‘Boxing Day’, the sacred appointment in England overshadowed by the covid

If last year a large part of the English fans had to follow home games due to closed doors, this season it is the players who do not come to the call.

About a hundred positive cases within the squads and technical bodies of elite clubs were registered last week, while the United Kingdom suffers a record number of COVID-19 infections (122,000 cases in 24 hours) .

A total of thirteen games have been postponed in recent weeks, three of them corresponding to Boxing Day (19th date): Liverpool-Leeds, Wolverhampton-Watford and Burnley-Everton.

– Indigestible calendar –

How to place late games in an already dense schedule, with games every day until January 3 with the exception of December 31?

On Thursday different conversations took place by videoconference between the Premier League, the coaches of the clubs and the players.

But given the high stakes at both sporting and economic level around ‘Boxing Day’, no temporary suspension of the championship was decided. No more than a return to closed doors or limited capacity as is the case in Wales or Scotland.

“There is a wall in front, you can speak or ask what you want, but all the decisions were already made,” lamented Tottenham coach Antonio Conte, whose team, particularly affected by the covid, has three games behind.

Together with their Liverpool counterpart Jürgen Klopp, they both advocated the reduction to one match of the Chelsea-Tottenham and Arsenal-Liverpool League Cup semi-finals scheduled for early January, as had been the case last year. because of the pandemic.

Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick even called for a suspension outright from the competition. His team, sixth in the Premier, has suffered several postponements and has not played since December 11.

Now a succession of matches awaits him without a continuity solution, starting with his visit to Newcastle on Monday, penultimate in the table.

The leader Manchester City, who comes from walking against the ‘Magpies’ (4-0), and endorsing a 7-0 at Leeds, receives Leicester (9th) on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola’s pupils have three points more than Liverpool, who saw their game against Leeds postponed.

And four days after qualifying for the League Cup semi-finals, Chelsea (3rd), Arsenal (4th) and Tottenham (7th) will play all three on Sunday.

The ‘Blues’ visit Aston Villa (10th), while the ‘Gunners’ have ‘a priori’ a more affordable trip against bottom Norwich. Tottenham (7th) receive their neighbors from Crystal Palace (11th).

So we will have to wait until the beginning of 2022 to see substantial matches, such as Arsenal-Manchester City, on January 1 and Chelsea-Liverpool a day later.

And that’s if Covid-19 doesn’t disrupt the festivities even more.


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