Fixture congestion has always been an issue for the Premier League. For fans, players and managers alike, it has drawn ire. The only people that seem to enjoy it are the top executives at the FA and the Premier League who continuously rake in money from viewership and advertising during the festive period. Oh, and pub landlords, especially those in North London where drowning your sorrows in pint glasses has become a yearly tradition.
Consistently, big name players get injured due to having to play 90 minutes every few days from mid-November to mid-January. The possibility of a “Winter Break” is continuously brought up and never acted upon, and eventually we see a bit of a decline in form from the best players in the league as they try desperately to recover for the rest of the season, knowing there’s an international tournament coming up.
Of the last four European winners of the World Cup, all but one of their domestic leagues has a winter break, and it could be seen as a factor of the England National Team’s disappointment in almost every national tournament for the last 30 years.
Money talks, however, and with nothing to fill the gap that Sky Sports and BT Sports fill with the Premier League, I can’t see a winter break any time soon, so teams will suffer as a result.
One of those teams currently struggling is Tottenham. Spurs hosted West Brom at Wembley Stadium during Week 13 and had to rely on a late Harry Kane goal to escape with a draw. The final score was 1-1, and Tottenham may feel a little aggrieved with the result considering they had 25 shots to West Brom’s five, but only one could hit the back of the net, and they paid for their ineffectiveness.
Dele Alli’s play continues to be hit and miss for Tottenham, who may have to make a decision soon on whether to replace him in the starting lineup until he recaptures his form. Harry Kane continues to be the shining light for Spurs, but as they strolled in to Week 14 with their tales between their legs, even Kane couldn’t save them from a 2-1 loss to former Premier League Champions Leicester.
West Brom, on the other hand, may well have thought their rotten luck was over after the draw with Tottenham. Before the game they decided to let Tony Pulis go after a run of 11 matches without a win. Speculation of Pulis’ replacement was electric, until they finally settled on Alan Pardew.
Pardiola continues to steal a living in the top league of England, and he’ll manage his first game for West Brom against his former Crystal Palace team at the weekend. Maybe he’ll do the worm if they score.
Coming back up north for Week 14, Everton handed David Unsworth a massive win for his last
game in charge as interim manager, destroying David Moyes’ West Ham by 4 goals to 0. Wayne Rooney looked like a teenager again, putting a hat-trick past Joe Hart, including one from inside his own half. Rooney is no stranger to halfway line goals. Scoring a similar (but better) one against West Ham again in 2014.
Ashley Williams finished the scoring for Everton, and West Ham remained on 10 points, still firmly in the relegation zone with the worst goal difference in the league.
In some ways I have to feel sorry for David Moyes. His last two jobs in England he has been tasked with trying to plug holes in a sinking ship, and he’s come across as a bad manager because of it.
I don’t think Moyes is anywhere near as good as he once was, but it’s never easy to come in to a failing club, the weight of that city on your shoulders, with them all expecting instant results. Nevertheless, Moyes chose to take the job, and if and when he goes down with the ship, it may well be the last we see of Moyes in the Premier League.
Sam Allardyce watched on as his new Everton team beat West Ham, and he’ll welcome Huddersfield to
Goodison Park this weekend for his first game in charge. Allardyce seemingly came out of his controversial sacking from the England National Team unscathed, and he’s quite clearly the man who can get Everton out of the mess they find themselves in.
A master of escaping relegation, Allardyce will be thrust in to the deep end after a favorable fixture this weekend, travelling to Anfield for the Merseyside Derby on the same day as the Manchester Derby in Week 16.
There’s a lot to look forward to over the next few weeks, even if the fixture list could use a shake-up. But it is the holiday season so keep your hand grasped around a pint glass and watch as your team either fails miserably or surprises us all!
Ryan Oldham is a Manchester native and a lifelong supporter of Manchester United. He knows far more about English Premier League football than you do, and therefore was selected to write a weekly update on the most popular professional sports league in the world. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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