The International Breaks Killer Effect

I said it at the time that I worried the International break would kill our momentum, I’ve mentioned it at length during many posts in the post game synopsis lately, but there are the cold hard facts. Since the break we, out of the playoff contenders are on the second worse form. Only Palace are in a worse vein of form than us.

To look at it in context Charlton, though unlikely to make the playoffs, being 4/5 points off the chase with 2 go are the inform side in the pack. I have looked at what the various teams have done since the break, and though hardly any are on stellar form it has completely killed our momentum. And it’s not as if we were the only squad to lose people to international squads, we all pretty much have squads with them in.

Although no-one completely recovered from the break form wise, we had ours shot to pieces. 0 wins and 4 draws since then with 2 losses. We had that run of games before the break which were all wins, and that includes the likes of Hull. Post break and we can’t beat anyone.

That 2 week break allowed teams to prepare and understand our game. Additionally, if you won 3 days or 7days previously you have a psychological edge. Going into games after 2 weeks, well it’s almost a clean slate in terms of that Psychologically the last game was so long ago that a break either sets you back, as in our case, or apparently sets you free and gives you a fresh start as with Charlton.

Going purely on a post break table of playoff chasers, it looks like this.
1. Charlton 14points
2. Bolton 12 Points
3. Brighton 10p
4. Watford 8p
5. Leicester 6p
6. Forest 4p
7. Palace 2p

So by that basis, if we’re playing for 4 spots, and you almost rule of Charlton due to distance behind (and I’m including them only as an illustration of a point) we would deserve to miss out with Palace. Palace have admittedly in that time played only 5 games whilst the rest have all played 6, so it might even be that we’d be bottom of that table if based on 6 matches.

So it’s obvious to me that the break killed the momentum we had built, and ultimately may cost us. There’s no guarantee of that of course, it’s also quite possible we’d have started losing sooner, but the whole naive argument that it’s the break the players wanted is and was frankly ridiculous. When you hear anything players say when they are on form games can’t come soon enough, not let’s have a nice long gap. Think of anything you do in any sphere of life, when you’re on fire or in the zone you want and need to keep going. Any kind of break in that will cause a proverbial bump in the road.

I don’t think our great form would have carried on indefinitely, but look at the evidence in front of us. Failing to beat mediocre teams, whimpering performances. Before the break we were on the cusp of history and a new all time winning run. Now we are in the worst run of form this season (if we count games without a win.) Nothing’s changed. The personnel are the same, but that emotion and that wave of optimism that was created were allowed to end due to the time off. We have retreated back to the McLeish games now. Davies got us motivated, set us up on fire. But that could only last so long.

Yes people and Davies said we had looked leggy before the break, but no worse than other teams, and that’s what a squad is for. To be able to cover or rotate to rest the odd players. The fact is it wasn’t really a break to several key players, who were international duty, and who picked up knocks (Lansbury) or got punched by Suarez (Jara) There is still lots of travel and training to cover for. And some people seem to think the rest of the players didn’t train and just have their feet up whilst colleagues jet around the world. It’s scarily naive.

All we need is to break this slump and win the next two games, which is somewhat against the odds now to hopefully break back into the top 6. Though fate is out of our hands, we can certainly pile pressure on this Saturday with a win. The worry is a losing mentality has set in, but that said, the evidence of last week is they haven’t given up. Yes we didn’t win, but we created those chances and but for the width of a post would have won. It isn’t over till the fat lady sings, and I don’t hear any singing yet.


  1. All about momentum isn't it? Massive coincidence if the IB wasn't an issue - as you say it started us off with a clean slate.

    Nice article by the way, I'd be interested to see some stats on the effects of these breaks on form...


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