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Now 15th Premier League game postponed – Situation getter better or…worse?

4 weeks ago
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We now have yet another Premier League match that has been called off.

It is the fifteenth Premier League game (full list of them below) this season / month to fall victim to Covid cases amongst players and staff at clubs.

Early on Boxing Day afternoon, Leeds v Aston Villa was postponed. However, late yesterday an official Premier League announcement (see below) revealed that another had been called off, Arsenal v Wolves no longer going ahead on the 28 December.

For Newcastle United and others, there is now a very unbalanced look towards the bottom of the table when it comes to how many games will and won’t have been played.

This is the current Premier League table on the morning of Monday 27 December 2021, after the Boxing Day matches that were played:

Premier League Table 27 December 2021I think the bottom line is that if you are a club that has continued to play matches AND picked up points, then you are very happy, as at least some of your rivals will have had games postponed and will face a congested set of fixtures at some point.

On the other hand, if you have continued to play matches and NOT picked up points, not so good.

Those who have had games cancelled…depends on their circumstances really, as to whether gutted or relieved to not having had to play the matches they were due to. At least having the hope of picking up points from them in the future.

So with a 15th Premier League game now postponed, is the situation overall getter better or…worse?

Well, looking at the 15 games postponed so far (see below), this has been the case in terms of how many matches called off in each round of Premier League games.

16th round – One match

17th round – Three matches

18th round – Six matches

19th round – Three matches

20th round – Two matches

Well, on that breakdown, it does appear to give some hope that maybe things have peaked, with six matches called off last weekend (Saturday 18 December). Providing Newcastle United v Man Utd goes ahead ok tonight, only three of the Boxing Day schedule called off.

All eyes of course on the next round of games (28-30 December) with only two postponed so far.

My guess is that Premier League clubs have been massively cracking down and ‘encouraging’ players to avoid contact as much as possible with others. However, a big unknown will be how strictly players (and staff) have done this on Christmas Day. With this Omicron variant so easily passed around and so many of the general public testing positive, we await with interest…

The 15 Premier League games postponed so far:

Sunday 12 December

Brighton v Tottenham

Tuesday 14 December

Brentford v Man Utd

Wednesday 15 December

Burnley v Watford

Thursday 16 December

Leicester v Tottenham

Saturday 18 December

Aston Villa v Burnley

Man Utd v Brighton

Southampton v Brentford

Watford v Crystal Palace

West Ham v Norwich

Sunday 19 December

Everton v Leicester

Sunday 26 December

Burnley v Everton

Liverpool v Leeds

Wolves v Watford

Tuesday 28 December

Leeds v Aston Villa

Arsenal v Wolves

Premier League official announcement – 26 December 2021:

Arsenal’s match against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Emirates Stadium, due to be played at 12:30 GMT on Tuesday 28 December, has regrettably been postponed.

The Premier League Board accepted the postponement application as Wolves do not have the required number of players available for the match (13 outfield players and one goalkeeper) as a result of a number of COVID-19 cases and injuries at the club.

The Board was able to make its decision in advance of the fixture to give clarity to the affected clubs and their fans. We apologise for the inconvenience and disruption caused to supporters’ festive plans.

Earlier this afternoon, Leeds United’s home match against Aston Villa on Tuesday was also called off. The League is aware that the decisions this week to postpone matches will disappoint supporters, and understands their frustrations at a special time of year when fans look forward to attending and watching football games.

Postponement guidelines

The League aims to provide as much clarity as possible, but unfortunately postponements sometimes have to be made at short notice, as safety is our priority. Where possible, the League will endeavour to keep supporters updated if games become at risk on a matchday.

The Board assesses applications to postpone matches on a case-by-case basis, based on existing rules and adapted COVID-19 postponement guidance, implemented in light of the new Omicron variant.

The Board will assess a number of factors, including the ability of a club to field a team; the status, severity and potential impact of the COVID-19 outbreak at the club; and the ability of the players to safely prepare for and play the match.

The Board must also consider the wider risks to the opposition and other people the club representatives may come into contact with. Click here to read more on the Premier League’s match postponement process.

While recognising a number of clubs are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks, it is the clubs’ and the League’s collective intention to continue the current fixture schedule where safely possible. The health and wellbeing of all concerned remains our priority and the League will continue to monitor and reflect public health guidance, always proceeding with caution.

In light of the recent rise in COVID-19 cases across the country, the Premier League has reintroduced Emergency Measures. These include protocols such as more frequent testing, wearing face coverings while indoors, observing social distancing and limiting treatment time.

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