Mikel Arteta says it is impossible to accomplish both protecting the welfare of the players and ensuring the integrity of competition during the festive period in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A spate of postponements over the festive period have brought the dense match schedule during the holiday period into focus once more, and Arteta says it is impossible to protect both the welfare of the players and the integrity of competition.
“We had a managers' meeting where we tried to expose our feelings and the situation but the decisions are already made so now we're not going to change that,” began Arteta.
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"I basically said we are discussing two things, which is the welfare of the players and the integrity of the competition.
In this situation I think we are wasting our time when you are trying to accomplish both of them, because then people are saying you have to use common sense, and common sense again in this situation doesn't work.
“So whether we change the rules, we change the (Covid-19) testing system, we change whatever, we change or we cannot continue to do that, trying to achieve those two things, because it's just impossible."
Arteta is not the only manager to lament the heavy workload asked of players, with Brendan Rodgers and Jurgen Klopp speaking out in recent days.
It’s a ridiculous schedule,” said Leicester boss Rodgers.
“We all know that players aren’t fully recovered for 72 hours after a game, so for us to be playing on a Tuesday against Liverpool, it is ridiculous.
However, we have to play the game so there will be virtually no physical work, just recovery and then we’ll look at video images and prepare.
Klopp said that the Premier League’s unwillingness to reintroduce the rule that allowed five substitutes only served to compound the issue.

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"We wanted to play on Boxing Day, we could have played on Boxing Day no problem at all," said Klopp.
“But then to play the 26th and 28th is just not right. I think you can find solutions for that. It's not that difficult to play in a slightly different way, 26th (then) 29th, where's the problem, some teams are doing that."
"[This] is the best league in the world, most intense league in the world is the only league in Europe and maybe the world, I don't know, we still have three subs."
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