PREM chiefs were left with a further fixtures headache after the Champions League last 16 draw.
League bosses had hoped to be able to catch up some of the outstanding matches postponed in the wake of The Queen’s death in September.
But with Spurs and Liverpool pooled in the same “half” of the Champions League draw for TV purposes, those matches cannot now be rescheduled until the back end of March.
If Tottenham and City had been paired together, it would have allowed them to play their postponed game at the Etihad in February or early-March.
But the draw means there are now no free weeks until the end of March.
That’s because their last 16 ties will be played across four weeks, with the Carabao Cup and the possibility of FA Cup replays filling up that period.
At least City’s game against Arsenal, which was postponed so the Gunners could fit in their delayed Europa League tie with PSV, can now be pencilled in for the week starting February 13, with the match due to be screened by Amazon Prime rather than BT Sport.
Manchester United, two fixtures behind, have no vacant dates so far available for their matches against Crystal Palace and Leeds.
This comes after Erik ten Hag’s side could only finish second in their Europa League group, meaning they have two extra games to come against Barcelona in the play-off round.
United needed to beat Real Sociedad by two goals and looked on do exactly that when Alejandro Garnacho swept home his first professional goal.
But the Red Devils could only match the Spanish club’s 1-0 win at Old Trafford back in September and paid the ultimate price when they were drawn against Barca.