The Premier League winter break explained
For the first time in its history the Premier League is taking a two-week winter break.
Don’t fret, this doesn’t mean you will be without top-flight English football for a fortnight, because games are staggered over the next two weekends.
Matchweek 26 sees eight teams playing on 8-9 February and the other 12 playing from 14-17 February.
The break was agreed in June 2018 by the Football Association, Premier League and English Football League.
The FA described it as “a significant moment” and – with the Euros coming up this summer – one that “will greatly benefit club and country”.
Expect to see Premier League stars snapped at luxury resorts, taking selfies with Salt Bae and being put through their paces in warm-weather training camps.
Who plays when?
Saturday, 8 February : Everton v Crystal Palace 12:30 GMT, Brighton v Watford 17:30
Sunday, 9 February: Sheffield United v Bournemouth 14:00, Manchester City v West Ham 16:30
Friday, 14 February: Wolves v Leicester 20:00
Saturday, 15 February: Southampton v Burnley 12:30, Norwich v Liverpool 17:30
Sunday, 16 February: Aston Villa v Tottenham 14:00, Arsenal v Newcastle 16:30
Monday, 17 February: Chelsea v Manchester United 20:00
Who gets the longest break?
The scheduling of FA Cup replays this week meant some teams had to play during the ‘mid-season player break’, which upset Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.
Liverpool, Newcastle, Tottenham and Southampton all saw their time off reduced because of FA Cup games.
Had any of those sides been scheduled to play in the first weekend of the winter break, they would have had two full weeks off.
What is your club doing?
Arsenal players have been training at Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex in Dubai
Arsenal: After a few days off, Arsenal are spending time during the break at a warm-weather training camp in Dubai.
Aston Villa: Dean Smith has given his players some time off but they are expected to return to training on Monday.
Villa players Tyrone Mings and Jack Grealish took the chance to get some winter sun
Bournemouth: Eddie Howe’s squad are expected to take some time off and then resume training as usual during the break.
Brighton: Brighton were also due to visit Dubai after Saturday’s game against Watford but cancelled the plans because of security concerns.
Burnley: Sean Dyche has given his players a few days off before they return to training as normal.
Chelsea: Frank Lampard has told his players to take a few days’ rest, travel home and spend time with their families, before putting in some “hard work” on the training ground.
Chelsea players Mason Mount and Ross Barkley have been training in Dubai, while Tammy Abraham took a break with Fikayo Tomori
Crystal Palace: Roy Hodgson says it is an important period for his players to unwind and has encouraged them to “get away from football and spend time with their families”.
Everton: Carlo Ancelotti will give his players four or five days off following Saturday’s game against Crystal Palace, but then wants them back at Everton’s “fantastic” Finch Farm base rather than having to “move around the world”.
Leicester: Brendan Rodgers says the Foxes scrapped plans for a warm-weather training camp in case they ended up having to play a replay in the FA Cup.
Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson watched his brother Muriel play for Fluminense in Brazil while Adam Lallana visited Miami
Liverpool: A few Reds stars enjoyed breaks this week – Alisson returned to Brazil, Roberto Firmino was in the Maldives, Joe Gomez in California and Adam Lallana in Miami – but Klopp says many players will have access to fitness coaches before returning to Melwood to prepare for the game at Norwich.
Manchester City: Pep Guardiola will give his players a few days off after Sunday’s game against West Ham, before returning to training as usual.
Manchester United: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad have until Saturday off before heading to a warm-weather training camp, reportedly in Marbella, although some players have already been doing extra training in Dubai. A planned trip to Qatar was cancelled because of safety concerns.
Jesse Lingard and Luke Shaw have been training at Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex in Dubai
Newcastle: The Magpies saw their break reduced by the FA Cup replay at Oxford, although boss Steve Bruce says the players will still get “four or five days off and have a long weekend”.
Norwich: Players were given a few extra days off earlier this week but it’s back to business as usual for Norwich as they prepare to host Liverpool a week on Saturday.
Sheffield United: The Blades will be visiting Dubai during their break, which begins after Sunday’s game against Bournemouth.
Southampton: Southampton’s time off was shortened because of their FA Cup replay at Tottenham on Wednesday, giving them a reduced 10-day break to have a rest and return to training.
Tottenham: Jose Mourinho said he “doesn’t care about the break” because he wanted it nearer Spurs’ Champions League tie with RB Leipzig. His side face Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday, 16 February and the Bundesliga side three days later.
Watford: Nigel Pearson’s side play Brighton on Saturday and will have some time off before returning to training.
West Ham: The Hammers play Manchester City on Sunday and are yet to announce their plans.
Wolves: Nuno Espirito Santo’s squad are currently in Marbella training at La Manga.