Wenger vexed by fixture schedule

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has called for a change to the fixture list to give the elite European teams a less gruelling schedule as they battle for honours at home and abroad.

The Gunners kick off their Champions League group campaign against Dynamo Kiev in the Ukraine on Wednesday night, but Wenger's squad faced a potentially tricky qualifying tie against Dutch outfit FC Twente - the first leg of which came before the start of the new domestic season.

"There is not much you can say, but the Premier League do not do a lot for us. The qualifiers are in a very bad position," he observed. "Then the international friendly comes at a bad time for a team which plays in the qualifiers for the Champions League."

He added: "But the main reproach I make - and I have asked this for a long, long time - is that the second [international] game is on the Tuesday.

"For example, Carlos Vela played on Wednesday night - but he did not finish until 4am on Thursday morning, because that was 9pm in Mexico.

"It means it is impossible to get that sort of player back for the next league game.

"You end up paying the players to go to the national team for two games and then you can't use them.

"You have a two-week break, but you can't even use them when they return."

Arsenal maintained their decade-long record of Champions League football after brushing aside Steve McClaren's side 4-0 in the second leg of their qualifier at Emirates Stadium, but Wenger knows Group G will be no walk in the park, with Turkish giants Fenerbahce and former winners Porto also in the mix.

"Fenerbahce look to be an upcoming team because last year for the first time they reached the quarter-final and Turkey always have a good support," he said. "Dynamo Kiev are a bit unknown quantity for the moment because they always look to take the best players from Ukraine and Porto are former champions."

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