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05th Jan 2017

Gary Lineker is right, the festive fixture schedule for 2017 is ridiculous

Jurgen Klopp won't be happy...

Robert Redmond

The Premier League festive fixture schedule for 2017 is set to be even more congested than 2016.

Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-0 win over Chelsea on Wednesday brought an end to the 2016/2017 Premier League festive fixtures. It’s fair to say a lot of managers weren’t happy with their players being forced to play so many games within such a short space of time.

Jurgen Klopp conveyed his unhappiness with the schedule back in October. Liverpool played Manchester City at Anfield on December 31, and then Sunderland away two days later.

“I only saw we have less than 48 hours between two games with travel,” the Liverpool manager said.

“Then you [the media] say: ‘Ah you didn’t perform too well,’ or ‘injuries.’ And then this Dutch guy, athletic coach, says the training is not too good. That’s all.

“But how will you prepare teams for this? Do you say against Man City [play at] 50 percent because on Monday is Sunderland? How can I say that’s no problem?

“Everybody is asking why England [in the] summer is not too successful in big tournaments.

“Ask what all the other teams are doing, or what all other countries are doing at this [Christmas] time. Ask them and you will see they have their legs on the sofa and [are] watching English football. That’s what the big difference is.”

Klopp’s concerns would prove correct.

Liverpool beat Manchester City 1-0, but looked sapped of energy against Sunderland and drew the game 2-2. The German wasn’t the only one to voice his frustration with the fixture schedule.

Sam Allardyce and Arsene Wenger also hit out at the schedule and it’s difficult to disagree with them.

You can’t expect high quality games of football when matches are being played less than 48-hours apart. It might be tradition, but that doesn’t make it right.

It used to be tradition to eat steak and chips before games, and no top level player does that anymore. Hopefully.

Well if Klopp and co. thought 2016’s festive fixture list was congested, wait until they see what 2017 has in store.

According to the BBC, due the season being shortened to help England prepare for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where they will lose on penalties in the last-16 or the quarter-finals, clubs will have to play two extra games in December.

That means Premier League teams could be forced to play six games each between December 16 and January 1. That’s six games in 17 days.

Gary Lineker is right, that many games in such a short space of time is “utterly bonkers.”

Here are the proposed matchdays:

This is the draft schedule, and nothing will be confirmed until June.

However, if the proposals are enacted, there will be 60 Premier League games played in the period. In 2016, there were 40 games in the same period.

Wenger called the 2016 festive fixture schedule the “most uneven Christmas period” he has seen in 20 years. He might have to revise that opinion.