The Premier League break

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Mon, 24/01/2022
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IANS

This season will be the second successive campaign in which a mid-season break will occur in the Premier League. No match is scheduled between 23 January and 5 February.

The break was introduced to provide players and teams rest and recovery time after the rigours of the Christmas and New Year period. It follows the example of many other countries in Europe, where such periods off are customary.

However, in this case, there may be question marks as to whether the break is really appropriate, with many matches already postponed because of Covid-19 outbreaks.

Some teams, like Burnley (currently bottom of the table), have five or even six games in hand on some of the teams above them.

Those postponed games have to be played some time. With no provision for the season to extend beyond the 22 May, the last scheduled date, they face a fixture backlog at the end of the season.

Given that they have one of the smallest budgets and squads in the league, that may seriously hinder their chances of staying up.

Meanwhile, Arsenal face the prospect of playing just two games in February.

Already out of the FA Cup, Chelsea’s absence at the Club World Cup means that their game originally scheduled for 8 February has been postponed to some indefinite date.

They face the prospect of having to play three games a week towards the end of the season, increasing the chance of fatigue and injuries, however deep the squad.

Of course, no one could have foreseen the effect that the Omicron wave of Covid would have on sport. However, under the circumstances, the League may want to review such provisions in future if they want to preserve its integrity.

Clubs that have been able to play games and get points on the board will seem to have an innate advantage over those who still have games to play.

Meanwhile, Premier League fans will have to find something else to do next weekend when screens are blank and stadia are locked.