When Manchester United take to the field against Leicester City on Saturday evening, one of their title rivals will already have played and another one won’t.

Assuming, possibly wrongly, that Leicester aren’t going to stay the course then, when they kick off against United at 5:30pm on Saturday, Manchester City will have already played and therefore, obviously, the result from their game will be known.

By the time Arsenal kick off on Sunday in their game against Norwich, they will be aware of the results of both Manchester teams. Is this unfair, or does it not make any difference?

Let’s assume that both Manchester clubs lose. I know that is unlikely but it could happen. Would this then determine the tactics Arsene Wenger employs against Norwich? If he knows he can gain three points on the other two, then surely he will go for the win. If, however, the two Manchester clubs draw, then Wenger is likely to play with the intention of not losing as the last thing he would want to do is drop points when his rivals only picked up one each. If they both win then he has to go for the win.

If Manchester City lose, does this then mean that United go all out for the win to increase their lead over City by three points, or do they try and make sure they don’t lose? If City draw, what is going through van Gaal’s mind? Is he thinking that a draw is a good result because everything then stays the same, or does he want to stretch his lead? I would guess he also wants to put the pressure on Arsenal the following day, so that they feel they have to win.

The point is that it can’t be fair. People will say that it evens itself out over a season, but it doesn’t.

In the good old bad old days, when I was a regular in the Stretford End and Denis Law would lead United out on a Saturday afternoon at five to three, all the other teams were being led out by their captains at the same time. Nobody could knowingly gain an advantage. The only scores we got from other games were at half-time and full time, by which time there was nothing could be done about them, nothing was going to alter the way a team set out the following day because no teams were set out the following day, everything was fair and transparent.

Other factors used as reasons for unfair advantages being gained are European fixtures. The Europa League in particular where teams are having to play on a Thursday then on Sunday. If the team they play is not in Europe then they get a week of “rest.” This, I am afraid, is the luck of the draw as, when the fixtures are calculated it cannot possibly be known who will remain in European competition and who won’t. The fact that Mauricio Pochettino is asking the Premier League for help is a little ironic as teams have been playing in, and moaning about, this competition for a few years now.

What is certainly unfair from the fans point of view is the way games are scheduled for showing on TV with absolutely no thought given to the travelling supporters.

A case in point, as I write, is last Monday night’s game between Crystal Palace and Sunderland. It is quite disgraceful that Sky TV, without any consultation with supporters, can arrange this game for a Monday night. Anyone who has ever made the trip from the north east to London under normal circumstances knows what an ordeal it can be. If it has to be done after working all day and with thousands of others, then it becomes a nightmare.

I suppose as long as Sky TV and BT Sport are throwing billions of pounds at the game then teams will play at 2:00am on a school playing field if necessary.

The problem is that while the clubs are getting richer by the minute, the game itself is suffering from poor organisation which is making it much fairer for some clubs than it is for others and much fairer for some fans than it is for others.


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