Player fatigue and overload have been on Thomas Tuchel’s mind lately, and while things are pretty busy right now thanks in a big part to the frequent and unwelcome international distractions, things tend to get even more intense after the last such break of the season.
From mid-November to mid-January and sometimes beyond, in most seasons, Chelsea face a relentless deluge of important fixtures in three or four competitions once every three or four days, with nary a chance to breathe or switch gears, let alone rest or train.
And of course that all crescendos during the festive period in late December, with the Premier League unique among Europe’s major leagues in not taking a winter break. Tuchel will be experiencing that first hand for the first time this season. (And not even a pseudo-break this season.)
Fortunately for him and the team, the TV gods have smiled upon us favorably this season (doesn’t happen too often!), granting a rather “normal” fixture list for the holidays. Thanks, Santa Sky! (Actually, Santa Amazon.)
As things stand right now, we have not only over a week to prepare for our Boxing Day match against Aston Villa, but we’ve been blessed with the Brighton fixture getting moved back a day to Wednesday — no 48-hour turnaround for us this year! And the match following that, against Liverpool, has also been moved back a day, to Sunday.
That aforementioned eight-day gap could be cut in half depending on progress in the League Cup (December 21-22 are the dates for the quarterfinals), but that would still make things quite reasonable.
One thing we evidently don’t have to worry about is the FIFA Club World Cup, which was supposed to be played during that same timeframe, but now looks likely to be pushed back at least a couple months. FIFA have not confirmed any sort of postponement or cancelation yet, but we don’t even have a host at the moment for the tournament that’s supposed to start in two months after Japan backed out! So ... yeah. Maybe in February-ish? (When we’ll also have to deal with the Africa Cup of Nations: Jan 6 — Feb 6.)