Wednesday 13 December 2017

Jon Walters hits out over Stoke's 700 mile festive travels

Jon Walters unhappy with Stoke's fixture list
Jon Walters unhappy with Stoke's fixture list

Jon Walters has hit out at the Premier League's festive fixture list after Stoke were made to trek 700 miles in a matter of days.

The Christmas period is always tough, although matters were exacerbated for half the league by the fact those clubs played away on both Boxing Day and either December 28 or 29.

West Brom, for example, went to Tottenham and West Ham on the 26th and 28th, respectively, while Southampton followed up their trip to Cardiff with a match at Everton.

Stoke were another club hard done by the fixture list, with a 5-1 defeat in the 386-mile round trip to Newcastle followed yesterday by a 3-0 loss at Tottenham.

That brought the total travel for those making both trips to 700 miles - something Walters wants to be looked at moving forwards.

Taking to Twitter, he posted: "Got to say fair play to all the Stoke fans who travelled to both away games at Christmas time and never stopped singing! #hardcore"

Walters, tweeting through his account @Jon_Walters_, added: "Also a big well done to whoever sorted out the fixtures over this period!

"It was nice for every team who were at home on the 26th to be home again on the 28th/29th.

"That's a fair way of doing things for fans and players alike who have to travel length and breadth of the country at Christmas time!!"

It is not just the fixture scheduling that will have aggrieved Walters, but so too referee Kevin Friend's first-half decisions.

Zeki Fryers was not punished when appearing to take down Walters when through on goal, before Michael Dawson appeared to impede Oussama Assaidi in the box.

No penalty was awarded and Tottenham capitalised, with Roberto Soldado scoring a spot-kick of his own before impressive Mousa Dembele and Aaron Lennon efforts made it 3-0.

Stoke could have no arguments with the final score, which saw Tottenham record a first home league win since sneaking past Hull on October 27.

"I thought we were good from start to finish," Spurs boss Tim Sherwood said.

"We set about Stoke from the outset, moved the ball around well and created enough chances to win two games in the first half.

"It is great to have a clean sheet. I think Hugo Lloris deserves a clean sheet - he is one of the best goalkeepers there is.

"I think that was our first league win since October here as well, which is good to get off our back.

"I am looking at positives rather than negatives and we were unfortunate on Boxing Day [in the 1-1 draw with West Brom] that one of those chances didn't fall for us.

"The positives today are that we had a lot of players out injured and the ones that came in were exceptional, did very, very well. Kyle Naughton and Zeki Fryers were excellent.

"Those that came in did excellently today and we are struggling with fitness to a lot of the players. It is like an infirmary down there at the moment, but we've just got to get on with it."

Press Association

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