With the FA Cup third round completed on the weekend, Premier League clubs are now heading off for their winter break, a rare chance for players to enjoy a mid-season rest and alleviate some concerns around fixture congestion.
The break was first introduced in the 2019/20 season, although, due to a number of reasons, has not been seen since.
Shortly following the initial winter break in January 2020, the country – and the entire world – was gripped by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
With the football season interrupted and subsequently delayed, the next season’s winter break had to be scrapped to make up time in the calendar.
Meanwhile, for the two following seasons, a mid-season winter break has not been possible due to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
With the tournament held in the northern hemisphere’s winter for the first time, the last two seasons had to be shortened, meaning they could not utilise a winter break.
Premier League fixtures this weekend
Friday, January 12
- Burnley vs Luton Town, 7.45pm
Saturday, January 13
- Chelsea vs Fulham, 12.30, pm
- Newcastle vs Man City, 5.30pm
Sunday, January 14
- Everton vs Aston Villa, 2pm
- Man Utd vs Tottenham, 4.30pm
This season, however, will finally see the return of the winter break, meaning a reduced set of fixtures for the next two weekends.
Crucially, though, this will allow every top-flight team at least ten days without a league game across the break.
Plans for some teams will have been somewhat scuppered, though, if they are required to play an FA Cup third-round replay.
Because of this, some Premier League teams will have a shortened break to allow them to contest their replays prior to the fourth round.
Despite the limited set of fixtures, this weekend still sees Newcastle host Manchester City, while Erik ten Hag’s struggling Manchester United take on Tottenham.
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