Tag Archives: fixtures

Coronavirus To Wreak Long-Term Havoc?

The Covid-19 virus is sweeping across the globe. Being easily transferable, mass gatherings are being winked out as easily as a lamplight.

And the Premier League is no different.

As I write, our Head Coach has declared that he has the virus. Thus, anyone in direct contact with Arteta – the majority of the squad, the staff and those at Hale End – will also undergo self-isolation.

We are not the only club with affected players and coaching staff. Both Leicester and Chelsea have stated that the virus has reached their respective camps. As things stand, the bout of impending weekend fixtures look destined to be cancelled.

This is only the start though.

The NBA season, Pro14 Rugby season, F1 season-opening Grand Prix, golf, tennis and many more have all decided to either postpone the season or play behind closed doors.

It does give us some form of perspective for the Premier League, however. It shows us how precarious the scheduling is, how tightly packed our matches are and the slim margin for error.

If we cancel two or three match weekends, we also have to factor in the remaining FA Cup matches, the Champions League, the Europa League too. This will all have to be squeezed into a frame of time normally reserved for recuperation for players and international squads preparation for the upcoming Euro 2020 tournament – another event that looks decidedly dicey.

Playing games behind closed doors is an option no one wants to consider.

Emirates Stand

The possible domino effect could ripple outwards for quite some distance, affecting next season and beyond. At present, coaches and clubs already bemoan the sandwiching of games into miniscule timeframes. In order to clear this match clutter miasma up, this will get worse before it gets better.

From Euro2020 most likely being delayed for a month or until 2021, you then get the Premier League delaying next season. This in turn will affect all domestic and European trophies too, not to mention our European league brethren who are currently shut down until further notice.

There seems to be no alternative but to postpone these matches for a period of around 3-4 weeks. According to medical reports, the virus on these shores has still not reached its peak so a huge pool of 50-60,000 in one place is not exactly common sense.

This will get worse before it gets better and it is now time for the bureaucrats of the Premier League and the FA to start earning their corn. They should already have had crisis plans in place but they now need to ensure that damage is limited and our players are not forced to play beyond their means. That means a close watch on fixture burnout and fitness being compromised in aid of fulfilling TV schedules.

We can only watch on as we wait for the dust to settle, but right now we are watching the tornado whip its way toward us and we have no way of swerving it.

Pro’s and Con’s of a Winter Break

If you can make it in the Premier League, you can make it anywhere.

The lack of a festive break for footballers in the world’s most watched domestic league means that imports from other countries will face a baptism of fire when it comes to December.

While their compatriots will be sunning themselves in some far-flung destination, relaxing their weary bones, Premier League players will be going through the most gruelling spell of fixtures in the whole season.

Let us take our club for instance.

With European competition and domestic cup action, we have nine games to navigate our squad through, in 31 days. It is little over a game every three days.

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Even without European competition, and let’s throw an early exit in the Carabao Cup, it leaves every club with a bare minimum of seven matches.

December represents the toughest stage, and once through this imposing gauntlet, you know there are no more tests like it. There will be months that the going is tough, but none amount to the sheer physical exertion that nine games brings.

Does the festive schedule need to be binned? Some are of the opinion that because of the lack of a break, the England international team will always fall short. While their national rivals can call upon reserves of stamina, England will always be flat out, running on fumes and desperate for a rest.

However, Christmas and football are close bedfellows. Attending and watching games with family and friends is an institution, one that does need to be guarded to protect it for fans.

Could there be a compromise from the league that would fit everyone?

Probably not. Sky and TV companies hold the Premier League by the short and curlies, and can make it dance to whatever tune they wish. Abandoning the current status quo would seriously harm revenue, as figures over Christmas will be higher than any other time. It’s a captive audience, families indoors, watching the game with a box of Matchmakers.

The barometer for success can be found in European competition. The lack of success from English sides is tangible, while Spain reigns supreme. That means that Italy and Germany are also without any real progress, but they too enjoy a winter break.

A lot of this can be put down to the dominance of Real Madrid and Barcelona, but without them, Italy and Germany have had ever presents in the latter stages, where Chelsea, United, spurs, Liverpool, City and Arsenal have let the side down from time to time.

Can this be attributed to a lack of a winter rest?

Perhaps not, but it is probably a factor.

However, fan power does still have a part to play, at least in this situation.

If the festive schedule was taken away, and add to this the liberal peppering of international friendly breaks, supporters would not exactly be supportive of this. It would also cause a fixture scheduling hell, with clubs compromising fitness with games coming thick and fast for longer spells.

At this moment, it is just December that is packed full of games, but with a winter break, these nine games would have to be sandwiched unceremoniously throughout a season.

From a fans point of view, let us enjoy the many opportunities we are getting to see our side, and let our club, with their many resources, deal with the physical exertion.

Sky Sports Strangling Soul From Premier League

Posted on Goonersphere

F.A HeadQuarters

Two weeks prior to the start of the 2035/36 season

The sterile beiges and greys were at odds with the woman currently hurtling through the offices. Heads veered from the screens they had been staring at for hours as she miraculously evaded phone lines, moving chairs, absent-minded office drones and double doors that swung open with nary a notice for people on the other side. Her evading capabilities were even more amazing considering she was wearing heels that would have given the average woman vertigo and a pencil skirt that left little in the way of unrestricted movement.

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