Premier League Soccer - Why isn't There a Winter Break?

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by Brad King
| 09/12/2020
Premier League Winter Break

The festive season is often the time of year that we give out gifts, but for some of the biggest teams in the Premier League, they won’t be as willing to give out presents to opposing teams during the winter. The December period is essential across England’s top flight. But, what fixtures should gamblers be making soccer predictions on this year and should there be a winter break introduced to help teams?

 

 

Why Isn’t There A Winter Break?

Unlike much of Europe, the festive period of the season is the most hectic time of the season for the clubs involved in the Premier League. It often means that players don’t get to spend much of Christmas Day with their families, as they need to prepare for a match the following day. However, if you ask any soccer fan in England whether they would like to change this, then the answer would be a commanding no.

The biggest reason why no winter break has ever been introduced in the Premier League is down to the tradition of it. Soccer fans around the country look forward to the games between the 26th and 2nd January, as the majority of the country are off work and can watch their favourite teams either on television or at the stadium.

Sky Sports and the other broadcasters for the Premier League have also tapped into the popularity of the Premier League action around this time of the year, which means that an end to the festive fixtures is nearly impossible. The money that is generated by the huge contracts means that the broadcasters have the power over the teams, as they are forced to play when it suits the broadcasters. That is something that has already been questioned this season by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, but it is unlikely to change.

As well as this, the festive period is an essential part of the season that is used to catch up on fixtures due to the Premier League starting later and finishing earlier due to international competitions. Add to that there is also the League Cup, FA Cup and European fixtures, then the festive period is the only part of the year that teams have to play their fixtures.

Is There An Argument For An International Break?

The Premier League did actually have a two-week break last season for the first time, but it came at the end of January. Ten teams played on one weekend, before getting their break, while the other teams played on the following week. Once again, that was down to the broadcasters, and managers complained that the break wasn’t long enough for players to regain their fitness levels. 

Injuries and the overcrowding fixtures are two of the main arguments that managers have when it comes to a winter break, but neither are strenuous enough arguments that will hold up. The number of fixtures isn’t going to change as all 20 teams have to play each other twice, while domestic cup competitions such as the League Cup and FA Cup bring huge revenue for the club’s lower down in the soccer pyramid in England. If the biggest club’s dropped out of either of these competitions, then there would be massive backlash, just as there was when Manchester United pulled out of the 1999 FA Cup. 

There isn’t an argument from a fans point of view to cancel the festive period, as they are willing to travel the width of the country to watch their teams regardless of the travel distances and weather conditions that they will need to put up with. However, a winter break could be something that is forced upon the Premier League in two years, as the World Cup in Qatar will be taking place between November and December. 

Premier League Action This Year

The festive fixtures this season get underway on Boxing Day, with all teams in the division playing three times in seven days. But, fans wouldn’t want it any other way. There are some huge fixtures for gamblers to look out for. There will be a massive Boxing Day clash between Arsenal and Chelsea taking place, with the Blues looking to continue their charge towards the league title. Leicester City will welcome Manchester United on the same day, as the battle for a top-four finish heats up too. Liverpool’s festive period heats up the following day, as they welcome struggling West Bromwich Albion to Anfield.

Chelsea are back in action against the impressive Aston Villa on the 28th December, while Manchester City will be looking to close the gap on the league leaders latter on the same day as they travel to Everton. Two of the newly promoted sides battle on the 29th, as Leeds United travel to the Hawthorns to take on West Bromwich Albion. There will also be huge battles at both ends of the league on the same day, as Manchester United host Wolves, and Burnley and Sheffield United meet in an old-fashioned six-pointer.

The busy programme for Premier League sides comes to an end on the 2nd January, with every team playing across the weekend. There will be a huge match at the bottom of the league, as Fulham travel to Turf Moor to take on Burnley. The pick of the fixtures will see Chelsea and Manchester City clash, with huge implications on the top of the league table. The hectic schedule over Christmas and New Year is often critical when it comes to the league standings.

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