Belfast Telegraph

Friday 24 October 2014

Arsenal skipper Mikel Arteta lashes out at fixtures pile-up

Mikel Arteta admits Arsenal will need to prepare well to face Manchester City
Mikel Arteta admits Arsenal will need to prepare well to face Manchester City

Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta has become the latest figure from the club to question the Premier League for insisting that they play against Manchester City at 12.45pm tomorrow, giving the team just two clear days' rest following their defeat to Napoli.

Arsenal returned overnight from Naples, arriving in London in the early hours of yesterday morning having lost 2-0 at the San Paolo stadium and finishing second in the Champions League Group F.

Manager Arsene Wenger, who has also been critical of the scheduling of the City game, joked that the club flight would be better served going direct to Manchester.

Under Premier League regulations, the clubs agree that a minimum of 48 hours is required in between games and the league is within its rights to schedule the fixture, at the Etihad stadium, as planned; it will be broadcast live on BT Sport.

Arteta, who was sent off in the defeat to Napoli, said: "The recovery time is very tight. I don't understand why we play Sunday afternoon (against Everton), Wednesday evening, get back at 4am (on Thursday) and then play again on Saturday morning in Manchester. There's nothing we can do – just recover well. It's a big game and we want to win it.

"It's not ideal. We will have a late warm-down, try to get our legs back for Friday. Travel on Friday and be as well prepared as we can. They will be ready for us because they rested seven or eight players in Munich on Tuesday night.

"I think we have different options to play, you could see against Napoli that we changed the team a bit again. We have to be ready. We know it can be a big statement if we get a good result there."

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