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LaLiga's conundrum in trying to schedule match-day 21

Update:

Trying to schedule the matches that form part of match-day 21 of the 2021-22 season showcases just how condensed the fixture list has become. We initially saw the Athletic-Real Madrid game being moved forward to 22 December which was a free date. Taking advantage of the four Super Cup teams being extent from the Round of 32 in the Copa, that game was played then so that this week would be free for the Round of 16 games to be staged. Five cup games went ahead last weekend along with the LaLiga match-day 21 contest between Elche-Villarreal given that Elche face Real Madrid in the cup and Ancelotti's side were on Super Cup duty in Riyadh and Villarreal already eliminated from the Copa.

Overbooking

The bulk of match-day 21 was played on Tuesday, last night and later today involving five games. Atlético and Barça are on Copa duty this week with Simeone's side losing to Real Sociedad as the Catalans face Athletic in Bilbao. This involvement sees three mach-day 21 games to be moved with Atlético-Levante set to go ahead on 16 February with the other week 21 games between Barcelona-Rayo y Mallorca-Real Sociedad not being able to take place then as the date clashes with the Europa League dates with the Basque and Catalan outfits involved in European football's second competition.

Iago Aspas of Celta de Vigo receives a shirt as a tribute for his 400 games with Celta de Vigo during La liga football match played between Celta de Vigo and CA Osasuna at Balaidos stadium on January 19, 2022, in Vigo, Pontevedra, Spain.
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Iago Aspas of Celta de Vigo receives a shirt as a tribute for his 400 games with Celta de Vigo during La liga football match played between Celta de Vigo and CA Osasuna at Balaidos stadium on January 19, 2022, in Vigo, Pontevedra, Spain.AFP7 vía Europa Press

Tipping point

The next hurdle looms on the horizon with the quarter-final of the Copa del Rey set to take place over 1,2 and 3 of February. Many North and South American players will be absent from those games given the CONMEBOL and CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers that have been added to the calendar due to earlier covid related delays. The RFEF is adamant that these games go ahead despite many clubs set to have key players absent on international duty with the usual pointing of fingers inevitable when the time come around. The fixture list is bursting at the seams and here in LaLiga, unlike the Premier League, we've seen very little in games being postponed due to covid issues which would really have been the tipping point.