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Arsene Wenger has admitted the fixture schedule has been “absolutely horrendous” after Arsenal faltered during December.
The Gunners went three games without a win in the Premier League, having drawn against both Everton and Chelsea, whilst suffering an emphatic 6-3 defeat to Manchester City.
Arsenal did manage to stop the rot on Boxing Day with a 3-1 victory over relegation-threatened West Ham United, a result which boosted their December points tally to seven from a potential 15 and saw them return to the top of the table.
The Gunners now travel to Newcastle on Sunday in search of back-to-back victories, in what will be their seventh game in 25 days, and it is this hectic schedule which Wenger has been angered by.
“It has been a difficult period but mainly down to our schedule,” he said.
“I completely think our schedule has been absolutely horrendous.”
The table toppers will have to do without midfield star Aaron Ramsey for the north-east trip after the Welshman was ruled out of the next two games at least with a thigh injury, but Jack Wilshere will be available after returning from suspension along with Tomas Rosicky who was rested for the last game.
A win for the visitors would help them secure their place at the top of the Premier League, whilst a victory for Newcastle would see them close the gap to just three points in what has been a fantastic run of form the Geordies.