So may problems with the Premier League scheduling during this “festive period.”
Not many managers have spoken up about “fixture congestion,” but to the ones that did- we say kudos to you good sir. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger spoke up, as did recently appointed Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce.
“We go now into another game in 48 hours with a big handicap in our fixtures, and I have to try to find some fresh legs,” Wenger said before heading into tonight’s match at AFC Bournemouth, which commences just two days after they beat Palace 2-0 on New Year’s Day.
“It is, in 20 years, the most uneven Christmas period I have seen on the fixture front,” said the Frenchman.
“The difference in rest periods is absolutely unbelievable.”
Wenger is most likely referencing table toppers Chelsea, who were given three days off, while most teams that played on Saturday (as the Blues did) had to play again on Monday. The Blues don’t play again until Wednesday.
Allardyce also rightfully ripped scheduling, saying “I don’t know who does the fixtures, but he really needs sacking.”
Liverpool FC boss Jurgen Klopp said heading into yesterday’s loss to lowly Sunderland that fixture congestion, and all the severe issues that come with it, will not be any excuse.
“I will make a line-up when the medical department gives me the opportunity to,” Klopp said about his team’s match fitness status given the lack of the rest, during his prematch press opportunities.
However, the end result led to LFC showcasing that signature polarity that many have come to associate with the team; a highly exaggerated version of it. The Reds beat one of the best teams in the league, and lose to one of the worst, in a 48 hour span.
So, how did we get here? Well, like every other league in every other country around the world, it’s all about television- plain and simple.
Wenger pointed out, very accurately and poignantly, how television broadcaster rights holders rule the roost.
“Honestly, I don’t know any more if the Premier League masters the fixtures,” Wenger said.
“We have sold the rights to the television for a lot of money so we have to accept that the television chooses the games, but I must say on that front, some teams have a bit more luck than others. We are privileged in our job, we get a lot of money to play football and it is part of it. But sometimes it goes for you, sometimes against you.”
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, currently contributes regularly to the Chicago Tribune’s RedEye publication and Bold Global.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks