It’s a long season. 38 Premier League games, a handful in the FA Cup, double figures in Europe when you have a good year.
Yet England remains the only country in Europe with a major league but no winter break. La Liga break up for a fortnight, the Bundesliga stops for an entire month. Isn’t it refreshing?
Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey has suffered injuries in December for consecutive seasons, and would like a winter break. FourFourTwo asked the midfielder what it is that makes the Premier League so difficult, and the Welshman said the Christmas period was the toughest of all.
“The lack of a winter break doesn’t help! Around the Christmas period is probably the toughest period of the season,” Ramsey admitted.
Back in 2013 he picked up an injury on Boxing Day which saw him ruled out for three months and curtailed Arsenal’s charge to the title.
“Playing two games a week, some within a couple of days of each other, proved to be challenging last season.”
With the Champions League Arsenal already have to play twice each week throughout the autumn and some of the spring. You have to guess it would only help if players had more time to recover in the harsh winter months.
“It’s also tough not being around our families when we’re in hotels on Christmas night. Mentally, it’s a hard part of the season.”
There has also been a growing trend of teams from the bottom half of the table winning games unexpectedly over Christmas.
This may shock some people, as those clubs have lighter squads, but the non-stop pressure and expectation is sure to bug players at bigger clubs sooner or later, so it only makes sense that happens when pressure intensifies as you approach the turn of the year.
“That time of year is usually our busiest,” Ramsey said, “and that’s often when teams in the lower half of the table cause a few upsets.”
Arsenal will face newly promoted AFC Bournemouth at the end of December this season before hosting Newcastle early in 2016. We can only hope the squad is ready for the harsh tests we will face all season, but particularly at that time of the campaign.