in 1 week and on different continents so what you complaining about. Its all about consistency.

  • chucky - 2009-01-23 17:46

    as usual united gets the gold package while everyone else has to just take what they get united are very lucky to have bobby charlton and david gill on the board to determine what would be in the "best" intersts of united, and selwyn those fixtures had nothing to do with FA premier league matches those matches fergy wanted coz he scared he not gonna get any other silverware this year! united days of always being the princes of the FA are over soon!!!!!!!

  • iceman1982 - 2009-01-23 17:46

    Hey Selwyn , what was the score between the gunners and Man U again?

  • Reinhard - 2009-01-23 18:21

    when was this fixture list released? why was nobody crying then? looks like the pressure is getting to the managers!

  • Anonymous User - 2009-01-23 21:10

    just an observation - how is this different to teams that play on sat, sun and mondays. when liverpool played everton last monday does that mean they were advantaged with 2 extra days to 'recover'. or by playing on tuesday does it not mean that man utd have fewer days to recover after the previous weekend games. all teams play 38 premier league matches in 9 months so every team will be 'advantaged' or 'disadvantaged' at some time. And iceman lets face it at the end of the season it doesn't matter who beat who just who the champions are - like when man utd put 6 past arsenal in the FA cup last year it meant nothing since portsmouth ended up champions

  • 8TY - 2009-01-26 08:07

    hey Iceman1982, what position is Arsenal relative to Man Utd again? hahahaha! Anon User (below) is absolutely right. The season is the same length for all teams and they play the same average no. of matches. In fact, Man Utd is playing MORE matches as a result of the World Club Competition. Plus Arsenal will be knocked out the Champions league, further reducing the number of matches they'll have to play. Some managers (Rafa, Wenger etc) are over reacting and feeling the pressure. At certain stages in the league, a team will play a few on the road in a row while it's competitors play at home. At some point a team will play 3 in a week while it's competitors play one. It all evens out and averages out! STOP WHINING WENGER and concentrate on buying a defensive midfielder and getting fourth spot back from the Villans! 8TY!

  • S - 2009-01-27 10:34

    Chucky...Im gonna presume ur a guy...and from a guy's perspective you know f all about soccer - me being a female knows more than you. Stop blowing that crap of United being favoured and be objective and rate the team honestly. YOU KNOW they the best - or the Princes as you call why blow all that hot air about being favoured - oh it comes again - whatever we win this year...will be by LUCK hey?? yeah we know that line all too well. LOSERS!

  • nathan - 2009-01-27 11:38

    Umm, did any of you actually read the article? As always the comments on this site are poor and just trolling. Im an Arsenal supporter, and as Wenger said "It is not Manchester United's fault, it is not Liverpool's fault. It is the organisation of the fixtures," Wenger wasn't blaming Man U or Fergie. He was saying that SKY SPORTS is to blame here. And can we please stop comparing _____ sizes. Man United is a great team, Arsenal is a great team, Liverpool is a great team, Chelsea is a great team, thats why they have been called TOP FOUR teams. I personally enjoy watching Man U - Arsenal games due to the fact that is always a good match to watch. So stop being immature.

  • Keith - 2009-01-27 15:08

    All a load of rubbish! I agree with Natahan and "S". If the other clubs would prefer Man United's schedule then, perhaps, they should get themselves into a position where the TV people WANT to broadcast THEIR games! At the end of the day, Man U will play more games than the other clubs because they remain in the competitons for longer!

  • Sean - 2009-01-28 07:12

    bla bla bla - Wenger and Benitez were very quiet when every one of Utd's fixtures after a Champs League phase1 game was away from home and included away games vs Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal. They were quiet because it suited them. Now the shoe is on the other foot and they're crying foul. Chucky, what board are you referring to re: Charlton?

  • RyanGiggs - 2009-01-28 10:41

    Wenger is doing a Rafa impersonation. Why should the spaniard pot belly hog all the limelight? So he figured he'd jump on the looser bandwagon. With both their teams faltering hopelessly what other work do they have but to chew on sour grapes.

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