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Premier League sides could face six games over Christmas in 2017

Premier League clubs could face a chaotic festive fixture list of six matches in only 17 days over Christmas and New Year next season.

A draft fixture schedule for the 2017-18 Premier League campaign suggests matches will be played on December 16, 20, 23, 26 and 30, plus January 1.

If approved, Premier League clubs would face a chaotic festive fixture list of six matches in only 17 days over Christmas and New Year next season.

That means that teams will play about 15% of all their games next season in 17 days. That is crazy

The Premier League say the 2017-18 season must finish as early as possible to allow England a full month to prepare for the World Cup in Russia, assuming they qualify. The World Cup is scheduled to start on June 14.

They have also agreed with the Football Association that the FA Cup final in May must be played on a stand-alone date and not clash with any Premier League fixtures.

The unprecedented festive schedule is sure to infuriate top-flight managers. Claude Puel said it was simply ‘impossible’ for his exhausted Southampton players to compete properly as they played, and lost, three games in a little under five days.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp criticised scheduling that saw his team host Manchester City at 5.30pm on New Year’s Eve and then play away to Sunderland at 3pm on January 2.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger claimed it was unfair that television coverage had left some teams at a disadvantage.

‘In 20 years it is the most uneven Christmas period I have seen,’ he said.

Next season’s fixtures will be released in June.

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