It has been quite a strange football season so far.
And this is not really about Arsenal sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League.
Yes, that has been quite something to see. Mikel Arteta’s men are five points clear of champions Manchester City, with 11 fixtures left.
Also in Italy, a Victor Osimhen-powered Napoli are running away with the Serie A title.
Elsewhere, it is business as usual. Paris Saint-Germain are top of Ligue 1 and Bayern Munich are leading the title race in Germany.
What has made this season unusual is the first-ever winter World Cup that was played in November and December of 2022.
The tournament in Qatar disrupted the football calendar in more ways than one.
For some, it was injuries. Gabriel Jesus picked up a knee injury in their pointless group fixture against Cameroon. The Brazil striker was the spearhead as Arsenal flew out of the blocks from August.
Jesus only returned to action in the 3-0 victory over Fulham last weekend.
His absence could have easily derailed the Gunners’ charge, but Eddie Nketiah stepped up and filled in admirably for the former Manchester City man. The arrival of Leandro Trossard from Brighton in the January window has also added a fresh dimension to Arteta’s attack.
After this weekend’s league games, players will fly all over the world for the international break to represent their national teams. At least two more matches.
This brings up the issue of fatigue.
Deji Faremi, co-owner of Busy Buddies and a sports analyst, tells DAILY POST: “I think everyone is fatigued, so coaches have to find better ways to rotate their squads, while staying competitive.
“In England, it may be a blessing in disguise for Arsenal now that they’re out of all other competitions. City may need to prioritise.
“Same thing in Spain where Real Madrid probably have to wave goodbye to the league – as they’ve done a few times in the past – to focus on the Champions League.
“Bayern Munich don’t have the same problem. They’ll be good enough to keep up in the title race despite their Champion League commitments.”
Then there is the question of if the world football governing body, FIFA, should have done better with the scheduling.
Faremi doesn’t think so.
“The reality of things is we are only going to have more games.
“Football won’t stop, and the people running the game think having more games is the way to go.
“It’s March, and as much as we don’t want international football back at this time, especially after the peak we experienced just three months ago, we’ll have to get used to having it back,” he said.