The quality of the football we have seen in recent weeks has been quite poor. The injury lists are getting bigger and players are exhausted as a result of the relentless schedule. Teams are happy to sit in their formation behind the ball rather than expending energy pressing,as a result of this the excitement and goals in the premier league has dipped significantly. The average goals per game this season in september was 3.68 compared to just 1.58 so far in march,also 54% of games have had under 2.5 goals.
Can we really blame the players for this drop off? The 19/20 premier league season resumed on June 17th and concluded on July 26th,the 20/21 season started just seven weeks later on September 12th. Over the last 10 months the players have had just seven weeks off and are expected to power through until mid summer this season with the European championship.
This international break coming up is a chance to give the players a well needed rest,a chance to recharge the batteries to go again for another hectic period. South America have cancelled their upcoming international fixtures,now Europe needs to follow suit.At the moment there is little time for rest,recovery ,video analysis and training ground preparation for games which is serving us up drab affairs.
That’s not even mentioning the obvious risk of players contracting Covid-19 when they leave their club bubble to travel around Europe. The spike in cases amongst squads after the last international break would suggest the same will happen this time around. Also in the UK anyone returning from red list countries have to quarantine for 10 days,Portugal is currently on that red list so this would mean that premier league stars Joao Cancelo,Ruben Dias,Bernardo Silva,Diogo Jota and Bruno Fernandes would all be tied down for 10 days if they were to travel to Portugal.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has said he is unwilling to lose key players because of quarantine in the “real part of the season” “We’ve worked incredibly hard for eight or nine months,if important players cannot play for 10 days it makes no sense,they are not going to fly.”
You might argue that international managers will want these games to plan for the summer,but wouldn’t they prefer their players to arrive back to them in June even 15-20% more fresh both physically and mentally? It doesn’t matter how much you are being paid or how many cars you have,the mental strain of constantly having to be in a certain place at a certain time along with the physical impact 90 minutes of elite sport has on the body is bound to take it’s toll at some stage. These players aren’t robots.
Take this sample England starting XI for the Euros,the likes of Maguire,Mount,Sterling,Kane and Rashford could potentially play 60+ games by the end of the season.
|Players||Games played so far this season||Potential games left this season||Overall|
The premier league will conclude on May 23rd with Champions and Europa league finals following after.How are these players expected to perform to the best of their ability in an international tournament that is set to start just two weeks later? we all want a high standard of football but without a break,that is impossible.