Why is Chelsea vs Arsenal kicking off at 12pm on a Sunday?

Arsenal make the trip to Chelsea at the very unusual time of 12pm GMT on Sunday 6 November.

A couple of Premier League games this season have raised eyebrows among supporters as their teams have to play at times unfamiliar to the typical weekend schedule.

here, The athletic Explains the reason behind the timing of Sunday’s London derby.

What are the traditional Premier League kick-off times?

Regular viewers of English football would probably be able to tell the Premier League’s weekly schedule by heart. The weekend usually kicks off at 12.30pm on a Saturday with BT Sport holding the rights to that particular slot. That is, of course, unless a game is selected for Friday Night Football which tends to kick off at 8pm in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

Due to the English football blackout law, the 3pm fixtures that come on a Saturday cannot be broadcast in the UK. When the blackout lifts at 5:15 p.m., a Saturday Night Football game will typically start a quarter of an hour later.

Then on Sunday, Sky Sports usually takes two Super Sunday games starting at 2pm and 4.30pm. On weekends that are successful in European midweeks, there will be more games on a Sunday which, this season, involve Arsenal, Manchester United and West Ham. There will also sometimes be a Monday Night Football game which always kicks off at 8pm.

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What is the reason for the different TV kick-off times?

In this particular scenario, the game had to be moved to the early Sunday slot because of Arsenal’s Europa League commitments. The game is shown live on BT Sport but the game cannot be played in their usual 12.30 Saturday slot as the Gunners are in action on Thursday night.

24 hours after Chelsea host Dinamo Zagreb, FC Zurich are in London to face Arsenal at the Emirates. Mikel Arteta’s side have qualified for the Europa League knockout stage but will want to avoid a play-off against one of the demoted Champions League sides; Matching PSV’s result will guarantee them top spot.

The turnaround between the Thursday night clash and a potential Saturday lunchtime game is too short and it would be unreasonable to expect the current Premier League leaders to play on those days. Instead, they get an extra day to recover and prepare with the game being played and shown on Sunday instead.

Have kick-off times been criticized before?

Yes, some managers of clubs competing in the Premier League and in Europe have expressed their frustration at certain kick-off times. Arteta was actually one of those to criticize the 12:30 Saturday kick-off last season.

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After being beaten by Liverpool on a Wednesday evening back in March, Arsenal had to prepare for the early weekend trip to Aston Villa. They were able to win the match 1-0 to strengthen their hold on a top-four spot at the time, but before the game, the Spaniard was not happy.

He said: “Thank you so much to the Premier League, for doing this and they did it again when we had to play Chelsea and Manchester United, so if they want to give them any advantage, I say to them today, thank you so much for doing it. “

Jurgen Klopp has also been a critic of this particular fixture slot. In the midst of Liverpool’s ultimately failed quadruple charge last season, his side had to follow Wednesday evening’s Champions League semi-final visit of Villarreal with a Saturday lunchtime trip to Newcastle.

Has the Sunday 12:00 slot been used before?

Yes. The only other time it was used this season was another of Arsenal’s games; Their 3-0 away win against Brentford in mid-September.

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Apart from that, this is one of the more unusual Premier League kick-off times. The only other time it was used with any frequency was during the Covid-affected 2020-21 season when each game was given an individual TV slot.

Will it be used again?

With no more European football until February, there are no plans for any of the other confirmed televised games to be played in the midday Sunday slot. The games until the end of the festive period have all been confirmed and supporters may be pleased to hear that none of them will be played at 12pm on a Sunday.

However, once the knockout matches in the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League started to be played, it could be used again.

(Photo: Getty Images)


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