Arsenal's WSL match against Aston Villa moved to avoid club playing twice in three days

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Vivianne Miedema of Arsenal FC celebrates with teammates after scoring their team's third goal and completing her hat-trick during the UEFA Women's Champions League match between SK Slavia Prague Women and Arsenal Women at Eden Stadium on September 09, 2021 in Prague, Czech Republic. - GETTY IMAGES
Vivianne Miedema of Arsenal FC celebrates with teammates after scoring their team's third goal and completing her hat-trick during the UEFA Women's Champions League match between SK Slavia Prague Women and Arsenal Women at Eden Stadium on September 09, 2021 in Prague, Czech Republic. - GETTY IMAGES

Arsenal's televised Women's Super League trip to Aston Villa on Sunday 3rd October is to be moved and played on the evening of Saturday 2nd October instead, to avoid Arsenal playing twice in three days, after what sources described as "positive discussions" between all parties.

The north London club had pleaded for the fixture to be rescheduled because of the rapid turnaround before their Women's Champions League fixture away against Barcelona on Tuesday 5th October, just two days after their WSL game.

That request was initially rejected, much to the frustration of the north Londoners, but now both clubs, the Football Association and the BBC - who are broadcasting the WSL match live - have come to an agreement.

The top-flight contest was picked for live broadcast on BBC Two more than a month ago on August 10th. The north Londoners subsequently qualified for the Women's Champions League group stages and then, on September 13th, the draw was conducted and pitted Arsenal against Barcelona as well as Hoffenheim of Germany and HB Koge of Denmark in Group C.

Asked by Telegraph Sport why the Women's Champions League fixture had to be set in stone for the Tuesday, Uefa said on Wednesday: "Well in advance of the season, Uefa communicated the match dates and the fixture setting procedure to the associations and clubs and before the draw also allowed clubs to submit any potential restrictions or preferences with regards to venues and dates, and in most cases, it was possible to respect these requests, despite the complexity of the fixture list. However, in this case no such request was submitted ahead of the draw and the compilation of the fixture list. Rescheduling will not be possible at this stage, as it would require changes to the whole match day schedule."

The FA were also initially unable to facilitate a change. On 18th September, an FA spokesperson told Telegraph Sport: An FA WSL spokesperson told the Sunday Telegraph: "We understand why Arsenal would like to move this match to another date, following the announcement of their newly scheduled Uefa Women’s Champions League match against Barcelona, however due to previously agreed broadcast commitments, we are unable to move this fixture."

The subsequent agreement means Arsenal will now have 72 hours between their trips to Villa and Barcelona, who also have a fixture against Deportivo Alaves in the Spanish top flight on Saturday, 2nd October.

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