Fixture planners frustrate Wenger

Arsene Wenger expressed his frustration with the Premier League fixture planners and Wolves boss Mick McCarthy after his side were held at Burnley last night.

The Gunners suffered a setback in their title bid as the Clarets came from behind to claim a 1-1 draw at Turf Moor.

Wenger was angered that his team had been playing while their opponents on Saturday, Hull, were not in action due to Everton’s Europa League commitments.

The Frenchman also turned his ire on McCarthy, who fielded an under-strength side against Arsenal’s title rivals Manchester United on Tuesday and were soundly beaten 3-0.

Wenger said: “I think the Premier League has a basic promise to organise the fixtures in a normal way.

“The guy who organised the fixtures this season must have come out of a special school, because he is more intelligent than I am!

“For sure, he has never played football, organising midweek games in a week when you have a Europa League (programme).

“We have some teams who do not play at all. We play Sunday and Wednesday away and at home on Saturday against Hull, who have not played all week.”

On the subject of McCarthy’s team selection, the long-serving Gunners manager was equally forthright.

He said: “We compete with Manchester United over 37 games instead of 38.

“I believe it is a problem for the international credibility of the Premier League, but it is not my problem, it is a Premier League problem.”

In a further blow for the Gunners, captain Cesc Fabregas was forced off with a hamstring injury before half-time and will definitely miss the Hull clash.

The Wolves issue also affects Burnley as Owen Coyle’s men, after a draining midweek run-out, now travel to Molineux to a face a presumably well-rested side on Sunday.

Coyle, however, was unwilling to criticise McCarthy.

“If that is the motivation for Wolves, to galvanise them, then so be it,” he said.

“Mick McCarthy is an outstanding manager and fantastic man, somebody I have a lot of time for.

“He has done a fantastic job at Wolves and does what he sees fit for Wolverhampton.

“They have not been found wanting under his tenure so far.”

The game itself was a compelling affair with multiple chances at either end, starting in the second minute when Arsenal’s Thomas Vermaelen almost headed into his own net.

Fabregas then struck after seven minutes, narrowly missed with another attempt and Andrey Arshavin hit the post.

Burnley replied with Graham Alexander’s 100th league goal, a penalty, and Chris Eagles hit the post. Steven Fletcher also had a goal ruled out for offside.

Coyle added: “It was a very valuable point, no doubt. Both sides will feel at different stages they could have taken all three.

“The lads showed real character, dug in and got back into the game. They really took the game to Arsenal.”

Wenger had no complaints about the result given Burnley’s performance.

“They gave absolutely everything,” he said.

“They deserved it, they showed the right commitment.”

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