The Premier League had four representatives in the Champions League Round of 16, contested this week and last, yet not one of Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United or Chelsea were able to register a positive result with the former three recording 2-0 defeats and the latter tying 1-1.
While renowned pundit Jeff Stelling is aware there are other causal factors in these results, the Sky Sports anchor pointed to the competitiveness and intensity of the English season as potentially damaging when it comes to the knockout stages in Europe's elite competition.
Stelling also points to the recent injury list and the falling standards of marquee playmaker Mesut Ozil as a consequence of fixture pile-up.
'When it comes to this stage of the season our sides are not at their best any longer simply because of the competitiveness of the Premier League and that intensity,' he said to Sky Sports.
'Our players have picked up a myriad of injuries along the line, while others such as Mesut Ozil are finding it difficult to cope playing week in, week out at such a high physical level. That puts us one step behind.
'It's not the only reason, of course. I'm not pretending that Bayern and Real Madrid aren't ahead of us at the moment - because they are, there's no doubt about that - but I don't think the Premier League should be written off.'
What Stelling may be not too subtly hinting at is how beneficial a winter break, even if for a fortnight, could be for the top division in England, as it is something clubs in Europe's other major leagues no doubt benefit from, not solely because of sustained quality performances in the second half of a season but, far more importantly, the well-being of the athletes in that league.
Footballers in leagues with winter breaks do, after all, suffer fewer cumulative injuries than those who compete in divisions without winter breaks, like the Premier League.
image: © El Ronzo