Manchester City are staring at the prospect of a nightmarish fixture pile-up after the Premier League rescheduled the match against West Ham for next week.
Sunday’s clash at the Etihad was called off due to safety fears as Storm Ciara ripped through the North West of the country.
The game will now take place on February 19, cutting short the winter break for both clubs.
City are already facing a hectic run of fixtures between now and the end of the season, with more to be added should they progress in various competitions.
They are the only team in the top-flight who are still fighting on four fronts, having reached the Carabao Cup final.
Their Premier League clash with Arsenal, originally scheduled for March 1, has already been postponed due to the Wembley showpiece against Aston Villa.
With the Champions League returning at the end of February and the FA Cup fifth round taking place midweek, Pep Guardiola’s men are already scheduled to play twice every week until March 8 once football returns.
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If City make it to the Champions League semi-finals, they only have three weeks available for midweek games between March 9 and May 11.
But that would be reduced to one if City reached the FA Cup semi-finals, due to other Premier League fixtures that would have to be rearranged.
So with next week the only feasible time for the West Ham game to take place, the Premier League has been left with little choice and City’s winter break has been cut short.
Guardiola has been vocal in his opposition to the number of fixtures in the English football calendar and recently called for a cup competition to be scrapped.
He said: “It is unsustainable. We demand a lot from the players, it’s too much. We told them when we are with the Premier League. They should reflect [on] it but all the managers complained about it and they don’t care.
“Eliminate competitions, take them out. Less games, less competitions, less teams, more quality, less quantity.
“In the Bundesliga there are 18 teams not 20, one cup not two. In Spain, they have a break.
“The fans will go to the theatre, to the cinema, restaurants. People can live without football for a while – that is not a problem. It is too much.”