English Premiership

Wenger criticises festive fixture schedule

2017-01-03 08:31
Arsene Wenger (Getty Images)

London - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has criticised the Premier League's festive fixture list calling the schedule the most "uneven" he has seen in 20 years.

Wenger's team visit Bournemouth on Tuesday just two days after hosting Crystal Palace in the league but leaders Chelsea are not in action until Wednesday after their 4-2 victory over Stoke on Saturday.

"It is, in 20 years, the most uneven Christmas period I have seen on the fixture front," the 67-year-old manager, who took the Arsenal job in 1996, told reporters.

"The difference of rest periods is absolutely unbelievable, compared to the other teams it is unbelievable."

With the Frenchman looking to rotate his squad, midfielders Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin and defender Shkodran Mustafi are all set for a return to the starting line-up against ninth-placed Bournemouth after being on the bench during Sunday's 2-0 win over Palace.

"Every game is so difficult in this Premier League that we go now into a game in 48 hours' time with a big handicap on the fixtures," the Frenchman added.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho also complained about the festive fixture pile-up after his side showed signs of fatigue during their 2-0 win at West Ham United on Monday.

Fourth-placed Arsenal, who have lost their last two away games at Everton and Manchester City, travel to Bournemouth with an opportunity to cut the gap to six points at the top of the league table.

Newly-appointed Crystal Palace manager, Sam Allardyce has also told the Guardian that the Premier League fixture list organiser should be sacked after pointing the finger at the fixture congestion.

Allardyce substituted Yohan Cabaye, Christian Benteke and Andros Townsend while losing 2-0 to Arsenal with the view to save them for the upcoming fixture against Swansea City.

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Fixtures
Saturday, 20 January 2018
Brighton & Hove Albion v Chelsea, The American Express Community Stadium 14:30
Stoke City v Huddersfield Town, Bet365 Stadium 17:00
Arsenal v Crystal Palace, Emirates Stadium 17:00
Everton v West Bromwich Albion, Goodison Park 17:00
Leicester City v Watford, King Power Stadium 17:00
West Ham United v AFC Bournemouth, London Stadium 17:00
Burnley v Manchester United, Turf Moor 17:00
Manchester City v Newcastle United, Etihad Stadium 19:30
Sunday, 21 January 2018
Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur, St. Mary's Stadium 18:00
Monday, 22 January 2018
Swansea City v Liverpool, Liberty Stadium 22:00
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