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Thursday’s Champions League group stage draw in Istanbul will only show fans what a showdown even just the FIRST half of the campaign will be.

Tottenham’s return to the Euro top flight will have a major knock-on effect on N17’s finances while Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City have all been finalists for the past two years.

But with surprise Prem pacemakers Arsenal, as well as Manchester United, having to wait another 24 hours before finding out their Europa League schedule, all of England’s Big Six – plus potentially West Ham – will be thrust into a list of matches as they did. never known.

The Winter World Cup means the domestic campaign will be split in two, with 16 Prem games between now and November 13 – a six-week break – then a further 22 games from Boxing Day.

However, he also forced UEFA to redraw its normal calendar, that is to say a new program from the beginning of next month.

The six Champions League group games – starting September 6 – will be compressed into just 57 days, six midweek out of nine.

Two of the other midweek slots are taken up by the only international break before the World Cup, when England must take a minimum of four points from matches with Italy and Germany to have any chance of avoiding relegation from the League of Nations.

With boss Gareth Southgate looking to fine-tune his preparations for Qatar, there’s not much chance the players will be rested.
And the “reserve” dates, from October 18 to 20? A chance for respite, perhaps?

No. This has a full Prem fixture schedule, including Liverpool hosting West Ham, Manchester United v Spurs at Old Trafford and City’s visit to Arsenal.

And between the weekend before Europe starts, when Arsenal travel to United, and the one after – with Spurs playing Liverpool and Arsenal at Chelsea – there will be 12 Big Six Prem clashes.

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