Every season, one of the busiest fixture schedules in English football takes place during the festive period, typically between Christmas and the New Year. While this can put extra strain on the performances of players and additional pressure on managers, there is absolutely no doubt about this being one of the most exciting and unpredictable times of any football season.
Games can come thick and fast for the majority of teams, as the fixture schedule goes into overdrive, which means little time to prepare ahead of taking on each rival, throughout the month of December. Likewise, the playing of matches on Boxing Day has become a firm and traditional feature of the festive football schedule.
In the English Premier League this season the tradition is maintained. All 20 teams will be in action between Sunday 26 December 2021 and Sunday 2 January 2022, each playing as many as three games apiece during the festive period. While that may be stressful for the players and their teams, it’s undoubtedly an exciting time for fans and viewers around the globe.
Interestingly, this tradition of playing matches over the festive period remains typically British, given that elsewhere around Europe, teams and leagues usually pause for a winter break in their fixture schedules. For this reason, there’s often added appeal to following English football and especially the Premier League, both at home and internationally over the festive period.
Boxing Day & Football Traditions
There are various historical theories surrounding the origins of Boxing Day, including traditions dating back to the late Roman and early Christian era, when alms boxes were placed in churches to collect offerings for the poor. This was tied to the Feast of Saint Stephen, celebrated on 26 December in Western Christianity and 27 December in Eastern Christianity.
In the United Kingdom, the term “Christmas Box” dates back to the 17th century, along with a custom of collecting money in a box that was opened on Christmas Day, then handed out to the poor on the next day, on Boxing Day. Since 1871, 26 December and Boxing Day has also been regarded as a national public holiday, granting the working-class populace an additional day of rest over the festive period.
Bring on Boxing Day football 🍿 pic.twitter.com/PifkGHeXxc
— B/R Football (@brfootball) December 26, 2020
During the Victorian and Edwardian eras in earliest days of football, there was a growing tradition of public working-class events, although most workers could only attend games during national holidays. Back then, games were often played on Christmas Day, Good Friday and Easter Monday, as clubs took advantage of these public holidays to attract large attendances.
Through the 20th century and as Christmas Day became increasingly family oriented, the tradition of playing matches on Boxing Day continued to grow. Originally, this date in the fixture schedule featured more local derbies, which meant fans didn’t have to travel far during the festive period. To some extent, that idea has been maintained throughout the professional divisions in England, while the games themselves have frequently produced crazy results.
Packed Premier League Schedule
During the festive period in December and early January, most of the elite European leagues usually take a break which lasts at least two weeks. This includes LaLiga in Spain, Serie A in Italy, and even the Bundesliga in Germany. Meanwhile, the Premier League in England continues full steam ahead, packing an incredible number of games into a tightly condensed fixture list.
Inevitably, this means that Premier League fans around the globe will be glued to their screens, while betting on English games also enjoys a notable spike internationally. This includes Middle East and North African (MENA) countries, even though many of their own leagues are still active. This is why Arabian Betting has produced and extensive guide, covering the best football betting sites in Arab countries.
This guide provides a wealth of information about football betting, such as where to find the best odds and offers, plus details on safe and secure wagering at reputable and trusted sites. Given the Premier League title race is heating up, it’s also a good time to make the most of welcome bonuses and free bets, whether you fancy Chelsea to take the title or Manchester City to retain their Premier League crown.
As the two leading favourites to win the Premier League, both Manchester City and Chelsea face a gruelling schedule of games over the festive period. They will each play three matches between Boxing Day and the New Year, in the space of just eight days. Indeed, those games could prove decisive towards the title race, which means little margin for error and plenty of excitement for fans. In the end, that’s what makes the festive schedule so thrilling.