Belfast Telegraph

Wenger won't criticise TV for tough schedule

Arsene Wenger has refused to criticise television scheduling despite his Arsenal side's demanding fixture list - insisting the revenue made from rights deals can help Premier League clubs re-establish themselves in Europe.

The Gunners travel to face Everton for today's lunchtime kick-off, despite not landing back from their Champions League defeat in Barcelona until early on Thursday morning.

Arsenal will kick off at Goodison Park with an 11-point gap separating them from league-leaders Leicester and, with a number of injuries, the lack of preparation time could well cost Wenger's side, but, with a new domestic television rights deal coming into effect from next season worth £5.136billion to the Premier League, the Frenchman reckons teams will have to accept games will be moved for TV purposes. "Does the schedule in England help or not? I would say overall no," Wenger said.

"The TV do not pay all that money and then say: 'Oh, finally, we pay you and don't want an audience'.

"We have to accept that, it's not an excuse, we have squads of 20 or 25 and it should be enough. I could change six or seven players between Watford and Barcelona. It's not too bad, but it's not an excuse because we dealt with it before.

"I wouldn't like to say it's the fault of TV if we go out, I don't believe that at all. We went out because I think Barcelona is one of the best teams I've played in my career."

Belfast Telegraph

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