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

Arsenal travel to face Chelsea at 12pm GMT on Sunday, November 6.

Some Premier League games this season have raised eyebrows among supporters because their teams will play at odd times like the regular weekend schedule.

Here, The Athletic explain why after Sunday’s London derby.

What are the traditional Premier League kick-off times?

Regular viewers of English football can read the Premier League’s weekly schedule by heart. The weekend usually starts at 12.30pm on Saturday with BT Sport having the rights to that slot. That is, of course, if a game is not selected for Thursday’s Friday kick-off at 8pm in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

Due to the British blackmail law, 3pm matches on Saturdays cannot be broadcast in the UK. As darkness falls at 5.15pm, the Saturday Football game will normally start a quarter of an hour later.

Then, on Sunday, Sky Sports usually plays two Super Sunday games starting at 2pm and 4.30pm. In the weekends that succeed in the center of Europe, there will be more games on Sunday about this season against Arsenal, Manchester United and West Ham. There is also a Monday Night Football game which always starts at 8pm.

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What is the purpose of television kick-off times?

In this scenario, the game should be moved to the first Sunday slot due to Arsenal’s qualification for the Europa League. 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 working on Thursday night.

24 hours after Chelsea host Dinamo Zagreb, FC Zurich will be in London against Arsenal at the Emirates. Mikel Arteta’s side have qualified for the Europa League group stage but will want to avoid a game against one of the relegated Champions League sides; the result of the PSV will guarantee them the top position.

The transition between Friday’s fixture and a Saturday lunchtime game is so short that it would be unfair to expect the Premier League leaders to play these days. But they have another day to recover and prepare with the game being played, and revealed, on Sunday.

Are kick-off times already condemned?

Well, some managers of clubs competing in the Premier League and in Europe have expressed their displeasure at some kick-off times. Arteta was one of those who criticized Saturday’s 12:30 kick-off last season.

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After being beaten by Liverpool on Wednesday evening in March, Arsenal must prepare themselves for the weekend’s first trip to Aston Villa. They were able to win the game 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 very much to the Premier League, do that and they did it again when we play Chelsea and Manchester United, so if they want to give them some advantage, I tell them to Today, thank you very much for doing that.

Even Jurgen Klopp is a critic of that competitive slot. Amidst Liverpool’s last-gasp quadruple charge last season, his side had to follow up Wednesday evening’s Champions League semi-final trip to Villarreal with a Saturday afternoon trip to Newcastle.

Is the Sunday 12pm slot already taken?

Yes. The other time it was used this season was in one of the Arsenal games; their 3-0 win against Brentford in mid-September.

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Apart from that, it is one of the Premier League kick-off times. The only other time it was used with any frequency was during the period affected by Covid-2020-21 when each game was given to a single TV box.

Will it be used again?

With no European football until February, there are no plans for televised matches to be played in the Sunday afternoon slot. The games have been scheduled until the end of the festive season and supporters will be happy to hear that none of them will be played at 12pm on Sunday.

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

(Photo: Getty Images)


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