Journalist Adrian Clarke has claimed that Arsenal are at a major disadvantage over the next few days when it comes to their scheduling.
However, despite both being drawn away from home in the first leg, Spurs had their games with the Croatian side switched, meaning their first leg will now take place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
That means heading into this weekend’s north London derby, Spurs will have the added advantage of not having to deal with flying back just days before the clash on Sunday. And speaking on the Football Writers Podcast, Clarke felt that Arsenal can feel really hard done by and could even take their cases to the relevant authorities.
He said: “How can Arsenal not be at a major disadvantage for the north London Derby when they have to go to Athens on the same night that Tottenham get to stay at home? Tottenham have had a huge result here, no question about that, and Arsenal have grounds for complaint – but it is what it is, you have to get on with it, and Arsenal need to knuckle down and bounce back.”
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TIF Thoughts on Adrian Clarke’s comments about Arsenal’s fixture issues…
Clarke’s comments might have some legs to them if the north London Derby actually had something of consequence riding on it, other than pride, of course.
The narrative surrounding Arsenal for the rest of the season is that they need to focus all their efforts on the Europa League as their only hopes of qualifying for Europe next season – it’s something that head coach Mikel Arteta has even hinted at. As a result, the advantage was already realistically handed to Tottenham, because Premier League games are no longer the priority for Arsenal right now.
If the game had more on the line, say if both clubs were strongly vying for a top-four berth, then it might be more of a factor, but right now it’s more of a side note to the main narrative.