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

Arsenal make the trip to face Chelsea at the very unusual time of 12:00 GMT on Sunday, November 6.

Several Premier League games this season have raised eyebrows among fans as their teams have had to play at times unfamiliar to the typical weekend schedule.

here, Athletics explains the reason for the timing of Sunday’s London derby.

What are the traditional Premier League kick-off times?

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

Due to English blackout law, the 3pm games following Saturday cannot be broadcast in the UK. Since that cutoff is lifted at 5:15 p.m., a Saturday Night Football game will usually start a quarter of an hour later.

Then on Sunday, Sky Sports usually runs two Super Sunday matches, kicking off at 2.30pm and 4.30pm. In the weekends following European midweeks, there will be more matches on Sunday, which, this season, include Arsenal, Manchester United and West Ham. Also sometimes there will be a Monday night football game which always starts at 8pm.

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What is the reason for the different television start times?

In this particular scenario, the match has had to be moved to earlier on Sunday due to Arsenal’s Europa League commitments. The game is being shown live on BT Sport, but the game cannot be played at the usual 12.30pm Saturday time because 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 knockout stages of the Europa League but will be keen to avoid a play-off against one of the relegated sides in the Champions League; Matching the PSV result will guarantee them first place.

The turnaround between Thursday night’s clash and a possible Saturday lunchtime fixture is very 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 featured on Sunday.

Have start times been criticized before?

Yes, some managers of clubs competing in the Premier League and in Europe have expressed their disappointment at certain times of the start. Arteta was actually one of those who criticized Saturday’s 12.30pm kick-off last season.

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After being beaten by Liverpool on a Wednesday night in March, Arsenal had to prepare for the opening weekend’s trip to Aston Villa. They were able to win the match 1-0 to strengthen their position in the top four at the time but, before the match, the Spaniard was not happy.

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

Jurgen Klopp has also been a critic of this particular meeting. In the midst of Liverpool’s failed quadruple attack last season, his side were due to continue Wednesday night’s Champions League semi-final at Villarreal with a Saturday lunchtime trip to Newcastle.

Has Sunday 12pm been used before?

Yes. The only other time it has been used this season was another Arsenal game; Their 3-0 win away to Brentford in mid-September.

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In addition, it is one of the most 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 match was given a separate 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 matches to be played at midday on Sunday. The fixtures 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 Sunday.

However, as soon as the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League knockout matches start to be played, it can be used again.

(Photo: Getty Images)


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