The Premier League has officially unveiled its upcoming festive fixture list. Games surrounding Christmas and New Year’s Day pack together during this timeframe. However, one particular matchup is sticking out among the 29 fixtures. Wolves hosts Chelsea on Dec. 24.

The game had an original date of Dec. 23. However, it is now the first Christmas Eve top-flight fixture in 28 years. Leeds United previously beat Manchester United 3-1 on the holiday back in 1995. The move by the league is not exactly going down well with fans.

The Football Supporters’ Association previously lambasted the decision when the move was just a rumor.

“It would be a huge kick in the teeth for supporters who have consistently made clear their opposition to games the day before Christmas – as it’s not the first time this has been proposed,” proclaimed the group.

“It would put many supporters in an impossible choice between going to the match or spending festive time with their families – and that’s before you factor in the added challenges of traveling on a Sunday (which Christmas Eve falls on this year).”

EPL officials cite player recovery in unusual move

The Premier League previously wanted to schedule a matchup between Arsenal and Liverpool on Christmas Eve in 2017. However, the division instead opted against the move after intense backlash from fans. The two clubs played on Dec. 22. As it turned out, the match ended up being an epic event. The game finished 3-3, as both teams combined to score four goals in six minutes.

The festive season is always a busy time for the Premier League, as teams play upwards of seven games in a month.
The festive season is always a busy time for the Premier League, as teams play upwards of seven games in a month.

The festive season is always a busy time for the Premier League, as teams play upwards of seven games in a month.

Premier League officials claim the move helps spread out the fixtures and aid in player recovery. “As in previous seasons, special arrangements have been made to allow more time between games played across the three festive matchweeks,” the league said in a statement.

“This will allow greater time for players to recover, with the rest periods between matchweeks 18, 19, and 20 being increased to ensure that no club plays within 60 hours of another match.”

Premier League loads up games in festive fixtures season

There will be three total rounds of Premier League fixtures between Thursday, Dec. 21 and Tuesday, Jan. 2. Crystal Palace and Brighton will kick off the festive fixture list on Dec. 21. Aston Villa and Sheffield United then meet the following day.

Dec. 23 is one of the busiest days for Premier League games during this timeframe. Six matches happen on the day. This includes a massive matchup between Arsenal and Liverpool, as well as Manchester United traveling to West Ham.

Boxing Day, December 26th, has become synonymous with the Premier League. This year will be no different as the second round of matchups begins on this day. Five fixtures will be played on the day in three different time slots.

Saturday, Dec. 30 is also set to be a busy Premier League day as well. Six more matchups are scheduled for the day as the final round of festive fixtures begins. West Ham and Brighton will then close out the holiday period with a game on Tuesday, Jan. 2 in east London.