The 2019/20 Premier League season will feature a significant change, with a winter break set to be implemented for the first ever time.
The new ruling brings England into line with the rest of Europe and is designed to help the national team succeed at future European Championships and World Cups.
Moving the FA Cup fifth round to midweek and scrapping replays from that stage of the famous knockout competition has helped to create the space in the schedule for the break.
Read on as we look at the winter break and the potential impact this could have on Manchester United’s season.
When will the ‘winter break’ happen?
The first of the Premier League’s football breaks is scheduled for February 2020 and is set to be trailed over the next three seasons in line with the latest broadcasting rights deal.
Clubs will be able to arrange warm-weather training camps abroad, but they will not be given permission to organise any competitive matches during the break.
The break will kick in after the first weekend in February, although it will be staggered to ensure that the league doesn’t shut down completely.
Five Premier League matches will take place the weekend after, with the other five scheduled for the following weekend, giving each team a two-week break.
How will it affect United?
United are due to play Wolves at home on February 1, with a visit to Chelsea scheduled for the following weekend.
The latter fixture will be staged on either the weekend of February 8 or 15, with the exact date to be determined when the television broadcast schedule is confirmed.
United will perhaps hope that they break after the Wolves game, giving them the opportunity to recharge their batteries for the big clash at Stamford Bridge.
With research showing that leagues who have a winter break see less injuries during the final third of the season, the new set-up is undoubtedly great news for United and the rest of the clubs.
Are the players happy with the break?
Former United managers Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho have previously been vocal about wanting a winter break in the Premier League.
With winter breaks a common feature in Europe, it is inevitable that many players are supportive of the move. United defender Victor Lindelof says he is happy that a break has been introduced.
“I think it’s good actually,” Lindelof told MUTV. “I think, if you look at the other countries, they always have a winter break and I think it’s important for the mind and the body as well to get a little bit of rest so you can keep going and work hard throughout the season.
“So yeah, I’m all for it. I know in England we’ve always played a lot during the winter while others have rested a little bit, so I think it’s going to be good. I think people will enjoy it.”