After the City game on Sunday, we have got a week off until we play Charlton on the 4 of March. This is our last week off for three weeks. Following the Charlton game, we have got another six games, finishing with Everton on the 25 March. That is seven games in three weeks! The Everton game is preceeded by the cup tie away to Brum on the 21st, and that game is preceeded by the trip to Newcastle on the 19th. This seems very arduous, especially when you consider the intensity of some of the games in that period, a trip to Arsenal, a Champions league knock-out tie, an FA Cup quarter final and a derby!
Will our squad be able to cope with this ridiculous schedule? Surely the likes of Agger, Kromkamp, Traore, Fowler, players who haven't played as much as others, will have to start more games?
Sorry, but can't agree. Yes we have a lot of games, but these players are professional sportsmen and two games a week/eight games a month should not be beyond any of them individually. We also have a massive squad, and with squad rotation these days, there's really no need for the 'tired' ones to play unless we have a major injury crisis. The number of away games cannot be used as an excuse as travelling times have reduced dramatically for away games (London or the south coast is now an hour by plane rather than 4-6 hours by coach).
Lets have a look at some facts and figures from the 1983/84 season:
6 pre-season games in 12 days, in four different countries N. Ireland, Holland, Morroco and Spain.
67 competetive games, between 20th August and 30th May. (an average of approximately 7.2 games per month).
6 games between 20th December and 2nd Jan (including playing on consecutive days 26/12 & 27/12)
3 games against Everton (including two cup finals) and two against Benfica in the month of March.
13 league cup ties in total (including three which went to extra-time)
Friendlies away at Newcastle and in Israel in between our last league match and the European Cup final.
15 (yes, FIFTEEN) players only, used throughout the season.
Grobelaar, Kennedy & Hansen played every single minute of every competetive game, whilst Sammy Lee played every game, but being substituted on one occassion. A further four players played over 60 games.
26 substitutions only, made in the 67 games.
Maybe tiredness was the reason we 'only' won three cups that season?