Why on Earth are Arsenal playing on Monday night?

Jose Mourinho often spoke about his culture shock when moving to English football. At Porto, if they were in Europe that week, their domestic match would be moved to Friday. At Chelsea the schedule was Tuesday – Saturday/ Sunday/Wednesday no matter the situation. It tells you the different priorities of the respective associations. In Portugal, their clubs are representing their county so want to help them as much as possible.

The FA and Premier League, while wanting one of their own to win a Champions League/Europa League (for commercial reasons) are dictated by their TV contracts. To be fair, 20 clubs are sharing a deal worth billions, so the least they can do is to show up where and when they are told. I should also clarify I am not one who believes in players needing a rest.

It’s becoming a Xmas tradition to have Klopp and Guardiola insist their men can’t play 3 games a week, despite that being the case for decades and not preventing doubles and trebles being achieved. I respect thousands are spent on the best doctors who have the data to say whose body is doing what, but it seems to mentally be making players weaker?

So, I don’t agree any team needs help garnering an unfair advantage, which is what Jose has been asking for. Ideally, if you’re playing the same day as your midweek opponent, that’s fair as it’s a level playing field. What organisers shouldn’t do is arrange fixtures which puts you in a disadvantage. Bizarrely Arsenal will be playing Monday night, despite everyone knowing since the draw was made they are due to face Sporting Lisbon 3 nights later. It wouldn’t be an issue if Lisbon were also doing double duty in midweek but they play on Saturday.

Any sport should as best it can create a level playing field. On paper in our hardest tie in the group we only have two whole days to prepare, compared to Lisbon’s 4 and we are the ones who are travelling! Again, I’m not saying a professional sportsman can’t handle that schedule but why put us in that situation if it is avoidable?

Like most things, it’s all dictated by money. There’s a reason we haven’t complained about this, which we are entitled to do. Stan Kroenke won’t care, if Sky and BT continues to put cash in the bank, he couldn’t care less.
Surely though between the Gunners, Leicester, Sky and the Premier League there are smart enough people to have found a compromise where all parties get their way? Would Friday Night Football be any less appealing then Monday Night? While I’m sure there is analytical data to say why they want Chelsea vs Man United midday Saturday, are your ratings going to take that big a hit if you swapped us round with Everton vs Palace? We are one of the best supported sides in the world so it’s not like what day we are live determines TV ratings. Your offering from Goodison Park is hardly wetting the appetite for the neutral. So, swap Sunday’s TV line up with Monday’s and no one loses.

Of course, it’s likely that Unai Emery has always planned to rotate his squad, so this might not cost us a result but it’s still not ideal preparation. With 6 points on the board, what if the Spaniard feels this is a game where he might need a stronger 11 then previous? What if he feels our second string are not as good as Lisbon’s strongest? What if he wants to secure qualification as quick as possible so he can blood youth in the final 2 games of the group? What if we didn’t have 2 options for each position and were a small squad wanting to take Europe seriously? Maybe in that instance we would have challenged this? We are in a strong enough position where it’s not the end of the world if we dropped points next Thursday so prioritise the League either side of that.

I’m just not sure why we have been put into this predicament?

Dan Smith


  1. Okiror says:


    1. Hardave Singh says:

      Everyone in England, the organisers, media, the queen, Teresa May, doesn’t want arsenal to do well. This is not something new. We as the great arsenal should not be affected by these parties as we are indeed the great arsenal. We will win both our games for sure. When we start rising no one can bring us down except for our own fans.

      1. gotanidea says:

        I don’t think there is such sentiment against Arsenal in England and any top team should be able to withstand pressure like this

        I’m not too worried because Leicester City is not as strong as they were previously

        1. GB says:

          Ridiculous assertion that everyone in England is against us, unless of course you had your tongue firmly in your cheek. When the Premier League signed the football tv contracts they gave Sky and BT cart blanch when games are to be played. Protests should be made against the PL as this also affects other English teams, not just us.

          1. jon fox says:

            Whilst firmly agreeing with you, I must say too that the prospect of the Queen and Theresa May being season ticket holders at Spuds, Chelsea, Unitred etc, seems a little unlikely. Probably the Dalai lama is a regular at Spuds too. Or maybe NOT!

          2. Hardave Singh says:

            Tongue in cheek for The Queen, Teresa May and everyone else in England of course. Can’t be said the same for media, pundits and organisers. They love chatting SH7T(tottenham) about Arsenal just so they can then say they were right about us all along. Wenger didnt help in shutting them up either. N organisers rather favour other teams in big six compared to us.

          3. jon fox says:

            You are guilty of the complex that so many fans of big clubs everywhere have; they convince themselves everyone else in charge is against their club. It is all nonsense of course but some don’t appreciate hearing the truth and wish to carry on thier masochistic thinking. One oin seven fans onhere in our fan poll a day ot two ago thought we are going to win the title this year . This is the sort of delusional nonsense and refusal to face the truth that so many fans of top clubs everywhere do , rather than face up to their own clubs failings. Realism does not come easily to those who prefer self delusion.

          4. Hardave Singh says:

            I respect your opinion Jon but I personally find media are pretty bias against Arsenal. They rather see other teams win the title compared to us, even tottenham thats not won anything in god knows how long. I’m guessing this is because media favor teams that has more of english players. I could be completely wrong and they’re just doing what is right to them but either way I’ve learn to ignore all of it.

          5. jon fox says:

            Hardave, To make my position more clear, I do respect anyone who has the guts to state clearly their own opinion , provided they have given their opinion deep thought. I must assume you have done that, so we must stay friends but agree to firmly disagree. But you have surely noticed how very many fans, not merely Gooners, refuse to ever hear any criticism of their own club. This applies to all top clubs, less so with small clubs fans who tend to be more realistic. Do you for example believe Arsenal will win the title this year? 14 % of Gooners do and I cannot think them rational in their judgement.

      2. Geo_Gooner says:

        I can say you have a point to some extent considering our first 2 schedule was against best in the league and our direct rival, put in mind the fact that they are aware of our revolution for the season.

      3. Ighö Miles says:

        You are absolutely right. We are Arsenal no one can bring us down

  2. Adena Olatunji says:

    Not make sense to me

  3. Aardvark says:

    It’s a well know fact that the Queen is a Gooner. We were known as Royal Arsenal for a reason.

    1. Joe says:

      We were “Royal Arsenal” long before the Queen was born.

      1. Aardvark says:

        I know we were, way back in the Woolwich days. The Queen is a Gooner though.

  4. Sue says:

    Because we’re not Man United ?

    1. Kenny Rolfe says:

      100% right Sue. It’s because between the PGMOL, the FA and Sky Sports the Saturday 12-30 and Sunday 4-00 pm slots are exclusively reserved for Manchester United. So far this year every Champions League game United have played has been the same. These three corrupt organisations think nobody is watching. This coming week of European football we are forced to play a Premier League game on Monday night then we have to travel to somewhere in the Ukraine for the Europa League, (don’t know how Phil’s going to get there but knowing him, he’ll be there) and then we have come back and play an away Premier League game with a 1-30 pm kick off. that’s three games in five and half days while their beloved Manchester United get their usual three games in eight days There’s still a certain person on this site who feels I was not telling the truth when I said that Manchester United get preferential treatment and I was untruthful to myself to suggest such a thing, I wonder if he still holds the same opinion. Oh, by the way, it’s exactly the same the next European week for United, yes, you’ve guessed it Everton Saturday morning, Juventus again in midweek followed Manchester City the following Sunday 4-00 pm

      1. Sue says:

        And it happens every season!!

  5. Andrew E says:

    Too many conspiracy theories, top Premier League clubs are paid huge sums each year by the PL so they shouldn’t be surprised if dates are juggled to suit their paymasters Sky & BT Sport.

    1. Kenny Rolfe says:

      Yeah make you right Andrew but if only it worked the other way occasionally, I’d settle for that.

  6. ackshay says:

    Lol it’s no secret that the league fixtures have mostly favored man utd while we have less than average luck. But putting us on monday when we play Thursday is a ridiculous thing that has never happened before, it’s blatantly playing against us, only 1 match on sunday makes it worse.

    Realise that it affects our 2 epl games plus the europa game, we play monday night, thursday night and sunday midday. Thats 3 game in a week which is bound to affect our playing level and lineup strength. People who say we don’t get unfair disadvantage, tell me when you saw man u or chelsea or liverpool having this ridiculous fixture when they played europa.

    1. Kenny Rolfe says:

      Well said ackshay, but it’s actually 3 games in 5 and a half days

  7. Jaydawg says:

    Hmm I get the majority in thinking Man u are favoured in terms of fixtures but there’s probably not any plotting. Just simply money talks

    However can it not be flipped that our players technicaly if not participating in international matches. Get an extra day or two off during the international break compared to others. E.g. Chelsea played on 7th October like we did and are playing on 20th October at 12.30.

    Works both ways doesn’t it?

    1. Kenny Rolfe says:

      13 days rest not enough.

  8. big g says:

    players today are pampered divas. they complain about playing 3 games a week, they should try playing 3 game in a day for nothing more than the glory of winning matches, they’re a bloody disgrace.

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