Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce was scathing of Premier League scheduling after preparing for a key clash with Swansea City with a 2-0 defeat at Arsenal.
Olivier Giroud’s wondrous ‘scorpion’ goal stole the headlines at Emirates Stadium, but defeat left Palace looking over their shoulders, one place and two points above the relegation zone.
Aside from a brief second-half flurry of chances that Petr Cech stood up to, Palace were kept at arm’s length by their hosts, with Alladyce having taken just one point from his first two games in charge since replacing Alan Pardew.
A home game against bottom side Swansea City provides the perfect chance to kick-start a march up the table, but the former England boss is wary of the managerless Welsh club, who will have had an extra 24 hours to prepare for Tuesday’s fixture.
He said: “I made changes with Swansea in mind.
“We’re a bit thin on the ground with injuries and we’ve been dealt the blow of not having enough recovery time by playing today [Sunday] and Tuesday night – why can’t we play Wednesday?
SA: Swansea played yesterday, they’ve got 24 hours on us. The players who played today haven’t got enough time to recover 100%.
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) January 1, 2017
“Swansea played [Saturday] and now have 24 hours on us.
“With such big games and so much at stake, you want a fair crack at it. I won’t go into the science of the fatigue the players suffer with nowadays but they haven’t got enough time to recover 100 per cent.
“Our big game is Tuesday – we’re going to survive by beating teams in the bottom half and if we can get a victory against one of the top teams then that’ll be a bonus to get us safe quicker.
“I think Swansea is a massive game for the nerves of our players and they have to control them on the day as everyone expects us to win on the basis that Swansea are struggling badly recently.
“Everyone is expecting us to thrash them, and we’d like to beat them by more than one or two goals, but we’ll have to hold our nerve and produce our best performance.”
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