Covid has overshadowed ‘Boxing Day’, England’s holy grail

Covid has overshadowed 'Boxing Day', England's holy grail

Traditionally, one of the more famous days in the Premier League, Boxing Day will not be entirely festive this year as the clubs of Great Britain and the English Premier League face a slew of omicron variant cases; Three matches scheduled for Sunday have been postponed.

If last year a large portion of English fans had to watch matches at home because they were being held behind closed doors, this season it is the players who don’t show up.

About 100 positive cases were recorded in teams and technical bodies of elite clubs last week, while the United Kingdom has a record number of Covid-19 infections (122,000 cases in 24 hours).

A total of 13 matches have been postponed in recent weeks, three of which meet “Boxing Day” (round 19): Liverpool – Leeds, Wolverhampton – Watford, and Burnley – Everton.

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On Thursday, several video chats took place between the Premier League, club managers and players.

But due to the great risks, both sporting and economic, surrounding “Boxing Day”, no decision was made to temporarily stop the tournament. Not more than one roll with closed doors or of limited capacity, as in Wales and Scotland.

“There’s a wall in front of you, you can say or ask whatever you want, but all the decisions have already been made,” said Tottenham coach Antonio Conte, whose side has been particularly affected by the virus, three games behind.

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Together with his Liverpool counterpart, Jurgen Klopp, the two defended the reduction of one match of the League Cup semi-finals (Chelsea – Tottenham and Arsenal – Liverpool), scheduled for early January, as happened last year, due to the epidemic.

Even Manchester United coach Ralf Rangnick announced a complete suspension from the competition. His team, sixth in the Premier League, has suffered numerous delays and has not played since December 11.

And now a series of matches without rest awaits him, starting with a visit to Newcastle on Monday, penultimate in the table.

Leaders Manchester City, who came out of a defeat at the “Magpie” (4-0), and a 7-0 massacre at Leeds, host Leicester (9) this Sunday.

The team led by Pep Guardiola has three points more than Liverpool, whose match against Leeds has been postponed.

Four days after qualifying for the League Cup semi-finals, Chelsea (3), Arsenal (4) and Tottenham (7) will play on Sunday.

The Blues visit Aston Villa (10th), while the Gunners have a priori an easier away match against bottom line Norwich. Tottenham (7th) welcomes its neighbors from Crystal Palace (11th).

So you have to wait until early 2022 to watch bigger matches like Arsenal vs Manchester City on January 1 and Chelsea vs Liverpool the next. And that is if Covid-19 does not disturb the festivities.

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