Clubs ‘questioning integrity of title race’ over Arsenal and Liverpool fixtures | Football


Clubs ‘questioning integrity of title race’ over Arsenal and Liverpool fixtures | Football

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Clubs ‘questioning integrity of title race’ over Arsenal and Liverpool fixtures | Football

The latest fixture changes seem to benefit Manchester City (Picture: Getty)

The Premier League is facing a backlash over the latest batch of rescheduled fixtures with some clubs even ‘questioning the integrity of the title race’ over the changes, according to reports.

On Saturday, the Premier League announced which matches had been selected for live television broadcast for the final two gameweeks in April, while six previously postponed fixtures were also rescheduled.

It threw up some interesting fixture quirks, most notably with Tottenham now being given 15 days off prior to the north London derby on Sunday April 28.

That fixture, which could still be rearranged if Arsenal reach the Champions League semi-finals, comes in amongst an incredibly busy run of games for the Gunners, who play four times during Spurs’ period of rest.

According to The Mirror, that fixture – along with several other decisions – has caused indignation from clubs, with some questioning the ‘integrity’ of the fixture list and fearing it could play a huge role in deciding the title race.

In a not dissimilar situation, Liverpool will travel to Goodison Park to face Everton in the Merseyside derby on Wednesday April 24 before then taking on West Ham in the Saturday lunchtime kick-off – a very short turnaround between games.

That fixture could actually move, though, with Spurs-Arsenal taking the lunchtime TV slot if Mikel Arteta’s side are playing in the Champions League semi-finals.

Arsenal have a gruelling run of games in the run-in (Picture: Getty)

That has created a degree of uncertainty over the schedule for both Liverpool and Arsenal, though title rivals Manchester City have no such issues.

Pep Guardiola’s side have been spared a trip to bogey team Tottenham in the middle of a tough run of games, with the game postponed due to their participation in the FA Cup semi-final.

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The trip to Tottenham could have been rescheduled for the week before the north London derby – reducing their break before the clash with Arsenal – but instead City’s other postponed fixture against Brighton has been placed in that slot, with the two sides facing off on Thursday April 25.

That means Spurs have 15 days off between facing Newcastle and then playing Arsenal, while the Gunners take on Aston Villa, Bayern Munich, Wolves and Chelsea – a very tough run of games.

It is also felt that Tottenham’s big rest, and it’s potential benefit against Arsenal, could have implications in the top-four battle and potentially give them an edge over Aston Villa and Manchester United, who do not benefit from such an extended period of rest so deep into the run-in.

City’s match against Tottenham is one of four outstanding matches yet to be rescheduled, along with Spurs’ trip to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea as well as the Blues’ away clash at Brighton and Manchester United’s showdown with Newcastle.

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