MIKEL ARTETA has called on the Premier League to scrap Saturday lunchtime kick-offs for teams involved in Wednesday night games.

The Arsenal boss is unhappy with the timing of tomorrow’s 12.30 trip to Aston Villa just 63 hours after their midweek defeat by Manchester City.

Mikel Arteta has complained about being given the Saturday lunchtime game

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Mikel Arteta has complained about being given the Saturday lunchtime gameCredit: Alamy

And now he wants Prem bosses to extend the protection they give to the Champions League teams to every club.

He complained: “There are certain rules with the Champions League teams. When you are playing on Wednesday night, you cannot play on Saturday lunchtime.

“So I think that should apply to any competition.

“It’s been discussed at the managers’ meetings and I think that is why the changes were made towards the Champions League teams.

“If you follow the same principle physiologically, it is very difficult to turn around in that period to get the best outcome and reduce the injury risk for players.”

Premier League chiefs changed their kick-off rule for the teams involved in the Champions League in May 2021 following a rant from Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.

But it doesn’t apply to domestic fixtures selected by BT Sport for their 12.30 Saturday slot.

And now Arteta fears his team could pay the price as they look to end a run of four games without a win which has seen them surrender first place in the table for the first time since August.

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He said: “They put the schedule together the way they did and it’s a bit unusual, but it is what it is.

“The players are highly motivated for tomorrow’s game because we want to perform well and win.”

Thomas Partey will again be sidelined after missing the City match with a back injury but Emile Smith Rowe has recovered from a thigh problem and should be back in the squad.



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