New Delhi: Festive season in the Premier League is a very tricky period for all the clubs. It is that time of the year, when fixtures come thick and fast and managers need to be at their best with regards to squad management.
Each team is scheduled to play four matches in 12 days. Though, the festive season along with the Christmas cheer is a treat to football fans across the globe, quick succession of games takes a toll on the fitness of footballers.
Team selection is bound to give even the most experienced managers a headache during this 12-day period. More than 10% of the total points in the tally are there for the taking in less than a fortnight. Hence these games could potentially decide the eventual champions or break the campaign of relegation threatened teams.
Last season, the difference between winners Manchester City and runners-up Liverpool was highlighted by their performance during this period. City picked up 12 points, while Liverpool could only manage 6.
As per the official website of the Premier League, in 75% of the cases, eventual champions fared better than their closest challengers during the busy festive period.
Undoubtedly, the big teams with plenty of talent in their ranks are bound to negotiate this tricky dew days better than teams with smaller squads.
Certain managers might ring in wholesale changes to their squad, while others will have retain most of their players in all the games depending on their prospects in the league.
For instance, QPR may not afford to rest in-form striker Charlie Austin. Similarly, Arsenal and Liverpool can't do without the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Raheem Sterling.
Chelsea and Manchester City appear to be in a favorable position to come out of this period relatively unscathed mainly due to their big squads and total points, which will facilitate the process of player rotation.
Several former players have accepted that playing 4 matches in 12 games had taken a toll on their bodies and affected their form.
Managers, of course, have been there and done that. Yet, every season brings about a new challenge. There is no right or wrong approach, but it remains to be seen which managers pass this tough test with flying colors.