Manchester United corner flag at Old Trafford

How does the Premier League winter break work?

Manchester United’s match against Wolves on Saturday was our last for over a fortnight, with the Premier League set for its first-ever winter break.

The mid-season pause will allow the squad respite before the season resumes in mid-February.

There’s been plenty of talk about the new calendar in recent weeks, so what’s the idea behind the winter break and how long will United’s players have off between fixtures?

Find out below…

90 in 20: United 0 Wolves 0Video

WHAT IS THE WINTER BREAK?

In June 2018, the Football Association, the Premier League and EFL announced that they had come to an agreement guaranteeing a mid-season player break for the 2019/20 Premier League campaign.

With sides facing ever-busier schedules over the Christmas and New Year period – United played 19 matches across four competitions between 1 December and 1 February – the winter break has been brought in to give each of the Premier League’s 20 clubs at least 13 days between successive league fixtures.

Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton and Newcastle United will have less time off, however, due to their Emirates FA Cup fourth-round replays being scheduled for 4-5 February. Aside from those replays, Premier League clubs are not allowed to play matches during their designated break, although overseas training camps are permitted.

HOW LONG DO UNITED GET OFF?

Ole's first-team side aren’t back in action until we travel to Stamford Bridge to play Chelsea on Monday 17 February. That means both clubs have a 16-day hiatus, with the Blues drawing 2-2 at Leicester Cityon Saturday before their break.

Video
United's next assignment is at Stamford Bridge on 17 February.

DOES THIS MEAN WE'LL HAVE A WEEKEND WITH NO PREMIER LEAGUE FOOTBALL?

No. Unlike in other European leagues which employ a winter break, such as the Bundesliga, which had no games scheduled at all between 22 December and 17 January this season, fixtures will still be played on every weekend in February. To ensure this is possible, and that sides still get their allotted rest, four of Matchweek 26’s matches will take place on the first weekend, with the other six, including our visit to Chelsea, being played on the second weekend.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says

"We had 18 games in two months and some of these players played almost every minute. The attitude, character and fitness is perfect, but you get mentally tired, so this break will come in handy."

WILL THE FA CUP BE IMPACTED?

Yes. In recent years, the fifth round of the FA Cup has taken place in the middle of February. To accommodate the winter break, it has now been moved to the first midweek in March, although the exact date for United’s trip to Derby County or Northampton Town has yet to be confirmed. Due to the later date, from this season onwards, replays will no longer be held for drawn fifth-round ties, with games level after 90 minutes going to extra-time and, if necessary, penalties.

Luke Shaw says

“Chelsea is a massive game. We will have a few days off and then train very hard to get ready because we know it is going to be tough. We want to close the gap and we need to beat them.”

THE FULL SCHEDULE

All 10 matches will be broadcast live on television in the UK and here’s the full schedule…

SATURDAY 8 FEBRUARY
Everton v Crystal Palace (12:30 GMT)
Brighton & Hove Albion v Watford (17:30 GMT)

SUNDAY 9 FEBRUARY
Sheffield United v Bournemouth (14:00 GMT)
Manchester City v West Ham United (16:30 GMT)

FRIDAY 14 FEBRUARY
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Leicester City (20:00 GMT)

SATURDAY 15 FEBRUARY
Southampton v Burnley (12:30 GMT)
Norwich City v Liverpool (17:30 GMT)

SUNDAY 16 FEBRUARY
Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur (14:00 GMT)
Newcastle United v Arsenal (16:30 GMT)

MONDAY 17 FEBRUARY
Chelsea v UNITED (20:00 GMT)

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