LONDON – The traditional key moment of the English Championship, Boxing Day does not promise celebration this year, as Great Britain and Premier League clubs face a flood of positive cases from the Omicron edition: three matches scheduled for Sunday have been postponed.
If last year a large section of English fans had to resolve to watch matches at home because of cameras, this season has players missing.
Nearly a hundred positive cases were identified within the workforce and management of elite clubs last week, while the United Kingdom recorded a record number of Covid infections (122,000 cases in 24 hours).
A total of thirteen games have been postponed in recent weeks, including three matches initially scheduled on Sunday for Boxing Day (Matchday 19): Liverpool-Leeds, Wolverhampton-Watford and Burnley-Everton.
– indigestible calendar –
How to slip late matches into an already very dense schedule that English clubs will play every day, except 31 December, until 3 January?
On Thursday, there was a discussion between the Premier League, club coaches and players through video conferencing. But given the sporting and financial challenges of the institution which is Boxing Day, no temporary suspension from the championship has been decided. Nothing more than the return of cameras or gauges, as is the case in Wales and Scotland.
“There’s a wall in front of you, you can talk and ask what you want, but all the decisions have already been made,” Tottenham coach Antonio Conte, whose team, particularly affected by Covid, said. Three games late to play.
– League Cup Targeted –
Along with his Liverpool counterpart, Jurgen Klopp, he had on Thursday requested to reduce one match of the semi-finals of the League Cup Chelsea-Tottenham and Arsenal-Liverpool, as was the case. global pandemic.
Manchester United coach Ralph Rangnick has even called for the competition to be scrapped outright. His team, which is ranked sixth in the Premier League, has seen two of its matches postponed this month and has not played since December 11. He should now expect an accumulation of meetings, starting with his trip to Newcastle on Monday, the final in the championship.
Leader Manchester City, who remain on the ride with the Magpies (4-0), receive Sunday Leicester (9th), after a card against Leeds (7-0).
Pep Guardiola’s players are three points ahead of Liverpool, who have therefore postponed their game against Leeds and will play their next meeting in Leicester on Tuesday.
Chelsea (3rd), Arsenal (4th) and Tottenham (seventh) will play on Sunday, four days after qualifying for the semi-finals of the League Cup.
The Blues move to Aston Villa (10th), while the Gunners have a priority less complicated journey into Red Lantern Norwich. Tottenham (7th) receives Crystal Palace (11th), coached by Patrick Vieira.
We will have to wait until early 2022 to see shocks in the top table, especially Arsenal-Manchester City, on January 1 and Chelsea-Liverpool the next day. Until Covid disrupts the celebration a little more.
Schedule for the 19th day of the English Championship:
Manchester City-Leicester City
(18h30) Aston Villa-Chelsea
(21h00) Newcastle – Manchester United
Burnley – Everton
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