Especially when it comes to injuries, fixture congestion has been an issue managers have discussed in recent years, and Leicester City and their Championship rivals perhaps have a more cause to complain than they do.
The Premier League, Carabao Cup, FA Cup, and any matches that clubs are playing in Europe are all on the current English schedule. There are many minutes in the legs for players when you factor in the mid-season World Cup and any other international games.
Erik ten Hag, the manager of Manchester United, has brought up this matter this week. We played a lengthier season because of the World Cup in the middle of it and because we had FA Cup and Nations League games to play. A briefer respite,” he suggested.
“Every time the calendar gets busier, the players are under too much strain. Such a wonderful overkill.
“Many of my colleagues have made this argument, and I have done the same. However, it goes on. The timetable is always growing. Players can no longer handle the overburden, which is what is currently evident in this group.
Eight United players are presently out with injuries. In spite of the Seagrave curse notion spreading on social media, Leicester City’s injury issues have not been too severe so far this season (touch wood). Who anyone forget the FA Cup match against Watford when it appeared that half the team was injured?
The ‘big six’ advocating for a change is all well and well, but it would be interesting to hear what other Premier League clubs, particularly those in the Championship, think. Yes, the top teams in the table also have to deal with European football, but they have the resources to be able to assemble a team that ought to be able to handle those demands.
The money they spend should surely go towards a team that is prepared for the challenges of the season that managers are aware is ahead of them, right? Would clubs with smaller budgets find that to be so simple? However, they are the ones who are less vocal.
Championship clubs must manage 46 league games in addition to cup matches. But they operate with, at most, a tenth of the top teams’ budgets.
Pep Guardiola, the manager of Man City, detailed why he planned to make so many changes in a press conference prior to the Carabao Cup match against Newcastle. “That is a problem when you have a lot of injuries, not today, but the effect is in three, four, or five games,” the Manchester City manager said.
“We must travel to Newcastle on the road in the Carabao Cup. I’m sorry, but there are some games where we’ll utilise a portion of the second team because the risks are too great.
Guardiola was still able to start players like Mateo Kovacic and Jack Grealish in the 1-0 loss to Newcastle despite making numerous changes to his team. By winning the treble last season, he proved that he had a team that can handle the challenges.
Clubs without such resources do not have the luxury of changing so many things while maintaining the same standard. Teams are forced into a catch-22 situation if they want to advance in cup events because they must put players at danger.
Although both teams have a comparable amount of games ahead of them in the coming weeks, some analysts expressed their astonishment when Enzo Maresca made 10 changes against Liverpool. However, was there a similar response when Liverpool made the same number of changes?
Not just the managers of the top six Premier League teams must strike this balance. In the championship, games happen frequently, but teams have fewer resources to meet this demand.