Chelsea boss Frank Lampard was left reeling after seeing the Blues’ Premier League fixture schedule, and compared his side’s situation to that of Manchester United and Liverpool.
Chelsea will take on Arsenal on Boxing Day in the evening fixture, before hosting Aston Villa on Monday night in the evening game.
That means Lampard will have to prepare his players to play 180 minutes of football within just 48 hours.
In contrast, United drew with Leicester City in the Boxing Day lunchtime kickoff, and won’t have to play again until 8pm on Tuesday.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s players will have more than a day more to prepare than Lampard’s will, and the Blues boss believes he’s been dealt a poor card by the fixture schedule.
Speaking before taking his side to face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, Lampard tore into the decision and said it will be harmful to the players to expect them to play so much football in such a short period of time.
He explained his frustration by noting that there will be a heightened risk of injury for all players expected to play so much.
"It's two games in two days, 48 hours," Lampard said. “I'm not trying to be clever, it's an important point for us because there are other teams that are challenging at the top of the league that play two games in three days.
"Manchester United, Tottenham, Liverpool play two games in three or four days. It's counterproductive for the quality of the Premier League, it's a risk for players if they are going to play both games at top-end elite sport, everybody knows that.
"And I know clearly what happened with this one as well; the game's being broadcast live as they all are now. And we play Arsenal on Boxing Day, and our game with Man City now has been pushed to the Sunday [January 3].
"So the schedule meant that we couldn't play, and Aston Villa also wanted to play on the Tuesday, they wanted an extra day, and so did we. But we got overruled by both the Premier League and the broadcasters.
"I know in conjunction with each other, and this was bounced around, it got decided that we play twice in 48 hours when other teams that are challenging at the top of the league play twice in three days.
"I don't see how it's a fair playing field, I think it's wrong and it's not going to be the best for the players that play at the top level. Don't get me wrong, Aston Villa have the same problem. Us playing them, we'll both have the same problems.
"But I'm just saying we are not getting the same rest period that other teams are getting. It's not good even for the players to go out and train let alone play to a high level of 90 minutes. Everybody in the Premier League knows that."
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