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Tuesday 17 October 2017

'Gunners get raw deal with fixtures'

Arsene Wenger manager of Arsenal looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United
Arsene Wenger manager of Arsenal looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insists his team get no favours from the fixture schedulers as his team prepare for a crunch period of games which could make or break their season.

Wenger was responding to comments from Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, who claimed last week that the current Premier League leaders had a certain "influence" over their schedule.

Wenger was at pains to point out that is not the case and said an independent study had shown that his side are actually the ones who suffer. "It is simple. Look at the fixtures and analyse it. I trust you will give an objective view," the Frenchman said.

"You will see Arsenal are behind all the other teams. In the last five years all the objective studies that have been made show Arsenal had less rest than any other team in the top four.

"That is facts. It is an independent company that made (the study)."

Tonight, though, Arsenal travel to Southampton –and with Manchester City and Chelsea not playing until tomorrow, they can open four-point gap at the top, although that will not be easy against a side Wenger rates highly.

"They are above expected and the quality of their displays has been very good and everybody who goes today to Southampton knows that they will get a difficult game," he said.

Wenger makes the trip south with a doubt over Jack Wilshere's ankle, but he does have Mikel Arteta (calf), Aaron Ramsey (thigh) and Thomas Vermaelen (calf) fit again.

Irish Independent

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