By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger believes Manchester United will get a helping hand from the fixture list when the Premier League title race hots up next week.
Following swiftly on from this weekend's FA Cup ties is a full midweek programme in the top flight, followed by another round of weekend games. For Arsenal that means two games in three days with a trip to Everton on Wednesday followed by the visit of West Ham on Saturday. Chelsea and Liverpool both play on Wednesday before meeting at Anfield the following Sunday while Aston Villa also face two games in four days. But it's a different story for the champions, who have six days in between their clashes with West Brom on Tuesday and Everton the following Monday.
Wenger has kept his own counsel while the merits of the fixture list have been debated in recent weeks. However, at his pre-match press conference on Friday, the Frenchman admitted that Manchester United would enjoy an "unfair" advantage when the Premier League programme resumes.
"You can say that Manchester United have been extremely advantaged, unexplainably advantaged," said Wenger. "But that is what we have to cope with.
"It is difficult to explain why one team plays on Tuesday and the others are all on Wednesday. It is unfair competition.
"Next week the fixtures are advantaged for Manchester United, who before had a point against Liverpool - I supported them when they had a case. But this week, I think [Rafael] Benitez has a case.
"Manchester United play on Tuesday at West Brom, after they play against Everton who will have played on Sunday and again on Wednesday night. I do not think you need to be a specialist in football to understand that in this case it is an unfair advantage for Manchester United.
"But it is not Manchester United's fault, it is not Liverpool's fault. It is the organisation of the fixtures."Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 23 Jan 2009