FA Youth Cup Final to “be scheduled before Saturday 29 April”

Rumours are circulating that our home game against Chelsea will be moved due to a clash at the Emirates with the FA Youth Cup.

Nothing is concrete yet, and I would be very surprised if a Premier League game is moved for a Youth Cup game.

The rules of the FA Youth Cup is that “the Final is to be scheduled before Saturday 29 April.” The below is taken directly from the FA website:

Anyone involved in lower league or non-league football will know you usually have a deadline to schedule cup games, rather than an exact date they need to be held on. The FA Youth Cup is similar.

To highlight it, the 4 quarter finals took place on the 22 & 23 February, 2 March and 7 March.

Clubs can hold them “within a time frame” to enable them to use their main stadium for the gasme; usually scheduling the game for a weekday evening shortly before or after an away game.

So whilst Wikipedia might say the final is on the 29 April, the FA have yet to announce the actual date of the final.

REDAction bring up the Coronation as one of the reasons why. I am not sure how moving a game closer to the Coronation helps out with policing.

The Coronation of King Charles III is scheduled for 6 May, with street parties set to be held in celebration on 7 May. Moving the Arsenal v Chelsea game to the 2 May will distrupt the Mets preperations rather than help.

The “all police leave being taking the weekend before” only makes sense if every game in London and beyond was cancelled. But it is not.

On the Saturday, Crystal Palace travel to West Ham, Nottingham Forest to Brentford, and Chelsea to Arsenal. On the Sunday it is Fulham v Manchester City.

Also, we have spoken to a police officer who has informed us that whilst police leave can be cancelled, the OB can not then dictate that it must be taken on certain weekends. Leave scheduled for the weekend of 6 May would not automatically be shifted back a weekend.

If the game is moved from the Saturday to accomodate the FA Youth Cup, Islington will still need a fairly large police presence. I imagine it will be a 60,000 sell out, especially with West Ham not having a home game that weekend.

So “police leave” as a reason for moving the Premier League game makes zero sense.

It is interesting that Sky have moved the WBA v Norwich game from 3pm to 5:30pm on the same day as we were due to play Chelsea, almost as if they have a TV slot to now fill.

The women’s team play at the Emirates on 1 May in the UEFA Women’s Champions League. I can not see Arsenal being happy with a game taken place on the Emirates pitch on Saturday 29, Monday 1 and Tuesday 2, especially with the last game being the mens team. The most important side.

What will more likely happen is the FA Youth Cup final will be announced for Thursday 27 April.

That Thursday, Arsenal are not playing, West Ham are not playing, and the stadium is free to be used. Then the Chelsea game will go ahead as expected at 17:30 on Saturday 29. Finally the womens game will be on Monday 1 May.

If the game is getting move, for seemingly no reason whatsoever, then it will be fans who lose out. Norwich fans travelling to Birmingham lose out. And those with booked trains and hotels for Arsenal and Chelsea will lose out.

On today’s game, I have remained fairly consistent this season. Manchester City are favourites for the title.

Even with us 8 points clear, I still have them down as favourites.

And even though the media and opposing fans are now going with “greatest capitulation if Arsenal do not win it from here” narrative, I still have Manchester City as favoruites.

8 points might be a huge gap, but it is not a chasm.

Manchester City have a game in hand – at home against West Ham. You have to assume they will win that. We also have to go to City away.

In our last 15 meetings with City, we have lost 14. Winning once. We have also gone 14 games without beating them in the league. And the last time we beat them in Manchester was in 2015.

Arsenal winning in Manchester will be a surprise. So suddenly that 8 point gap is only actually two.

And with trips to Liverpool and Newcastle still to come, Arsenal have a tougher run in than Man City. And that is why despite an 8 point lead, I do not recognise us as favourites, and have not yet begun to dream of lifing the title in May.

Win today, and that potentially changes.

Our two point leads (lets call it 2 rather than 8), means we can probably afford to lose once more outside of Manchester City. Looking at the fixtures ahead, that defeat could happen at Anfield or St James Park.

Worse case scenario is we lose both those games, ans against City, and they win the league by a couple of points.

Victory today will mean that we could probably afford to lose against City, and against Newcastle, and lift the title. Unless Man City win all remaining 11 games (which I would not put it beyond them to do).

Lose today, and all the pressure is on that Newcastle game.

I probably fear the Newcastle game more than the Liverpool one. There is a reason they are 3rd in the league. And last season st James Park was where our top 4 dreams died.

We are a very different side than then. We capitulated that day. Bottled it. Ran out of steam. But Newcastle are also a different side. And it will not be easy for us.

If we win today, it potentially changes everything. Especially for City fans who will have this down as a defeat.

Beat Liverpool and I might just start dreaming…



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