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Premier League

Fixture chaos for Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea - where they can fit postponed games in before World Cup

09:17 SAST 2022/09/14
Premier League fixture chaos
An already congested Premier League, Champions League and Europa League calendar has just got a whole lot worse for leading clubs

Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea are facing a major fixture pile-up in the second half of the season because of postponements following the death of the Queen.

All four clubs have seen two games called off either as a mark of respect or due to policing issues. And with the World Cup set to bring a halt to top flight football for over a month from November to December, it will be extremely difficult to rearrange fixtures before the tournament kicks off in Qatar without making potentially contentious compromises.

  • Virgil van Dijk Liverpool FA Cup final 2021-22

    What can be done?

    The Football Association is already considering scrapping replays in the third and fourth rounds of the FA Cup, as has been the case in the past two seasons, in response to the disruption caused by Covid.

    While that will help avoid a further backlog after Christmas, the mid-season World Cup means the top clubs were already left with very little room for manoeuvre if there were unforeseen disruptions, such as the death of the Queen.

  • Queen Elizabeth II West Ham

    The postponed fixtures

    All Premier League and EFL games were called off last weekend as a mark of respect - but the decision did prompt a backlash in some quarters, particularly as other sporting events went ahead.

    The situation for United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea has been further complicated by fresh postponements this week.

    Arsenal’s Europa League tie with PSV Eindhoven, due to take place on Thursday, will now not go ahead because of “severe limitations on police resources and organisational issues related to the ongoing events surrounding the national mourning for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” Uefa confirmed this week.

    United’s clash with Leeds on Sunday has also been called off, due to “Greater Manchester Police supporting forces across the United Kingdom at locations and events of high significance following the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.”

    Chelsea were due to play Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Sunday - but that has now been postponed.

    Brighton v Crystal Palace is also off - but with neither club in European competition, there will be less of an impact on their schedules.

  • What they said:

    The Premier League: “Following extensive consultation with clubs, police, local Safety Advisory Groups and other relevant authorities, there was no other option but to postpone the three fixtures.

    “The Premier League would like to thank the UK Football Policing Unit and other police forces across the country, as well as our broadcast partners, for their support during this process, and will continue to liaise with them ahead of the weekend.

    “For the matches being played during the period of National Mourning, tributes will be paid to The Queen at Premier League stadiums.  

    “New dates for the postponed matches will be announced in due course.”

    Manchester United: “The club reiterates that the safety and security of our fans is paramount and, after considering all available options, we are supportive of the decision that was made in conjunction with the relevant authorities.

    “We appreciate the disappointment and inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your understanding and continued support.”

  • Erik ten Hag Manchester United Sociedad 2022-23

    Man Utd's options

    The postponements create a major issue for clubs involved in Europe, with all of those teams facing weekend and midweek games right up to the World Cup.

    The upcoming international break presents another obstacle to squeezing fixtures into an already rammed schedule.

    Should any of those games be arranged before Qatar, it would almost certainly mean playing twice in 48 hours.

    If that were to be the case, United might look at Tuesday October 25, which follows a rare Saturday fixture for them against Chelsea.

    They then face Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League at Old Trafford on the Thursday, before another home game against West Ham on the Sunday.

    Such a congested week would not be well-received by United - but top flight clubs faced similar schedules during the campaigns disrupted by Covid in recent years.

  • Jurgen-Klopp

    Liverpool's options

    Liverpool face the same problems and Thursday October 6 looks like a potential opportunity.

    That would come after a home Champions League tie with Rangers on the Tuesday and before a visit to Arsenal on the Sunday.

    How eager they would be to insert another game in between two such intense fixtures as Rangers and Arsenal, remains to be seen.

  • Mikel Arteta Arsenal Manchester United 2022-23

    Arsenal's options

    Arsenal might look to squeeze a rearranged game in as early as Tuesday October 4 - straight after the international break.

    They play Tottenham in the North London derby on the previous Saturday - and then host Bodo Glimt in the Europa League on the Thursday.

    While they do play this weekend, their schedule is complicated by the fact that they have to find room for another European game, which will also involve co-ordinating with the Dutch league to find opportunities to play PSV.

  • Graham Potter

    Chelsea's options

    Thursday October 13 could be an option for Chelsea - but that would come just 48 hours after playing AC Milan in Italy. They then face Aston Villa away on the Sunday.

    None of the options are ideals for the clubs involved - but compromises are going to have to be made at some point in the season.

    The Premier League resumes on Boxing Day, with games coming thick and fast from then on.

    The FA Cup starts on January 7, 2023, with three games scheduled between Boxing Day and then.

  • What Premier League games will go ahead this weekend?

    Fixture

    Postponed?

    Aston Villa vs Southampton

    No

    Nottingham Forest vs Fulham

    No

    Wolves vs Man City

    No

    Newcastle vs Bournemouth

    No

    Brighton vs Crystal Palace

    Yes

    Tottenham vs Leicester

    No

    Brentford vs Arsenal

    No

    Man Utd vs Leeds

    Yes

    Everton vs West Ham

    No

    Chelsea vs Liverpool

    Yes