Arsenal take on Chelsea at the very unusual time of 12pm GMT on Sunday 6th November.
A few Premier League games this season have already caused concern among fans as their teams have been forced to play at times that are unfamiliar as far as the regular weekend schedule goes.
Here, Athletes Explains the reason for the timing of Sunday’s London derby.
What is the traditional start time of the Premier League?
Casual English football watchers can probably recite the Premier League’s weekly schedule by heart. The weekend usually kicks off at 12.30pm on a Saturday and BT Sport has the right to use that particular slot. That is, of course, unless a game has been selected for Friday Night Football kicking off at 8pm in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
Due to English football’s blackout rule, Saturday’s 3pm shows cannot be broadcast in the UK. Because the blackout is lifted at 5:15 p.m., a Saturday Night Football game usually starts a quarter of an hour later.
Then, on Sunday, Sky Sports usually runs two Super Sunday games starting at 2pm and 4.30pm. In the weekend that replaces the European midweek, more games are played on Sunday, this season featuring Arsenal, Manchester United and West Ham. There is also the occasional Monday Night Football game, which always starts at 8pm.
What is the reason for the different TV broadcast times?
In this particular scenario, the game would have to be moved to early Sunday due to Arsenal’s Europa League commitments. The game will be shown live on BT Sport but the game cannot be played in its usual 12.30 Saturday slot as the Gunners are playing on Thursday night.
24 hours after Chelsea host Dinamo Zagreb, FC Zurich take on Arsenal at the Emirates in London. Mikel Arteta’s side have qualified for the knockout stages of the Europa League but will want to avoid a play-off against one of the relegated Champions League sides. A match with PSV’s result will guarantee first place.
The turnaround between a Thursday night clash and a possible 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 underway and show off on Sunday instead.
Has the game start time been criticized before?
Yes, several managers of clubs competing in the Premier League and in Europe have expressed their frustration with kick-off at certain times. Arteta was actually one of those who started criticizing last season from 12.30pm on Saturday.
After defeating Liverpool on a Wednesday evening in March, Arsenal had to prepare for the weekend’s first trip to Aston Villa. They managed to win the match 1-0 to cement their place in fourth place in the table at the time, but before the game the Spaniard was not happy.
He said: “I’m very grateful to the Premier League for doing that and they’ve done it again when we’ve got to play Chelsea and Manchester United, so if they want to give them points I’ll say to them today, thank you very much. doing it.”
Arteta will make a brief return to Villa, and the re-arrangement means they will face Chelsea and United in the space of a few days.
“Thank you very much Premier League… it’s not fair.”
— gunnerblog (@gunnerblog) March 16, 2022
Jurgen Klopp has also been a critic of this particular game. Amid Liverpool’s four final defeats last season, his side had to follow up Wednesday night’s Champions League semi-final at Villarreal with a Saturday lunchtime trip to Newcastle.
Klopp on Wednesday/Tuesday’s 12.30 Saturday 12.30 game with Villarreal at Newcastle: “If you want to cause us problems, send us to 12.30 at Newcastle. The league and the broadcasters must try to help . No one from BT has contacted me yet. Common sense says you should move it.”
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceLFC) April 14, 2022
Has the Sunday 12 midnight slot been used before?
Yeah. The only other time it was used this season was another Arsenal game. Their 3-0 win away to Brentford in mid-September.
Other than that, it’s one of the more unusual Premier League kick-off times. The only other time it has been used with any frequency was during the Covid-affected 2020–21 season, when each game was given a dedicated TV slot.
Will it be used again?
With no more European football until February, there are no plans for any of the confirmed televised matches to be played at midday on Sunday. The fixtures until the end of the festive period have all been confirmed and fans may be pleased to hear that none of them will be played at 12pm on Sunday.
However, it may be used again when the knockout games in the Champions League, Europa League and Europa League begin to be played.
(Photo: Getty Images)