WENGER CON­CERNED OVER FIX­TURE PILE-UP

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

Arsene Wenger fears a ‘heavy sched­ule’ in De­cem­ber could put Pre­mier League leader Arse­nal at a dis­ad­van­tage in its quest for suc­cess at home and abroad.

A 2-0 home win over Hull City on Wed­nes­day, cour­tesy of goals from Nick­las Bendt­ner and Me­sut Ozil, main­tained the Gun­ners’ four-point lead at the top of the ta­ble.

Arse­nal is also close to qual­i­fi­ca­tion from the Cham­pi­ons League group stage, which will be com­pleted with a de­ci­sive match at Napoli on Dec 11, ei­ther side of league fixtures at home to in-form Ever­ton on Dec 8 and at fel­low ti­tle ri­val Manch­ester City on Dec 14 in a lunchtime kick­off.

All three of th­ese fixtures will be tele­vised live, as will the next Pre­mier League game on the cal­en­dar, a home game with Chelsea, its clos­est ri­val for the ti­tle, on Dec 23 and Wenger is ru­ing a lack of co-or­di­na­tion be­tween the dif­fer­ent broad­cast­ers, which has left his team with lit­tle time to re­cover be­tween matches.

“We have a very heavy sched­ule, that’s why I had to rest some play­ers,” Wenger said.

“Now we play Ever­ton on Sun­day and there is lit­tle dis­tance (in time) be­tween Ever­ton and Naples.

“We play Wed­nes­day night in Naples and Satur­day morn­ing against Man City so for us it is a very, very heavy sched­ule.

“It’s not fair or un­fair, there is just no co-or­di­na­tion be­tween the tele­vi­sion choices. We could have played on Satur­day against Ever­ton and Sun­day or Mon­day against Man City.

“It looks strange when you play on Satur­day morn­ing and our next game is Mon­day night against Chelsea 10 days later, es­pe­cially when there is lit­tle time be­tween the Cham­pi­ons League game on Wed­nes­day night and the next game early on Satur­day af­ter­noon.”

Ever­ton helped Arse­nal’s cause by win­ning 1-0 at Man United on Wed­nes­day, a re­sult that left the reign­ing cham­pion trail­ing the Gun­ners by 12 points.

But Wenger was re­luc­tant to write off United.

“No, it’s still early,” he said. “It (the Ever­ton re­sult) is a sur­pris­ing de­feat, yes, but we have seen that be­fore — over­haul­ing 12 points on us.

“But, of course, we have only to keep win­ning to have a chance and not worry too much about the oth­ers.”

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