Why we cannot get enough of the festive football season
December is the countdown for Christmas but for football fans it is an action packed month filled with match upon match of Premier League, Capital One cup and Champions League.
This festive period is often described by managers as a month you just have to survive. Sir Alex Ferguson always claimed that as long as you are about where you want to be after December you have done alright.
Teams are hit with a brutal run of fixtures in December which football experts often claim is the reason for England’s struggle in summer competitions.
Unlike other leagues Britain does not have a winter break and managers have on many occasions emphasised the impact a few weeks off in this period would do not only for the clubs in their season but for the national team as well.
A lack of energy after a hard gruelling season has been linked with the performance of England in major tournaments. Other nations whose majority of players benefit from a winter break have had more success.
So is it time for the Premier League to trial run something similar? But if we did we would miss out on a few timeless classics so as it is the festive season here are a few December crackers:
29th December 2007- Tottenham Hotspur 6-4 Reading
An enthralling game at White Hart game between Spurs and Reading finished 6-4. A game in which Dimitar Berbatov bagged a four goal haul was one of the highest scoring games in Premier League history. A topsy-turvy game in which Spurs took the lead through the Bulgarian before Reading took the lead themselves through Kalifa Kitson and Ivar Ingimarsson. An equalizer by Berbatov was followed by a flurry of goals which put Reading 4-3 up before Spurs came back to win a quite amazing game.
29th December 2012- Arsenal 7-3 Newcastle United
A memorable day for Arsenal fans as they saw their side smash Newcastle United 7-3 at the Emirates. Amazingly it was only 1-1 at half time, Theo Walcott had given the Gunners the lead on 20 minutes before Demba Ba grabbed an equalizer. In a second half that can only be described as madness Arsenal retook the lead and Newcastle once again levelled at this repeated itself again less than 10 minutes later. However, Newcastle couldn’t manage to keep up with the speed of the game and Arsenal began to run riot with goals from Olivier Giroud and two more from Walcott rounded off an incredible game.
14th December 2013- Manchester City 6-3 Arsenal
One quite fresh in the memory comes from the Etihad between Manchester City and Arsenal. A mix of goal scorers from the home side meant a 6-3 win over title challengers Arsenal. Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo, Fernandinho, Silva and Yaya Touré were all on the scoresheet in a crazy game. In a low scoring first half City went into the break 2-1 up but catastrophic defending by Arsene Wenger’s side led to goal after goal. Walcott and Mertesacker grabbed what turned out to be nothing more than consolation goals in a game that severely dented Arsenal’s title hopes.
26th December 2012- Manchester United 4-3 Newcastle United
A Boxing Day classic at Old Trafford saw the home side come back three times to beat Newcastle United 4-3. Newcastle found themselves in the lead early on thanks to James Perch before goals at both ends by Manchester United’s Jonny Evans. A Patrice Evra low drive levelled things up only for Papiss Cisse to pop up with a cracker to put the Magpies in the lead. But as they have so famously done before Manchester United came back. Robin Van Persie notched the equalizer and in the dying seconds of the game Michael Carrick slid Javier Hernandez through to snatch victory in front of a soaked Old Trafford crowd.
So is a winter break worth sacrificing the chance to see more Premier League classics? A trial run could provide the league with valuable information over its usage. With the 2022 World Cup being held in Qatar and taking place in the winter no doubt there will be a period of rest for the players. However, it could throw the regime of multiple leagues off for years in doing so. But all of that is well in the future and there is plenty to be cheery about with a bounty of Christmas matches over the next few weeks.
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