Jaded, tired, fatigued and heavy legged. No, not words used to describe 50 year old Paul Scholes, but those referring to recent Arsenal and Man City performances. Justified?
Cue understandable howls of derision right across The Blue Moon when anybody with a proper job considers multi-millionaire footballing athletes being talked about in that context, let alone actually daring to complain that they are in need of a quick lie down themselves.
In Laandaarn Taarn, after The Arsenal were defeated early this year by Ipswich Town, currently beleaguered Gunners boss Arsene Wenger referred to fatigue and a January fixture pile up. Manuel Almunia pointed to fatigue taking it’s toll in Arsenal’s Champions League defeat by Barcelona.
In Manchester, Roberto Mancini has repeatedly bemoaned ‘playing a match every three days’ to excuse his side’s apparant slow down in tempo which has bordered on the abjectly lethargic. Not only that, resurgent City powerhouse Micah Richards got in on the act this week describing City’s players as looking ‘a bit leggy’ in the FA Cup win over Reading. He’s not the first Citizen this season to do so.
Numerous pundits and learned scribes, utterly frustrated by City’s failure to implode on all fronts by mid March have leapt upon City’s seeming malaise in preference to dissing Crawley Town conquerers ‘Man U’ and their catalogue of season long close scrapes. Of course, City fans have become used to that, but do the players and the dapper City gaffer have a point? Are Arsenal’s concerns also legitimate?
In 2009 City’s then UEFA Cup campaign eventually piled in at Hamburg. Leslie Hughes remarked at the time that City were looking a spent force. Perhaps with reason, as The Blues lost 8 out of 13 league games that followed a Thursday night European clash.
So, is there a case for a mid season winter break that many people in English football call for each season, or would that compound the problem?
On the continent last weekend Paris Saint Germain have groaned over the length of their season having crammed 46 competitive games into either side of their own Winter feet up.
VMC has got the calculator out and publishes the first ‘Knackered League’ which totals the amount of competitive League and Cup games played by Premier League Clubs to date with their league positions alongside.
THE KNACKERED LEAGUE 2010-2011
League and Cup Fixtures up to and including 14th March 2011
Arsenal 48 Games – 2nd position
CITY 47 – 3rd
Liverpool 44 – 6th
the rags 44* – 1st
Tottenham 41 – 5th
Chelsea 40* – 4th
Birmingham 39 – 17th
West Ham 39 – 18th
Stoke 37 – 12th
Aston Villa 37 – 13th
Wigan 36 – 20th
Bolton 36 – 7th
Wolverhampton 35 – 19th
Everton 35 – 9th
West Brom 34 – 16th
Newcastle 33 – 10th
Fulham 34 – 11th
Blackburn 33 – 14th
Sunderland 32 – 8th
Blackpool 31 – 15th
*includes community shield knockabout
What are your views on this hot water bottle topic? What do you make of the table? Should the players get early nights or give over being mard arsed and get on with it? Is it now impossible for a top English side to pull off doubles and trebles let alone quadruple trophy hauls? Give us your views here and in the friendly VMC Forums.
FOLLOW CITY IN THEIR PHOENIX FROM THE EUROPA LEAGUE FLAMES COMEBACK BID WITH VMC :
Head for the VMC Match Day Experience Forum for the build up and beyond to City’s last chance saloon clash with Dynamo Kiev. Can The Blues defy the odds and maintain an offensive on three fronts?
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