Everything you need to know about English football can be discovered over the festive period.
Whereas most other major European leagues shut down for the month, thus granting jaded players the time to recover from any niggles while simultaneously protecting pitches amid the cold snap, here in England we push on. The burden, rather than being eased, is in fact increased, with teams having to play four games in ten days.
Quite frankly, the schedule is senseless. The harsh weather means getting the matches to go ahead is a challenge in itself, and should postponement be avoided, teams playing two days apart is certainly not conducive to good football. No player is indefatigable. Therefore, injuries become frequent, passes go astray due to lapses in concentration and even the most reliable of professionals begin to make mistakes.
Calls for a winter break have fallen on deaf ears for a long time and such a proposal is still a long way from fruition. But perhaps supporters should be grateful, because regardless of its flaws, the festive period is probably the most exciting time of the season, for reasons aforementioned.
Most significantly, your team is playing every two days! What more could you ask for? It’s a football fan’s dream. If nothing else, it certainly beats going to the pantomime.
What’s more, while players battling fatigue are prohibited from performing to their maximum, the action tends to be compelling nevertheless, simply because they’re operating on pure adrenaline. Besides, the mistakes and lapses in concentration only adds to the suspense and drama.
Yes, the unforgiving schedule is probably the reason why your team’s star man will burn out sometime around Easter, but that's still so far away. You can worry about that when it happens –which it will!
Our priorities may be wrong but for now, who cares? Just sit back and cherish the two weeks of non-stop football. It really is the most wonderful time of the year.
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