With Christmas Day only a few sleeps away now for kiddies around the country, football loving adults find themselves knee deep in the festive Premier League fixture crush, although it is a little bit different again for December 2021.
Fans have already seen a number of games fall by the wayside this last week, and often found themselves inconvenienced with a few extremely late postponements that had seen away dayers already made their lengthy journeys, following clubs claiming they are without an appropriate number of first team players to honour fixtures, but Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea side saw their game on Sunday against Wolverhampton Wanderers go ahead despite the Stamford Bridge hierarchy making a formal request to call the game off with players missing, much to Tuchel’s annoyance as he politely stated they were ‘a bit angry’ with the decision to proceed given the other cancellation requests that had been granted.
At this point for those who like a Christmas flutter, betting online would undoubtedly give you good odds on which Boxing Day fixtures may not now be called off following the Premier League’s announcement on Monday that the meeting with all clubs simply agreed to fulfil the upcoming fixtures – no doubt much to the annoyance of many of the managers.
Ahead of the meeting, with 90 positive Premier League tests last week, it was expected we would have another mini firebreak following the Boxing Day fixtures, but apparently that will no longer be the case as long as clubs can provide 13 outfield players, along with a goalkeeper – but, FA Cup replays in rounds three and four have been scrapped to reduce some pressure, and it’s also expected that talks will continue on reducing the EFL Cup semi-finals to one leg affairs to further help.
Let the debate begin on whether ‘players and goalkeeper’ mean senior professionals, and not simply Academy prospects. Outside of the Sky Big Six, fans will be looking for perceived unfairness but that’s already Tuchel’s point following the Wolves draw as he only named six substitutes on the bench and only four weekend fixtures went ahead as planned anyway.
The Chelsea gaffer also found some unexpected support from Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp having watched his team draw with Tottenham Hotspur, with both sides missing players as he was pleading for action to be taken.
“It’s impossible, we don’t have the players. We have to think we will get an extra case or two. We cannot just push it all through. The 26th and 28th, that’s not possible. We would prefer to play but we need help with the fixtures.”
There’s a foreboding sense of uncertainty now, fans will just have to hope if games are now cancelled, they get fair warning and don’t suffer more inconvenience.
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