On Saturday, Sunderland coach Gus Poyet sounded off about the crowded winter schedule. “Playing on [December] 28th is a disgrace,” Poyet said. “If you want to see the best players performing well, you need to make sure you are not playing every two days.”
Poyet has a pretty good point. All the other major European leagues shut down during the holidays. A saner Premier League schedule would prevent injuries, improve morale, and help the England team compete against better-rested rivals at the World Cup.
But the Christmas fixtures aren’t going away anytime soon. Premier League teams play through the end of December for the same reason Newcastle fans take off their shirts during snowstorms: It’s stupid but entertaining, and, crucially, it makes for good TV.