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Bournemouth v Arsenal: the complaints, life in the old days, and who could return tonight.

By Tony Attwood

Everyone, it seems, (other than those at Chelsea) is now complaining about the way the football fixtures have been sorted out.  Right at the start of the holiday period the bean counters at the Telegraph worked out not only how many days rest various clubs had but also how many miles they had to travel.  Chelsea won on both counts.

The problem is twofold.

First the production of the fixture list is a highly secret affair, and has none of the randomness built into it that was the case in by-gone years.  Worse, no one will admit to being part of the team that fixed the fixtures.

Second, TV then gets their hands on the games and selects the ones they want, to maximise their Xmas and New Year audiences – thus upping the amount of money they get in from advertisers.  It is the negotiators from the PL who set out what the TV stations can and can’t do, and they agreed to every demand, in return for more and more money.  So to a large degree, the clubs’ negotiators did this, and the TV stations will do the same next Christmas and New Year, when we will have the same situation, and the same complaints.

The only solution would be for the Premier League to have its own satellite TV channel, and to do the whole processing itself – while being quite open with the clubs about what it is up to.  I am told a channel on Astra and Eutelsat can be had for about £340,000 a year which is peanuts.  After that all you need is the ground based studio, a bunch of moppets as commentators and some camera crews.

Arsène Wenger said, “Honestly I don’t really know if the Premier League masters the fixtures.   In 20 years it is the most uneven Christmas period I’ve seen. The difference in rest period is unbelievable in terms of all the teams. It’s more we have sold the rights to TV for a lot of money so we have to accept TV chooses the games. But some teams have more luck than others.”

What we do know is that West Brom and Burnley are the only two clubs to play all three games exactly as planned, at 15:00 GMT, kicking off on Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and 2 January.

What is interesting is that amidst the chorus of complaints no one seems to know who actually handles the fixtures, and even more interestingly, the Premier League is not saying.  But the BBC tracked the number of hours taken from the start of a team’s first game to the end of their third game.  Considering all three games, Chelsea come out on top, and Arsenal don’t look too badly done by.

Club Minutes from start of 1st to end of 3rd game
1 Chelsea Roubles 223
2 Watford, Crystal Palace 201.5
3 Swansea 199
4 Arsenal, Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic 198.75
5 Stoke Repulsion 172.75
6 West Ham at the Athletics Stadium 172.5
7 Manchester Untidy 172.25
8 Burnley, Everton, Sunderland, Tiny Totts, West Bromwich China 170
9 Hull, Manchester Blues 167.75
10 Leicester shirtpull, Middlesbrough 167.5
11 Liverpool! 143.75
12 Southampton 117

Mind you it is not all the TV schedulers’ fault.  Southampton got three games in six days and only one was televised.

So what of the game, rather than its timing.  Mr Wenger said on that, “We go to a difficult place, Bournemouth. The good news is Jack Wilshere will not play but there are still enough good players to give any team problems.

“What’s happening in this league is all the big teams win against the smaller teams.”  And loathe as I am to contradict the master, that either means Liverpool! is a little team (an interesting thought) or Bournemouth is a big team (less likely).  But I interrupted.  He continued…

“Since November it is like that. The only moment where teams drop points is when they play against each other but that can change.

“Chelsea wins every single game, they are comfortable in front. We have to hang on and try to win and hope results turn in our favour. We had an exceptional run and in four games we lose two games. I hope it’s out of our system. But every game is so difficult.”

Mr Wenger has said he will make a late decision about Mesut Özil, adding, “Mesut is a bit better, he is in bed.   Will he be ready for selection? We will have to wait a bit more.”

What we can observe is that none of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey, Francis Coquelin and Shkodran Mustafi started against Palace and so each could start this game.  Certainly with Elneny now meeting up with his Egyptian teammates, we won’t see him for a few weeks.

It is possible that either or both of Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs could be available.  Up front Giroud could continue, having scored eight goals in the last six starts.  But Mr Wenger is known to like causing surprises to the opposition so if they are expecting Giroud up front, it could suddenly change and Alexis could return there.  But it also depends how Mr Wenger assesses the opposition.

Next up, the injuries, the style of play and the predicted line up and other such meanderings.

Untold Arsenal: 

Wenger ponders whether Yaya Sanogo will ever really be good enough for Arsenal. 

Bournemouth v Arsenal 3 January 2017 – The Match Officials. Beware a return to the old ways.

Disaster hits Arsenal as the number of players leaving rises to 13, and Wenger is off too.

Ref review Everton – Arsenal : the Clattenburg-Dean combination, a lethal one

The players Arsenal need this January – compared with what other PL clubs need

Arsenal – Crystal Palace 2-0: a good win to start the new year

2016: The year many of us realised football was utterly broken but the media continued to deny reality

New from the Arsenal History Society all the player histories indexed.  The AHS player histories tend to be more detailed than those on the official Arsenal site – especially for players from the early part of Arsenal’s history.  Now we are undertaking the huge task of indexing the main articles.  Players with surnames A to D have been linked to their main articles and we are continuing the task day by day.

 

8 comments to Bournemouth v Arsenal: the complaints, life in the old days, and who could return tonight.

  • Polo

    Felt sorry for West Ham, the ref incompetent helped ManU won that match. If Rojo previous two flying tackles wasn’t red card worthy how is West Ham player got red carded for his? Zlatan was offside when he scored the second goal.

    Let’s hope no controversial decisions go against Arsenal in the upcoming match.

  • Jimmy Gooner

    Ironically the Fixture Secretary at the Premier League is an Arsenal ST Holder. I’m not saying the scheduling of our games is all his doing because as you rightly point out the TV companies rule the roost and what they say goes unless the police intervene and that’s pretty rare thesedays.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Let me first say, in as much as I don’t accept my MTN Nigeria network & internet server cutting me off at some occasions as my Nokia C3 will on it’s own switched off for some seconds and switched on again after, but my internet connection is lost in the process of my typing my comment for posting, I have to live with it. But I am annoyed with MTN.

    Before I got internetly disconnected when I was typing my last comment for posting on the last article tread which was aborted, I was trying to tell Le Prof that I’ve lost my interest in advising him to trade one of his surplus to requirement right backs for Dimitri Payet of West Ham. Because he did not convince me in his performance yesterday in the match between West Ham and Man Utd that he can help Arsenal to get back to the promised land.

    However, Le Prof could pursue the signing of the 26 year old Bosnian Miralem Pjanic, an attacking midfielder at Juventus if he is convincing to add top quality option to Arsenal’s midfield which has been under staffed by one midfielder all along this season.

    Elneny is off to Afcon and Cazorla is still sidelined with injury and with the intermittent hamstring injury sufferer Ramsey and Ozil now having a flu, these are genuine reasons for Le Prof to consider to bring in another top quality midfielder to fill any arising void in our midfield when the need calls for that.

    Our PL title campaign should not suffer a blip again which it has already suffered at Everton and Man City this season with loses. In this hotly contested PL title charge this season by teams that are hot in their games, even a draw game by Arsenal now may not be good for us as the League campaign hotly contested by the hot teams presently stands. Talkless of us to suffer another lose that could see us out of this season’s title race. A draw game or a lose should not be contemplated to be suffered by Arsenal during this period of the tightly hot title campaign.

    Therefore, if Le Prof has the money in his winter transfer kitty that can buy Pjanic this January window and he wants to buy him for Arsenal, let him buy him now if Juve will sell him to us maybe buy him with a right back given to Juventus plus cash in a kind of trade by batter signing may do the trick.

  • colario

    @Polo
    The decisions were not controversial. They were wrong.

  • That is an interesting point. I have just been a-searching the internet and there is no reference anywhere to the Premier League having a fixture secretary. Can you supply a name, or a source of the information.

  • Tony Attwood

    Just found an article on the Arsenal History Society site “When Arsenal played four games in five days”

    They were men in them days.

    http://www.blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk/archives/2873

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    I think if I am not wrong but correct. There used to be a book compiler or compilers that used to compile the old first division and the lower League divisions match schedules on which the football annual used by the coupon markers based their compilation too.

    Save any match postponement due to bad weather ot frozen pitches, the match schedules so compiled are played to the letter without any glitch in match scheduling or complains by clubs as everything is fairly and evenly done.

    But with the advent of the Premier League coming up, big money making venture has set in that turns the Premier League into a world huge money making spinning machine for clubs & the owners, managers, staffs, players and the TV matches broadcasters.

    How I wish I am or was in one of this categories to be making or have made realtime money which would have enabled me financially to be living comfortably now instead of me managing to live as am presently living. Just imagine, I bought a secondhand 12 volts/62 amps car battery from a guy for my car on new year day with a promise to pay him today but I haven’t. And he has called me asking for his money and I told him to be patient till tomorrow Wednesday. I will have to sumup courage to get money from the little I have left in my account at the bank tomorrow to pay #10,000:00 for the battery and use another #6,000:00 from the #18,000:00 I will collect to recharge my Dstv subscription that will expired on the 8th of this month otherwise I will not be able to watch Arsenal and that will be a killer blow to me if it happens.

    Why can’t the FA or the Football League management board opt out of the current PL matches live TV broadcasting deals they are having currently with Sky Sports and BT Sports since the broadcasting arrangements with these duo TV stations is causing problems for some PL clubs like Arsenal. And try to have their own satellite TV station on Astra or Eutelsat established to be broadcasting the PL matches live on the cheap from their satellite channels as you have Why can’t the FA o

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    I ended my last comment posting with ‘as you have indicated’ and I saw it typed before I posted. How come the last 14 letters came at the end my comment posting I don’t know.