English football’s obsession with stuffing the calendar full of matches is firmly ingrained in the identity of the sport on these shores.
In Germany, the practice of playing an extra game before the weekend is considered to be so quintessentially English that a team which has a midweek match is said to endure an Englisch Woche, an English week.
This particular set of fixtures on Tuesday and Wednesday is slightly different as only 12 Premier League clubs have been subjected to an English week. But why?
Here’s everything you need to know about the latest instalment of midweek Premier League action.
The passing of Queen Elizabeth II is the root cause of this backlog of fixtures. All the way back in September, when Ralph Hasenhuttl was still in charge of Southampton, Brentford were the Premier League’s second-top scorers and Tottenham were one of two unbeaten teams, the English top flight was hurriedly postponed as a sign of respect for the death of Britain’s long-reigning monarch.
Aston Villa, Bournemouth, Brighton, Leeds, Leicester, Newcastle, Nottingham Forest and West Ham are all only now getting around to playing the matches that were scheduled for the weekend of 10-11 September.
After the initial raft of postponements, Graham Potter’s first match in charge of Chelsea was poised to be against Liverpool the following weekend, but that fixture also bit the dust due to concerns over the use of police in London with the Queen’s funeral was set to take place that Saturday. Ultimately, Potter didn’t last long enough to face the Reds.
After a humbling 4-0 thumping at the Gtech Community Stadium in August, Manchester United’s shelved rematch with Brentford could not be blamed on the Queen. United were pencilled in to face the Bees on 1 February but the club’s progress to the Carabao Cup final that weekend shunted the chance of revenge back to this Wednesday.
Chelsea’s first game under interim manager Bruno Saltor against Liverpool is arguably the headline fixture from the offering on Tuesday and Wednesday. Leicester City will also be playing under temporary figureheads following Brendan Rodgers’ hasty departure when they face a resurgent Aston Villa from within the drop zone.
Leeds United host Nottingham Forest in a crunch clash at the same end of the table – with just one point separating two sides well and truly lumbered in the relegation mire.
A full list of the Premier League’s midweek fixtures can be found below:
04/04/2023 – Bournemouth vs Brighton & Hove Albion (19:45)
04/04/2023 – Leeds United vs Nottingham Forest (19:45)
04/04/2023 – Leicester City vs Aston Villa (19:45)
04/04/2023 – Chelsea vs Liverpool (20:00)
05/04/2023 – Manchester United vs Brentford (20:00)
05/04/2023 – West Ham United vs Newcastle United (20:00)
* all time BST
On this edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders, Graeme Bailey & Toby Cudworth discuss Julian Nagelsmann’s future and links to the vacant Tottenham head coach role, Barcelona’s ambition to bring Lionel Messi ‘home’, Brighton teenager Evan Ferguson, Florian Wirtz, Kalvin Phillips and more!
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