Why Arsenal vs Newcastle United kicks off at 8pm amid Premier League rule change

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Arsenal will hope to bag a sixth straight Premier League win but will have to wait until late on Saturday night to do so.

Arsenal will hope to cement their status as Premier League title contenders when they host Newcastle United at the Emirates on Saturday, but questions have once again been raised regarding the unusual 8pm kick-off time.

Mikel Arteta's side have been in scintillating form of late, winning their last five league matches and scoring 21 goals in the process. Concerns of a misfiring frontline have been well and truly put to bed in recent weeks with the likes of Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard in fine fettle.

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Their European efforts were not so fruitful, however, with Wednesday evening's Champions League trip to FC Porto ending in a 1-0 defeat, heaping pressure on the Gunners to turn it around back home next month. And it is due to that midweek action that Saturday's fixture has been shoe-horned into the unusual Saturday night slot.

Before this season kicked off in August, the Premier League introduced a ruling that prohibited teams featuring in Europe on Wednesday evening from then playing in the Saturday 12.30pm slot, the rights for which are owned by TNT Sports. The broadcaster has already selected Newcastle's trip to the Emirates for their game this weekend and so when Arsenal's game in Portugal was penned in for a Wednesday, the kick-off time had to be moved.

With no games on TV during the 3pm blackout and Sky Sports owning the rights to the 5.30pm kick-off, TNT Sports have opted for a late Saturday game and have used this slot on more than one occasion this season. Although it is Arsenal's first such kick-off time of the campaign, other Premier League clubs have been forced to play late in the past with Newcastle doing so on multiple occasions.

The rule was introduced in order to allow more rest for those players enjoying midweek European football, similar to the one that prohibits teams from playing in the Europa League on Thursday and then the following Saturday - which is why there are often multiple 2pm kick-offs on a Sunday. However it is clear that fans are rarely taken into account and few inside the Emirates will envy those Newcastle fans trying to find a way home after 10pm.

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