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Man City’s absurd 68 hour fixture nightmare and how schedule compares to Arsenal and Liverpool

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Man City’s absurd 68 hour fixture nightmare and how schedule compares to Arsenal and Liverpool

 

 

The Premier League have given Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool a confusing schedule in April

 

The Premier League’s farcical handling of Manchester City’s April schedule means it is impossible for the club and fans to realistically plan for two crucial title race fixtures.

 

City are already facing a hectic schedule on their return from international duty, with Arsenal, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Real Madrid coming up in the space of 10 days. Now, with April’s schedule released, City will see trips to Brighton and Nottingham Forest moved depending on their progress in the Champions League – but would only find out a week before their trip to the South Coast, at best.

 

It is not only City who are affected by the Premier League’s strange flexible schedule. Leaders Arsenal will see April games April moved depending on Champions League progress, while second-placed Liverpool could see their Merseyside Derby switched at short notice as a knock-on effect from City’s fixture changes.

 

Man City – average 3.1 days between fixtures

After those four games in 10 days, City have four days between Real Madrid away and taking on Luton, and four days before the home clash with Real in the Champions League quarter-final second leg. Then there is the baffling 69-hour gap between the Real Madrid tie and the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea, which raises questions of its own given fellow semi-finalists Coventry have been plunged into separate fixture chaos by playing on the Sunday.

 

If the fixtures remain as planned, with City not in Champions League semi-final action on Tuesday April 30, there will be a five day gap until the trip to Brighton, and then a 68 hour gap to the fixture at Nottingham Forest. After that would be a three-day gap to the Champions League semi-final. It’s 10 games in 31 days at an average of three days between fixtures. If games are rearranged the Blues will benefit from an extra 24 hours. City also still have to fit in a game against Tottenham, almost certainly for the final week of the season – giving them at least one extra game to play compared to their two rivals.

 

Arsenal – average 3.1 days between fixtures

Arsenal travel to the Etihad on Easter Sunday, three-days before a home clash with Luton, and another three days before a trip to Brighton. Three days on, Bayern Munich are the visitors in the Champions League. Then comes a relatively lengthy five days before the Sunday trip to Aston Villa on April 14. The trip to Munich follows three days later on Wednesday 17.

 

The Gunners are in Premier League action on the evening of Saturday 20, followed by another three day gap ahead of an intriguing home clash with Chelsea. Five days later, it’s a North London derby at Tottenham on the Sunday, but that will move to a Saturday lunchtime kick-off on the 27 if Arsenal are in Champions League action on April 30.

 

Liverpool – average 3.3 days between fixtures

Second-placed Liverpool have five days between a return against Brighton and Sheffield United, but then have a 68-hour gap before a testing trip to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United on April 7. They have two Thursday Europa League quarter-finals on April 11 and 18, sandwiching a Sunday clash against Crystal Palace.

 

There is a three-day gap to the trip to Fulham, and another three-day gap before a Merseyside derby at Goodison Park – which could be subject to change if City’s clash against Brighton moves to that day. Another three days follows before the Saturday lunchtime trip to West Ham, a TV slot Jurgen Klopp has often been highly critical of. But that would move to the following day should Arsenal be asked to play in the Champions League on April 30. Keeping up?

 

After that would come a possible Europa League semi-final on May 2, giving Liverpool 10 games in 33 days, with some Sunday to Thursday gaps to prepare for Europe, coupled with shorter lead in times to league matches.

 

To accommodate all these prospective changes, West Ham, Forest, Spurs, Everton and Brentford all also face fixture uncertainty.

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