• Premier League

City face fixture headache

ESPN staff
February 13, 2014
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Manchester City's postponed match against Sunderland might not be rearranged until the final weeks of the season as Manuel Pellegrini's quadruple-chasing team face a fixture backlog.

Wednesday's match at the Etihad Stadium was called off on police advice because of gale-force winds in England, which rendered it unsafe for spectators.

But with Pellegrini's side still in the Champions League and both City and Sunderland, who meet in the League Cup final, remaining in the FA Cup, there are few dates available to reschedule their Premier League clash.

City have already played 37 games this season and have a minimum of 17 more matches. Should they reach the finals of both the FA Cup and the Champions League, the club will play at least 62 competitive games this season.

They have already had to rearrange their derby match against Manchester United, which was supposed to be played on the weekend of the Leauge Cup final, for March 25.

And if City overcome Barcelona in the last 16, they could play both legs of the quarter-final and then the semi-final of the Champions League in April.

It only leaves one free midweek in the month - that of April 15-16 - when the Sunderland game could be played.

And even if the Spanish champions knock City out, UEFA does not approve of domestic matches being played on the same night as European games, although the Premier League has insisted it is sometimes unavoidable. In March 2012, Liverpool faced Everton on a night of Champions League action.

A further complication for both clubs is that one or both will need to rearrange Premier League matches if they are involved in the FA Cup quarter-finals, which will be played on the weekend of March 8-9.

City are set to host Aston Villa on March 8 while Sunderland are set to travel to Liverpool on March 10 but either or both of the Black Cats, who host Southampton on Saturday in the FA Cup fifth round, or Pellegrini's men, who take on Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium on the same day, could be in the last eight.

Should either or both have fifth- or sixth-round replays, it would further complicate the picture while the FA Cup semifinals, due to played on April 12-13, would also necessitate in Premier League games that weekend, when City face Liverpool and Sunderland are at Everton, being moved.

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