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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger unhappy with fixture schedule

20:23 01 January 2017

Alex Iwobi (right) heads Arsenal's second goal in the 2-0 win over Crystal Palace

Alex Iwobi (right) heads Arsenal's second goal in the 2-0 win over Crystal Palace

Archant

Arsene Wenger has hit out at the festive fixture schedule that will force Arsenal to play twice in three days to meet TV commitments.

Wenger’s side, who beat Crystal Palace 2-0 in Sunday’s late kick-off at Emirates Stadium, were given just 48 hours to recover before their next Premier League fixture at Bournemouth on Tuesday – which is also due for live coverage on Sky.

The Gunners boss said: “In 20 years [at Arsenal] it’s the most uneven period I’ve seen on the Christmas front. The difference in terms of rest period is unbelievable.

“I don’t know if the Premier League masters the fixtures any more. They have sold the rights to television for a lot of money so we have to accept that television chooses the games.

“But some teams have been more fortunate, the ones that have had the best rest periods. Sometimes it goes for you, sometimes it goes against you.”

Wenger was backed up by his opposite number Sam Allardyce, whose struggling Eagles side are also in action again on Tuesday, in a crucial clash with relegation rivals Swansea City.

“Why can’t we play Wednesday? Swansea have got 24 hours on us,” Allardyce observed. “You want a fair crack at it and it’s unfair when you’re playing today, then Tuesday night.”

Olivier Giroud gave Arsenal the lead in the 17th minute with a superb volley off his trailing heel, converting a cross from Alexis Sanchez for his second goal in as many games.

The home side squandered opportunities to wrap up the points before Alex Iwobi grabbed their second goal early in the second half, heading home after Nacho Monreal’s cross had been deflected.

Arsenal’s victory lifted them back to third place in the table above Tottenham, who had cruised to a 4-1 win at Watford earlier in the day.

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