Manchester City: Champions speak to Premier League about festive kick-off times

By Simon StoneBBC Sport
Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola
Manchester City will kick off their second match during the festive period just 46 hours 15 minutes after their first, while Liverpool have 68 hours 30 minutes between their two kick-off times

Manchester City have spoken to the Premier League about their Christmas fixture programme after being asked to play twice in less than 48 hours.

City have just 46 hours 15 minutes between the start of their matches at Wolves on 27 December and at home to Sheffield United on 29 December.

The Blades have 75 hours from kick-off at their 26 December home match with Watford to the start of the City game.

"I wrote a letter to the Premier League to say thank you," said Guardiola.

It is not thought that City actually wrote a letter but it is understood they made several representations about the situation to the Premier League.

With Christmas fixtures staggered for television, some teams are finding they have less time to prepare for fixtures than their opponents.

But aside from City, the only other Premier League team at such a disadvantage in terms of time to prepare for their second Christmas fixture are Wolves.

There will be 44 hours 45 minutes between the start of their match against City and their game away to Liverpool on 29 December. By contrast, Liverpool - who play at Leicester on 26 December - have 68 hours and 30 minutes between the start of their two matches.

Teams' festive kick-off times and gap between matches
Team26 Dec*27 Dec*28 Dec*29 Dec*Turnaround time**
Manchester City19:4518:0046:15
Aston Villa15:0015:0048
Crystal Palace15:0015:0048
Manchester United17:3019:4550:15
West Ham15:0017:3050:30
Chelsea 15:0014:0071
Sheffield United15:0018:0075

*All kick-off times are GMT. **Time in hours and minutes between kick-offs

"We are going to the fridge after we have played Wolves to get ready for Sheffield United," said Guardiola.

The one benefit from City's fixture programme is that Guardiola has been able to give his players Christmas Day morning off to spend with their families.

By the time they go to Wolves, Guardiola hopes Leicester will have become the first side this season to beat Liverpool in the Premier League.

Even so, he doesn't see much point in targeting Jurgen Klopp's new Club World Cup winners, who have an 11-point lead over City with a match in hand.

"When a team has 16 victories from 17, it's unrealistic to think we are going to chase them," said Guardiola.

"They have lost once in over 50 games. I am not optimistic they will lose four or five in 10 or 11."

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