A Premier League match will be played on Christmas Eve for the first time in 28 years when Wolves host Chelsea.
Originally scheduled for December 23, the fixture will now take place on Sunday, December 24, at 13:00 GMT. The only previous Christmas Eve match since the Premier League was formed in 1992 took place in 1995, when Leeds United beat Manchester United 3-1.
Three rounds of festive fixtures were provisionally set for December 23, 26, and 30. The Crystal Palace vs. Brighton game from the first round has been brought forward to Thursday, December 21 (20:00), while Aston Villa vs. Sheffield United will take place on Friday, December 22 (20:00 GMT).
Six matches remain on Saturday, December 23, before Chelsea visit Wolves on Christmas Eve. The second round of festive fixtures begins with five matches on Tuesday, 26 December and three on Wednesday, 27 December. Then on Thursday, 28 December, Brighton host current Premier League leaders Tottenham and West Ham travel to Arsenal. Because those matches take place on a later date, after six matches are held on Saturday, 30 December, Arsenal’s trip to Fulham and Tottenham’s home match against Bournemouth are scheduled for Sunday, 31.
Liverpool versus Newcastle (20:00) on Monday, 1 January, and West Ham versus Brighton on Tuesday, 2 January (20:00) complete the fixtures.
The Premier League said: “As in previous seasons, special arrangements have been made to allow more time between games played across the three festive matchweeks. “This will allow greater time for players to recover, with the rest periods between matchweeks 18, 19 and 20 being increased to ensure that no club plays within 60 hours of another match.” Chelsea will have the shortest recovery time, with 143.5 hours between their first kick-off and third kick-off, while Brighton have the most, with 287.5 hours, double that of Chelsea .
The Football Supporters’ Association said a Christmas Eve fixture was “an unwanted present that no one asked for”, while the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust (CST) described the decision as “totally unacceptable”. The CST said it would request that the Premier League consult supporters on this issue and reverse the decision, having requested an urgent meeting with decision-makers alongside the Wolves 1877 Trust.
The Premier League previously decided against rearranging Arsenal vs. Liverpool as a Christmas Eve fixture in 2017 following a backlash from supporters. One match yet to be given a date is Manchester City’s home match against Brentford, originally scheduled for December 23, which has been postponed because of the champions’ participation in the Fifa Club World Cup.
After the winter World Cup in Qatar last season, Premier League fixtures resumed on December 26 with a televised game every day from then until January 5—except for December 29.
Premier League festive fixtures & schedule in full kick-offs at 15:00 unless stated. All times GMT.
Thursday, December 21: Crystal Palace vs. Brighton (20:00)
Friday, December 22, Aston Villa vs. Sheffield United (20:00)
Saturday, December 23, West Ham vs. Manchester United (12:30) and Fulham vs. Burnley Luton Town vs. Newcastle United
Nottingham Forest v Bournemouth Tottenham vs. Everton Liverpool vs. Arsenal (17:30)
Sunday, December 24: Wolves vs. Chelsea (13:00)
Tuesday, December 26: Newcastle United vs. Nottingham Forest (12:30); Bournemouth vs. Fulham Sheffield United vs. Luton Town Burnley vs. Liverpool (17:30) Manchester United vs. Aston Villa (20:00)
Wednesday, December 27: Brentford vs. Wolves (17:30); Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace (17:30); Everton vs. Manchester City (20:15)
Thursday, December 28, Brighton vs. Tottenham (19:30) and Arsenal vs. West Ham (20:15)
Saturday, December 30, Luton Town vs. Chelsea (12:30) Aston Villa v Burnley Crystal Palace vs. Brentford Manchester City v Sheffield United Wolves vs. Everton Nottingham Forest vs. Manchester United (17:30)
Sunday, December 31: Fulham vs. Arsenal (14:00); Tottenham vs. Bournemouth (14:00)
Monday, January 1, Liverpool vs. Newcastle United (20:00)
Tuesday, January 2, West Ham vs. Brighton (20:00)