It has often been the Arsenal manager that has felt the need to complain about the way the fixture schedule is worked out by the FA, the Premier League and the TV companies, especially when Arsenal have the Champions League games in midweek to factor in as well.
But this week, for once, it is our FA cup opponents Sunderland that have been given the tougher schedule and boy is their manager Sam Allardyce making the most of it, despite the fact that if it was Arsene Wenger moaning he would probably call the Frenchman a whinger.
So we play Sunderland in the cup on Saturday and then we both play Premier League games the following Wednesday but then we do not play again until the Sunday while the Black Cats have a game on the Saturday. With Sunderland sitting in the relegation zone Allardyce has to treat the league games as more important and so he has had a right old rant and declared that he will have to play a second string side against Arsenal, as a BBC report explains.
Allardyce ranted, “Of course I’m going to make changes for our cup tie at Arsenal on Saturday.
“We’re flogging the lads. There are more and more injuries every year, but it’s ignored by the Premier League.
“If the Premier League decides to put a stupid fixture midweek when they don’t bloody need to, then I haven’t got much choice than to make changes.
“If you want us to respect the FA Cup, don’t put Premier League fixtures in the midweek just after new year.
“Don’t give me stick when I change the side at Arsenal. Give the Premier League stick, not the managers.
“Making me play Wednesday and Saturday rather than Tuesday and Saturday is making it harder for me to get Premier League points.
“With having three away games in succession, we’ve got around 2,000 miles of travel and the lunchtime kick-off means we’ve less than three days recovery for Tottenham.”
So it looks like Sunderland are going to make it nice and easy for Arsenal to start the defence of the FA cup trophy that would make it three in a row. Cheers Sam!