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Arsenal boss refutes fixture favouritism

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Picture: REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Picture: REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Picture: REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger has hit back at old rival Jose Mourinho's claim that his side get an easy ride on fixtures and says he would be willing to trade millions in television income for a greater say in how his team's matches are scheduled.

Chelsea boss Mourinho said last week the Gunners get a certain "influence" when it came to their schedule, something Wenger was eager to refute ahead of the trip to Southampton.

"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," he said.

"That is facts. It has nothing to do with my opinion. It is an independent company that made (the study) that shows Arsenal had less rest than any other team in the top level."

It is understood the study referred to was conducted as an internal analysis of Arsenal's fixture programme.

He admits he would be prepared to accept a smaller sum from broadcasters if it meant greater control of when Arsenal played.

"Nobody is to blame, it's just the way the fixtures are sold," Wenger said.

"It is the television who decide. I cannot even blame the Premier League because the television has the last word. If they say for example they want Arsenal v Liverpool on Sunday, it will be on Sunday.

Command

"I can understand the television but the question you can ask, the way when it is sold, (clubs) take £50million less and keep the command."

February will see the Gunners face Liverpool twice – once in the Premier League and also in the fifth round of the FA Cup – as well as Manchester United and Bayern Munich.

The Liverpool cup encounter is scheduled to be played on the weekend of February 15-16, just a few days ahead of the Champions League last-16 first leg showdown with the Bundesliga giants on Wednesday, February 19.

The Gunners boss would like to see a rule set across all leagues to make sure everyone prepares the same ahead of key European ties.

"I already suggested in a UEFA meeting to make sure, in the Champions League, the teams have the same time of rest. For example, in Porto, they cancelled the games sometimes," he added.


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