In a season where Chelsea have to face the footballing deluge of five competitions, a lunchtime kick off on Saturday feels a little bit unnecessary following a Champions League match on Wednesday night.
Yet, that is what Thomas Tuchel‘s side will have to contend with as they take on six matches in the next 17 days.
It will no doubt be a frustration to the German coach, who has expressed his concerns about the amount of football played by his Blues stars so far in 2021.
Tuchel said ahead of Malmo: “It isn’t easy for any team in the Premier League to win any game so maybe this is normal and we have to embrace the situation that is difficult at the moment. We are finding our ways to win the games at the moment. There is still room to improve and we lack form and freshness, a bit of joy, and for me a key reason is not the mentality or attitude it is nothing else but what you said.
“If you think about it, if you travel through time zones, in a hotel, then you change the hotel, one day at home, see family, then back to hotel, play at Brentford then it’s Champions League, it can be tiring and I can only repeat it, I am a big big friend of quality and quality player need to be in shape.
“This is simply, too much football in too many competitions.”
The likes of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have all voiced their displeasure with scheduling of fixtures following European nights, and recently Manchester United have had the same situation as Chelsea face.
The Red Devils faced Villareal on the Wednesday night before being met by Everton in the early kick of the following Saturday. The Toffees obviously came away the victors that afternoon.
Solskjaer noted: “Us and Chelsea played Wednesday night, we could have easily played Sunday and the Liverpool vs City game should have been the Saturday one. Common sense might not be so common, unfortunately.”
He added: “It is what it is and you understand that there is more to it than just moving a game but have some ice in your belly and reschedule it, be calmer about it. It couldn’t be that difficult.”
And anyway, weren’t broadcasters meant to be moving 12.30pm kick offs to a 7.45pm slot when teams have played in Europe?
Following the likes of Klopp’s public outburst to BT Sport, that is the plan.
BT Sport and the Premier League agreed upon an extension of their existing £5 billion TV rights deal until 2025 earlier this year. A government exclusion allowed the parties to come together for a deal, rather than have the product put up for tender as usually would occur.
As part of the agreement, the broadcaster was set to adjust their lunchtime slot to 7.45pm for clubs who have played in Europe on the prior Wednesday.
However, this does not come into place until next season, with the new deal. Meaning that BT’s selection will remain in their allotted slot this term.
The broadcaster said: “BT Sport will continue the current schedule, kicking the weekend off with Saturday lunchtime fixtures plus bumper weeks of back to back and simultaneous mid-week fixtures. BT Sport will accommodate the new Premier League agreement around fixture congestion during UEFA Champions League weeks, with the BT Sport Saturday game moving to a prime evening slot of 7.45pm when teams involved have played in Europe on the prior Wednesday.”
A frustrating wait lies in store following last year’s condensed season, with international competition in the summer, and a very busy term for the Blues this year.