FA Cup - TV chiefs drop fixture bombshell on Arsenal over Liverpool clash

Arsene Wenger's Arsenal will have to play their FA Cup clash against Liverpool just 72 hours before playing their crucial Champions League last-16 clash against Bayern Munich.

Wenger had apparently asked for the Gunners to have a Saturday lunchtime kick-off in order to give them a decent amount of rest and preparation time ahead of their first leg match against the European Champions.

Instead, TV companies have convinced the FA to schedule the match for the prime late slot on Sunday afternoon - perfect for big viewing figures, but something of a nightmare for Arsenal, who are still chasing three trophies this season.

Liverpool have confirmed that the fixture will take place at 4pm on Sunday 16th February - with BT Sport awarded the rights to show the clash. Bayern will visit the Emirates just three days later on the 19th.

To make things worse, Arsenal already have a big match just a few days before the Liverpool FA Cup clash: they face Manchester United at The Emirates on Wednesday 12th , a game which itself comes just four days after the Gunners' trip to Anfield to face Liverpool in the Premier League.

Wenger has been hugely critical of TV schedules forcing unreasonable turnarounds on his sides in the past - and fans and media alike are already anticipating a press conference meltdown from the Gunners boss.

On Tuesday Wenger had already responded indignantly to a question about how much English football authorities do to help the nation's sides in European competition:

"Let's turn it around. You cannot do less - because they do nothing. In the other leagues they do help teams," he said.

"I’ve already suggested in UEFA meetings to make sure that in Champions League competitions that the teams before have the same amount of rest. In some championships, for example in Portugal, they cancelled the games sometimes, they did what they wanted. The game before the Champions League, they cancelled the game.

“For the competition maybe it would be better that all of the teams would have exactly the same amount of rest.

“It’s difficult to say how much difference it makes. But, for example, if you have a bad bruise on a muscle. If you only have three days, one day more the player could play, one day less, the player cannot play.

“In small injuries, you gain 24 hours and it can make a difference. Also, mental recovery is better. Sometimes after a game you go on a high.

“You go on a high mentally, you go down and then you have to come up again and having a bit more time helps you get up for it again.”