Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Wenger: Give Us All the Same Rest to Be Fair to Everyone; in Association with Manager Calls for a Level Playing Field as Tired Gunners Shuffle Squad Yet Again

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Wenger: Give Us All the Same Rest to Be Fair to Everyone; in Association with Manager Calls for a Level Playing Field as Tired Gunners Shuffle Squad Yet Again

Article excerpt

Byline: James Olley Football Correspondent

ARSENE WENGER today urged the Premier League to "respect the fairness of the competition" amid concerns Arsenal are being disadvantaged by a lack of recovery time between matches.

The Gunners will line up against Southampton just 62 hours after completing a 6-0 Europa League rout of BATE Borisov in their final Group H outing last night.

Wenger made 11 changes to his starting line-up and will rotate heavily again on the south coast this weekend, but that did not stop the 68-year-old from voicing his frustration at the quick turnaround.

"I have nothing against the fact that we have to do that, as long as our opponents have the same recovery days," Wenger told Standard Sport.

"That was not the case last week [against Manchester United] and will not be the case again. Between three days and five days is a big gap on the recovery side. If we have to play every day I don't mind as long as our opponents do as well.

"I have not spoken to the Premier League but I think there is a job there to respect the fairness of the competition. If you look at it, I think many teams don't fight on an equal front on the recovery side.

"What I would like is that the teams who have tight schedules are faced with the same problems. I don't mind, I can understand that we have to play all the games. You just want to play teams with the same problems as you."

Last week, United played on Tuesday at Watford before travelling to Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal on Saturday evening. The Gunners beat Huddersfield on Wednesday but lost 3-1 to United with a day's less recuperation.

There are four League fixtures on Sunday. United played on Tuesday, with their next opponents Manchester City engaged on Wednesday.

Liverpool also played on Wednesday against Spartak Moscow and now face Everton, involved last night in Europa League duty against Apollon Limassol, while Arsenal's opponents Southampton have enjoyed a clear week following last Sunday's 1-1 draw at Bournemouth. …

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