EPL

Arteta hits out at Premier League again for fixture schedule

By Sports Desk March 18, 2022

Mikel Arteta has taken aim at the Premier League again for its scheduling of Arsenal's games ahead of his team's trip to Aston Villa on Saturday.

The Gunners face Villa in the early kick-off, having played Liverpool on Wednesday.

After the 2-0 defeat to Jurgen Klopp's side, Arteta was sarcastic in his response when asked about Arsenal's upcoming fixture schedule that also includes facing Chelsea and Manchester United in quick succession next month (April 20 and 23).

"Thank you so much to the Premier League for doing that," he sarcastically told reporters on Wednesday.

"And they've done it again when we have to play Chelsea and Manchester United. So if they want to give them any advantage, I say to them today: 'Thank you so much for doing that'."

Speaking at a media conference ahead of the Villa game, Arteta reiterated his stance, saying that it is only his team who have been "scheduled like that".

When asked if he stood by his comments, he replied: "I do because I'm talking about the Premier League. I heard some comments about mixing up being away in Europe and how it's nothing new.

"It's nothing new to me, but I'm not complaining about Europe, I'm complaining about the Premier League and how you schedule games in the Premier League. When you are in Europe, it's a different story. What I'm comparing is the Premier League and it's very difficult.

"We've been the only team that has been scheduled like that."

Arteta later clarified: "The first thing is to protect the players. We have mentioned many times 'can we please avoid doing Wednesday night and Saturday morning' and travelling and all those kind of things. I understand that they have the commitments and the TV, we all understand that.

"If you do it once, okay, but don't do it twice because we still have to [play] Spurs, what are we going to do? Are we going to do it for a third time? Are we going to be the only ones to do it? You can accept that but you don't want to be silly either."

Arteta also had words of praise for his opposite number on Saturday, Steven Gerrard. The former Liverpool midfielder moved to Villa from Rangers earlier in the season, where he had enjoyed success, and where Arteta himself used to play.

"I think he's done very, very well [as a manager]," he said. "What he did at Rangers is remarkable and I don't know if he gets the credit that he should because I played there and I know how that club works.

"How he turned it around and what he's doing at Villa. I think so far he's done really well."

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