Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Arsene Wenger hits out as Arsenal face fixture list changes

Arsene Wenger claims 'irrational' broadcast schedulers have 'never helped' his Arsenal side over the course of the season by chopping and changing the fixture list.

The Gunners head to face fellow FA Cup finalists Hull on Sunday, a match rescheduled from Saturday's late kick-off following the decision by the Premier League to move Chelsea's home game against Sunderland forward on Easter Sunday, with Jose Mourinho's men set to tackle Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday April 22.

The late switch was berated by Gunners' fans, many of whom had already made travel plans.

Wenger feels that while the alteration "is not too disturbing" in terms of preparation, it leaves questions over just which fixtures can be changed – having been less than impressed earlier in the season when Arsenal had to play at Manchester City on a Saturday lunchtime kick-off, where they were trashed 6-3, soon after returning from a crunch Champions League game away to Napoli.

"We never got any help on that front. Never," the Arsenal manager said. "There is no written rule. When you speak to the Premier League, it is not the Premier League, it is the television companies, they decide who plays when and some clubs have better introductions with them.

"We never had and we never tried to influence the decision of Sky or any other company.

"If you want to know more, you look at the teams who have been protected and the teams who had the biggest rest between games.

"You will see and you come to your own conclusions. I don't question the objectivity of the television companies, but sometimes their choices don't look very rational."

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