Sheffield United: Advantage Blades against Arsenal

Although it will force a revision of their training programme, the inconvenience caused to Sheffield United by the rescheduling of next season's home game against Arsenal pales into insignificance compared to the headache it has given the visitors.

Thursday, 1st August 2019, 9:10 pm
Updated Friday, 2nd August 2019, 5:52 pm
Sheffield United's players in pre-season training: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

The match, which now kicks-off at 8pm on Monday 21 October after being selected for live television broadcast, takes place only 72 hours before Unai Emry's team are due to play a Europa League group stage tie. It means the Spaniard, whose side qualified for the tournament after finishing fifth in the Premier League last term, could be forced to select a weakened team for the trip to South Yorkshire if their progress remains in doubt.

Although Arsenal will be seeded in Pot One when the draw takes place later this month, they could face a gruelling journey to Belarus, Kazakhstan or Ukraine following the meeting with United. To rub salt into the wound, the last train to London departs Sheffield less than half an hour after the fixture with Chris Wilder's squad is due to end; assuming there is no added time.

The decision has already caused an outcry among Arsenal supporters on social media, with United fans expected to face similar disruption when the next raft of TV picks are unveiled. Wilder's squad begin their first Premier League campaign since 2007 at AFC Bournemouth next weekend. They contest the final friendly of their summer warm-up programme in Reims, France, tomorrow evening.

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Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder: Nick Potts/PA Wire.