Arsenal travel against Chelsea on Sunday 6 November at 12:00 GMT.
A number of Premier League games this season have already caused quite a stir among fans as their teams have had to play at times unknown for the typical weekend schedule.
Here, the athlete explains the reason behind the timing of Sunday’s London derby.
What are the traditional Premier League kick-off times?
Regular viewers of English football could probably recite the weekly Premier League schedule by heart. The weekend usually starts at 12:30pm on a Saturday, with BT Sport holding the rights to that particular slot. That is, of course, unless a game has been selected for Friday Night Football, which usually kicks off at 8pm in front of Sky Sports’ cameras.
Due to English football blackout law, the following 3pm matches on a Saturday cannot be broadcast in the UK. Because that blackout clears at 5:15 p.m., a Saturday Night Football game typically starts fifteen minutes later.
On Sunday, Sky Sports then usually covers two Super Sunday games, starting at 2pm and 4.30pm. Weekends that follow the European midweek see more games played on Sundays, which this season feature Arsenal, Manchester United and West Ham. Sometimes there is also a Monday Night Football game, which always starts at 8 p.m.
What is the reason for the different kick-off times on TV?
In this particular scenario, the game had to be rescheduled to early Sunday due to Arsenal’s Europa League commitments. The game is being shown live on BT Sport but the game cannot be played at its usual 12.30pm Saturday pitch as the Gunners are in action on Thursday night.
24 hours after Chelsea’s hosts Dinamo Zagreb, FC Zurich meet Arsenal in the Emirates in London. Mikel Arteta’s side have qualified for the Europa League knockout rounds but are aiming to avoid a play-off against one of the relegated Champions League sides; A matching PSV result guarantees them first place.
The turnaround between Thursday night’s clash and a possible game on Saturday lunchtime is too short and it would be unreasonable to expect the current Premier League leaders to play on those days. Instead, they are given an extra day to recover and prepare, with the game being played and screened on Sunday instead.
Have kick-off times been criticized in the past?
Yes, several managers from clubs competing in the Premier League and Europe have expressed frustration at certain kick-off times. Arteta was actually one of those who criticized the 12.30pm Saturday opener last season.
After being beaten by Liverpool on a Wednesday night in March, Arsenal had to prepare for the early weekend trip to Aston Villa. They managed to win the game 1-0 to cement their place in the top four, but going into the game the Spaniard wasn’t happy.
He said: “Thank you to the Premier League for doing that and they did it again when we have to play Chelsea and Manchester United. So if you want to give them an advantage, I say to them today, thank you very much for doing that.”
Arteta is furious at the short turnaround to Villa and the reshuffling of fixtures, meaning they face Chelsea and United within days.
“Thank you Premier League… That’s not fair.”
— gunnerblog (@gunnerblog) March 16, 2022
Jurgen Klopp was also a critic of this particular game plan. Amid Liverpool’s ultimately failed quadruple attack last season, his side were forced to travel to Newcastle on Wednesday night following Saturday’s midday Champions League semi-final against Villarreal.
Klopp on the game against Villarreal Wed/Tue with Sat 12.30 p.m. in Newcastle between: “If you want to cause us problems, send us to Newcastle at 12.30 p.m. The league and the broadcaster should try to help. Nobody from BT has contacted me yet. Common sense would say it is right to postpone it.”
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceLFC) April 14, 2022
Has the Sunday 12:00 slot ever been used?
Yes. The only other time it was used this season was at another Arsenal game. their 3-0 away win against Brentford in mid-September.
That being said, it’s one of the more unusual kick-off times in the Premier League. The only other time it was used with any frequency was during the Covid-hit 2020-21 season when each game was given an individual TV slot.
Will it be used again?
With no more European football taking place until February, there are no plans for any of the other confirmed televised fixtures to be played on Sunday lunchtime. Matches through to the end of the festive season have all been confirmed and fans will be happy to know that none of them will be played on a 12pm Sunday.
However, as soon as the knockout matches in the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League are played, it can be used again.
(Photo: Getty Images)