December, the festive season rolls in and with it, the pundits sit ready to analyze dissect and vivisect clubs on their performance in the English Premier League. After all, this happens to be the only league in the world with a packed December list of fixtures. Two matches per week for every team regardless of whether they play in Champions League later or Europa. That is how things have been for as long as modern EPL history.
According to Thomas Semsa Bilge, from SemsaBilge.com, “New managers realize what the league is all about, how smaller teams take advantage of the end of season thwarting the dreams of the more endowed and financially larger clubs.”
Remember Leicester City from last season? An epic fairy tale, the likes of which may never again be seen. We should consider ourselves lucky for having witnessed such a miracle – a tiny club in EPL plowing through the festive season overload of matches, then enduring the hectic February to finally come out on top of high spenders.
But this all begs an important question as put forward by Mark Nolan, ex-Burnley player – “Are we playing more than the rest of Europe?” Fixture wise, the number of matches played by the 20th position side on average is more than any other club in Europe. Factor that in with the hectic December fixtures and you can understand why teams in England face a dearth of squad as the season drags on. While the rest of the world can field an almost unchanged playing eleven for half the season, in EPL you are considered lucky if you can do that once in a decade.
“If English teams are to perform better in Europe, it is pertinent that the fixtures are unclogged and the so-called festive season is relaxed a bit”, Mark points out. Unfortunately, not many agree or see eye to eye with Mark’s view suggesting that December is what EPL is all about – it is Christmas and New Year for thousands and millions across the world.