Chelsea, Swansea, Southampton, Arsenal and even Newcastle are among those who may prefer to have a 'weekend off' if the weather dictates so.
Looking outside my window, I can see a wall of snow and not much else – possible fixture postponements all over the country amid concerns over the safety of travelling fans and safety of the players on the pitch could see a number of games called off this weekend.
Chelsea’s poor home form at Stamford Bridge is a major concern for manager Rafael Benitez as they head in to Sunday’s clash with London rivals Arsenal.
They’ve won just one league game at the Bridge since the Spanish coach took the reigns from Roberto Di Matteo and, to compound their woes, they’re 2-0 down on aggregate so Swansea in the Capital One Cup semi-finals.
Nigerian pair John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses are away on international duty at the African Cup of Nations as the Blues also prepare for the tough second leg against Swansea next Wednesday evening. All in all they might fancy the day off on Sunday.
Likewise, Chelsea’s opponents Arsenal might be hoping the fixture is postponed – the Gunners are without Mikel Arteta for at least another two weeks and they’ve lost Gervinho to Ivory Coast international duty, along with concerns over fitness of their key players who have little in the way of cover.
Players like Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Thomas Vermaelen, and Bacary Sagna have been involved in a lot of games in what has already been a congested start to the New Year. Manager Arsene Wenger has yet to bring any new signings in and perhaps facing Chelsea at this moment is something the Gunners can do without.
After a tough week – losing 2-0 to Manchester City with 10 men for 80 minutes, followed by their 1-0 late win over Swansea in the FA Cup means there’ll be some tired legs, and minds, if the game goes ahead on Sunday.
Synonymously, Swansea went out of the FA Cup to Arsenal on Wednesday evening and they’ll probably have one eye on the Capital One Cup semi-final second leg with Chelsea next Wednesday, if their game against Stoke at home goes ahead on Saturday.
Manager Michael Laudrup rested Michu for most of Wednesday’s game, bringing him on late in the second half for a brief run out. I reckon he’ll be hoping for a ‘snow day’ to alleviate some of the pressure on his players going into next week’s game. Some fresh legs for that fixture wouldn’t go amiss.
‘Fresh legs’ is something Newcastle are desperately lacking at the moment – the Magpies have had a torrid time with injuries to key players in recent weeks. They’re still awaiting the return of Danny Simpson, Hatem Ben Arfa, Steven Taylor, amongst others, but those three are expected to return in the next few weeks.
I’m sure they’d rather host Reading once they’ve got a few players back available and possibly after they’ve brought in some new personnel. Losing Demba Ba to Chelsea will have been a sore disappointment for everyone at the club and perhaps having a few new faces around would boost the morale in and around St James’ Park.
Honourable mention goes to Spurs who face Man United without Emmanuel Adebayor who is also at the African Cup of Nations with Togo. They might prefer to hold out for a re-schedule, especially now that Sandro has been ruled out for the rest of the season after his knee surgery.
However, my fifth and final pick is Southampton who have just sacked manager Nigel Adkins and I’m sure the Saints’ new boss would take an extra bit of preparation time gladly.
Mauricio Pochettino will have little time to prepare and acquaint himself with the players if their game with Everton goes ahead on Monday evening. The Argentine will be hoping the English weather really is as bad as he’s been told.
image: © vortistic