Arsenal squad set to have rare holiday over Christmas

Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta celebrates their victory on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium in London on October 8, 2023. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Whilst many of us look forward to at least a day or two off over Christmas, professional footballers generally have to take part in training over the holidays.

With the Boxing Day fixtures on December 26th, players are often required to go in for a session on Christmas Day.

Mikel Arteta told a press conference on Friday that he’s actually a fan of the busy festive period of fixtures, not least because it allows him to invite family over. But he also revealed that the squad would have Christmas off this year.

“I really like it,” Arteta said of the festive fixture list. “It gives us the opportunity to bring family over. When I was in Spain, it was a bit different. I’ve had incredible memories when I was a player and right now, as a manager as well.

“This year is very rare because we’re going to have the 24th and the 25th without a training session, which is extremely bizarre.

“But it will be good to spend time with my family. I have young kids and they are super excited about Christmas.”

LUTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 05: Declan Rice of Arsenal celebrates victory with teammate Gabriel after defeating Luton Town 4-3 with a last minute winner during the Premier League match between Luton Town and Arsenal FC at Kenilworth Road on December 05, 2023 in Luton, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LUTON, ENGLAND: Declan Rice of Arsenal celebrates victory with teammate Gabriel after defeating Luton Town 4-3 with a last minute winner during the Premier League match between Luton Town and Arsenal FC at Kenilworth Road on December 05, 2023. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The reason the team are able to have Christmas off this year is that their fixtures are a bit more spread out around the 25th.

The Gunners will play against Liverpool on the 23rd, which would make the 24th a guaranteed day off anyway. Then they don’t play again until the match against West Ham United on the 28th, which allows the team to have another day off on Christmas Day.

The squad better make the most of it, because this kind of opportunity won’t come around very often during their playing careers.

Arsenal's Norwegian midfielder #08 Martin Odegaard (2L) celebrates scoring the team's second goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Emirates Stadium in London on December 2, 2023. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)
Arsenal’s Martin Odegaard (2L) celebrates scoring the team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Emirates Stadium in London on December 2, 2023. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

From a sporting point of view, it can’t be a bad thing for the Arsenal players to have a bit of stress relief with a proper Christmas celebration, even if it is only for a couple of days.

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