The Europa League effect: When do Arsenal play their Premier League matches?

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Football used to be played at 3pm on a Saturday. That is very much not the case these days.

A combination of TV broadcast schedules and the ignominy of playing Europa League football means Arsenal now play the majority of their Premier League games on a Sunday with the rest scattered across the week at various times.

In the last two seasons (including the two remaining fixtures of this season), we’ve played at home in the league at 3pm on a Saturday just seven times (18% of all home games) and just twice at the same time on the road (5%).

Last season matches kicked off at 17 different times across all seven days of the week and while that has dropped to 15 this year, it’s fair to say there’s no such thing as a ‘football routine’ anymore.

To highlight the situation, we’ve put together a couple of tables charting when and where all games have played in the last two campaigns.

Season 2017-18

Click to enlarge

Season 2018-19

Click to enlarge

Hopefully we can find our way back into the Champions League season. Not just for the money, prestige and the chance to play teams who don’t sound like they’re rejected character names from Tintin Goes Behind the Iron Curtain, but so we can have something approaching a normal schedule again.

Come on Arsenal!

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HelderHughes
HelderHughes

I don’t suppose that if Chelsea finish fourth and beat us in the Europa final, as they already have a champs league place, the spot goes to the runner up?

Wishful thinking, I’m sure but can’t see anything about it in the rules.

GunnAlex
GunnAlex

Sorry man, apparently if that were to happen. The fith ranked association would then allow its team that finishes third the slot. So if that were to happen, in all likelihood Lyon.

Red-Wing
Red-Wing

Sadly not. The only way we (or any other English team not in the top 4) can get the additional CL spot is by winning the EL. If Chelsea win the EL and finish in the top 4, nothing really changes.

HelderHughes
HelderHughes

Thanks guys. Can’t believe it’s come to such pathetic bargaining.

Roof_attack
Roof_attack

match of the day on Saturday night (Sunday morning) without arsenal playing and winning is always rubbish. its been a long time since we have had the golden circle completed : arsenal playing and winning on a Saturday and spurs & man utd both losing on the same day. that used to be my dream scenario about 15 years ago! i suppose it still is but it dosen’t seem to matter as much anymore.

Hantal
Hantal

I’ve never bought into the Thursday-Sunday issue. It’s the same as Wednesday-Saturday.

The only potential fatigue issue is with the extra travel to obscure Europe league venues

Scott P
Scott P

Occasionally in the CL you play on Tuesday as well, so it would be possible to go Tuesday-Saturday or even Tuesday-Sunday depending on how the matches stack up.

Mother
Mother

@Scott P In that case, you’d have played Saturday and then the Tuesday which is still a 3 day turnaround…

Scott P
Scott P

Right, it would be 3 days preceding the CL fixture, but potentially more after the fixture. Or perhaps we’d have played on Friday before the Tuesday CL game.

I clearly haven’t thought through all the permutations, but I still think there must be some cases where it’s an advantage not to be locked into the Thurs-Sun pattern.

Petit's Handbag
Petit's Handbag

Would it be possible to enter a Monday night league?

TippyTappyFlea
TippyTappyFlea

For many match going fans it’s very much a social thing, meeting friends for the game and having a few pints is what it’s all about. The sooner we get back into the Champions League the better because Sunday and Monday football sucks. No one what’s to go to work the following day with a sore head especially if we have dropped points. More Saturdays please.

SarcasmB0t
SarcasmB0t

Seriously, stop with the Champions League pretentions. Given the quality of our squad, we have no business playing there.
I had a really hard times finishing this week’s Arsecast Extra for this very reason – it’s ridiculous to criticize the manager for failing to finish in the top 4 when we have the 6th best squad in the League – if that.
Given our level of investment, we shouldn’t be anywhere near the CL places. Under Kroenke, we are closer to Wolves and Leicester than we are to Chelsea and ManU, let alone T*ttenham.
Chelsea has just spent 68 mil on Christian Pulisic – who could be the ideal replacement for Ramsey. That’s more than our entire summer budget. We’re really gonna make that transfer embargo hurt, aren’t we?
Enjoy European football while it lasts because if things don’t change, we’ll be on the outside fighting for Europa League spots.

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

I can’t decide to up or down vote, so I’m doing neither. I agree with a lot of what you said and disagree with a lot too.

A Different George
A Different George

“Rejected character names from Tintin Goes Behind the Iron Curtain.”

Scwibble
Scwibble

Rude, that’s just their names. I guess blogs can’t stand seeing foreign names 😶

GoonerMac
GoonerMac

He has just committed a hate crime!……maybe you could inform the police……or just fuck off somewhere else with your stupid comments

GraeB
GraeB

EL has actually made it easier to predict when our games will be, which makes my home life easier!

At least I know Saturday is free after EL matches and definitely no Friday night games. When we have had Saturday game lined up – like Newcastle – Sky pick it for Monday FFS.

CL qualification may make it easier still if we finish 4th in our group I guess! (This post should be thumbed down.)

Santori
Santori

IT shouldn’t matter so much.

At this stage in the run in, we should have the mental steel to play through these congestions.

Other teams around us are equally committed on 2 fronts. Ajax may play in the weaker Dutch league but they are into the final stretch of the CL with arguably a thin if not hungry squad.

We must not make excuses for ourselves.

Why Unai moved to a back 4 against Palace is beyond me (let alone why he played Elneny and Jenkinson)

I mentioned before that match back 3 is the way to go to both unleash our wingbacks further forward but also add the extra man at the back for caution.

Granted we were chasing against Palace but the moment we went to back 4, Mustafi’s game dissipated.

BUT it wasn’t just Mustafi, the next match against Wolves, we continued with back 4 and the supposedly much vaunted pairing of Koscielny-Sokratis. Guess what? Similar (if not worse) performance, plenty of systemic errors both defending set pieces but also in open play.

And again aaginst Leicester, back 4 plus a high line exposed us to yet another team adept at the quick transition and counter, all too eager to exploit our ‘offside trap’. The second goal from Vardy particularly damming.

We need to take care of some details, go back to a familiar system for the players and just get a mental grip.

Don’t make excuses for the players. They should have the strength of will to see through 4 matches 2 in league and 2 in Europa.