Mikel Arteta: Arsenal boss calls for Premier League protection against ‘difficult’ schedule

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has urged the Premier League to protect clubs against “very difficult” turnarounds between games.

Arteta’s side lost 3-1 to title rivals Manchester City in the Premier League on Wednesday evening..

The Gunners will be back in league action only 63 hours after the defeat when they take on Aston Villa in Saturday’s 12:30 GMT slot.

“There are certain rules with the Champions League,” Arteta said.

“When you are playing on Wednesday night and then you cannot play [on Saturday lunchtime]. So I think that should apply to any competition.”

In 2020, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp criticised broadcasters for placing a Premier League game on a Saturday lunchtime after a Champions League game on Wednesday.

The rules were changed in 2021 to prevent Champions League clubs from playing in the Premier League’s early Saturday slot.

However, earlier this season, City also had a similar turnaround, hosting Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday 14 September before a 12.30 kick-off against Wolves at Molineux on the Saturday.

“Following the same principle, I think you are talking physiologically, that is very difficult to turn around on that period to get the best outcome and reduce the injury risk for players,” Arteta said before Saturday’s game at Villa Park.

“They put the schedule the way they did. It’s a bit unusual, but it’s what it is.

“It’s not about being worried or not worried. We have to play. I want the players to be in the best possible mindset and physically ready to get that challenge going.”

Arsenal dropped to second in the Premier League after Wednesday’s defeat, but they have a game in hand over City, who lead only by goal difference.

Pep Guardiola’s side take to the pitch two-and-a-half hours after Arsenal on Saturday when they play Nottingham Forest at 15:00 GMT.

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