I remember raising an eyebrow when it was announced that water breaks would be included in Premier League “project restart“, don’t even get me started with that name. I did appreciate that a designated water break would probably help players who had been subjected to Covid-19 lockdown and that it was a necessary evil during the warmer weather to avoid dehydration and subsequent injuries.
However, we are weeks into “project restart” (surely the worst possible name for a rebooted programme of Premier League football matches) and perhaps, it’s time to phase it out and just play the game as God intended. We are not in America and it’s not American football. At this rate, we’ll see cardboard cutouts clutching boxes of popcorn and holograms of girls in thin Hawaiian type skirts dancing with Pom Poms.
The water breaks also cause a rumpus because it allows the coach an opportunity to give additional instructions and that’s irritated the Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder, who has criticised Mikel Arteta for doing just that during the FA Cup quarter-final encounter between Arsenal and Sheffield United.
Chris Wilder seemed to live up to his name as he witnessed Arteta gesturing to his players and he announced his disapproval to the press…well, the Metro, which is nearly the same thing. He said:
“We were told against Arsenal we weren’t allowed before the game to give team talks and then I saw Mikel gather his troops and start delivering a team talk and I thought that rule, that directive we got from the Premier League has gone straight out the window”
It is a contentious issue because it supposedly gives a team an advantage but there was nothing to stop a mad Wilder doing likewise. Sport is sport and winning is still the bottom line last time I heard!
It may be sour grapes after a 2-1 loss that was quite hard to take for Sheffield United, but I’d agree that we need to do away with the water breaks before the Premier League starts revising how the game is played post-COVID-19.
I’d be inclined to keep the five subs rule because it can help a manager change the shape and formation during the game, but a water break? No. If they were playing all day like cricketers in a five-day test, then I’d happily go along with it but over 90 minutes, no chance!
Whatever next, teams wanting fresh, non-sweaty shirts or perhaps, a toilet break. Do me a favour! It’s bad enough with VAR which has managed to dilute the spirit of the game (pun intended).