Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has hit out on the schedule of his side, claiming that holding games against Arsenal and Aston Villa hands an advantage to his side’s title rivals within a time of 48 hours.
For both matches, against Arsenal on Boxing Day and Villa on Monday, which take place in a season that already has a shortened schedule because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Blues will be unable to play their best XI.
Lampard holds both the Premier League and the broadcasters to account for not seeking a compromise that gives teams at the top of the table a fairer playing field.
Lampard said, “It’s two games in two days, 48 hours,” I’m not trying to be smart, it’s an important point for us because there are other teams at the top of the league that is challenging and plays two matches in three days.
And I know precisely what has happened to this one; the game is being broadcast live like they are all now. And on Boxing Day, we play Arsenal, and our game with Man City has now been moved to Sunday (January 3).
So the timetable meant we couldn’t play, and Aston Villa wanted to play on Tuesday as well, and they wanted an extra day, and so did we. But both the Premier League and the networks have overruled us.
I know that together, and this bounced around, it was determined that we would play twice in 48 hours while other difficult teams at the top of the league would play twice in three days.
I don’t see how fair play is, I think it’s wrong and it’s not going to be the best for the top-level teams. Don’t get me wrong, there’s the same problem with Aston Villa. We’re going to have the same problems with playing them, we’re all going to have the same problems.
But I’m just suggesting that we don’t have the same rest time that other teams have. Even for the players to go out and practice, let alone play for a high level of 90 minutes, it’s not healthy. Everybody knows that in the Premier League.”
Lampard has acknowledged that he would have to field a heavily rotated side on Monday against Villa after the match against the Gunners because of the schedule.