Wenger granted mid-winter break as Arsenal's Boxing Day clash with West Ham is OFF due to Tube strike (but United will play THREE times in SEVEN days)


No go: The Gunners clash with West Ham at the Emirates must be rescheduled

No go: The Gunners clash with West Ham at the Emirates must be rescheduled



Arsene Wenger has finally had his wish for a winter break granted... by London’s striking Tube drivers.

The Arsenal manager has long been a vocal supporter of the Barclays Premier League taking a mid-winter break like the top leagues in Spain, France, Italy and Germany.

Arsenal's match at home to West Ham on Boxing Day has been postponed due to industrial action on the London Underground, meaning they will not play a match for an entire week over the usually hectic festive period.


Arsene Wenger  Sir Alex Ferguson

Happy holidays: Wenger will be delighted with Arsenal's seven-day break, but Fergie (right) is sure to be furious that United have to play three times in six days



Wenger's side will not kick a ball for seven days after their trip to Wigan on Saturday until they host Newcastle in the evening kick-off on December 29.

Manchester United, meanwhile, will play three times in seven days facing a trip to Swansea (December 23), a home game against Newcastle (Boxing Day) and another home match against West Brom (December 29).

The Arsenal manager's call for a mid-winter break has become an annual tradition. Last month, he even suggested moving the season to be played January to November.

He said: 'I understand it looks completely strange as people have been educated the current way but I moved to Japan and the season was in January to November. We started training in January and after a while it was completely normal.

'The period of rest would be the same. It wouldn’t change the number of games. You would not be confronted with these situations when players are playing in two different championships. You would play during the summer period in the best period for football to be played.

In 2011, Wenger said: 'I think after that [the Christmas break] you would like a little breather. I would like a winter break but after Christmas. Create a break after 2 January for two weeks. We can go on holiday for one week and prepare for one week.'

Arsenal's seven day Christmas break...

Arsenal now have a week off over the manic Christmas period thanks to the Tub strike. By contrast, Manchester United must play four fixtures in 10 days. Here are the two clubs' holiday season fixtures...

Arsenal Xmas Fixtures:


Wigan v Arsenal
Sat 22 Dec, 12.45pm   

Arsenal v West Ham
Wed 26 Dec, 3pm - POSTPONED

Arsenal v Newcastle
Sat 29 Dec, 5.30pm   

Southampton v Arsenal
Tue 1 Jan, 5.30pm

United Xmas Fixtures:

Swansea v Man Utd
Sun 23 Dec, 1.30pm   

Man Utd v Newcastle
Wed 26 Dec, 3pm   

Man Utd v West Brom
Sat 29 Dec, 3pm   

Wigan v Man Utd
Tue 1 Jan, 3pm

Arsenal have postponed their Boxing Day clash with West Ham until the new year due to the proposed London Underground strike.

The club said they spoke with several agencies before making the decision, including the Metropolitan Police, Transport for London, London Underground, the Premier League, West Ham and Islington Council.

Tickets already purchased for this match are still valid for the rearranged date. Arsenal confirmed that this will be played on either Wednesday, January 23 (kick off 7.45pm) or Saturday, January 26 (kick off 3pm). 

The date is dependent on the results in the FA Cup third round, which is being played on the weekend of Saturday, January 5 and Sunday, January 6. West Ham host Manchester United while Arsenal travel to Swansea.

A club statement read: 'The paramount concern was always the duty of care towards the Arsenal supporters, West Ham United supporters, matchday employees and workers and indeed everyone who was planning to attend the game on Boxing Day.

'In addition to the proposed industrial action on London Underground on Boxing Day, there are extremely limited services operating on National Rail train services into London on this day. Also, normal parking restrictions close to the stadium still apply. This would have caused severe disruption, or at worst, inability for supporters or matchday employees and workers to get to Emirates Stadium.


Christmas cheer? Arsenal are facing a tricky festive period

Christmas cheer? Arsenal now have an extra day to prepare for Newcastle



'We apologise for the inconvenience this may have caused supporters but we feel that the right decision has been made.'

Arsenal's 60,000-seater ground is five minutes' walk from Holloway Road station in north London, with Highbury and Islington and Finsbury Park also close by. Many fans use the service to get to games so a suspension would have caused chaos if the match had gone ahead.

A strike by Tube drivers last year forced Arsenal to delay their Boxing Day match with Wolves by 24 hours but they cannot do the same this year as they have a game against Newcastle on December 29.

A midweek evening in January seems the likeliest date for re-staging but neighbours Tottenham Hotspur and the FA Cup are also factors to be considered.

QPR's match with West Brom will kick off at 3pm as planned after the club held a meeting this afternoon to discuss the matter.

Loftus Road is close to three Tube stations and fans are often reliant on the service but a statement on Ranger's website read: 'Supporters are advised to allow extra time for their journeys to and from Loftus Road.

'Buses will be running on the usual Sunday/Bank Holiday service on the day of the fixture, whilst parking in the borough will be free.

'Supporters who are unable to attend the fixture owing to the Tube strikes will be entitled to a full refund.'

Fulham will wait for official confirmation of the Tube strike before deciding if any action needs to be taken over their Boxing Day match with Southampton at Craven Cottage.

Derailed: Fans will have find it difficult to get across the capital

Derailed: Fans will have found it difficult to get across the capital on Boxing Day



A club spokesman said: 'We are monitoring situation and putting contingency in place but remain fully committed to the game going ahead as scheduled.'

Fulham play Swansea three days later.

Charlton are the only Championship side hosting a Boxing Day fixture in the capital but it is understood their match with Ipswich should not be too badly disrupted and will go ahead. Most home fans travel in from Kent rather than central London.

The announcement by Aslef means London Underground drivers are on course to walk out on Boxing Day, as well as January 18 and 25 in a row over bank holiday pay. It will be the third successive Christmas walkout by Tube drivers.

The move was announced after Aslef members voted by 9-1 in favour of strikes. A spokesman said: 'The ballot result shows the strength of feeling that remains on this issue.'