In what may seem like a piece of good news but not necessarily will be, many Premier League clubs will breathe a sigh of relief after nearly 100 footballers spread over twenty clubs become eligible for selection for the Boxing Day action.
UK Health chiefs have announced that those with a positive Covid test can be released after seven days, rather than 10. Meaning a player who missed last week’s midweek games (Dec 15-17) will complete their quarantine before Christmas Eve, could train for a day or two and be considered for selection for the Boxing Day fixtures.
Only a handful of clubs have successfully avoided the latest covid outbreak, which forced six of last weekend’s ten games to be postponed. Clubs like Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, Leicester City and Watford will be among the biggest winners from this decision.
On Monday, the Premier League announced its intention to continue with scheduled matches over the traditionally busy Christmas and New Year period, despite more than 90 confirmed coronavirus cases among players and staff in the last week.
As many as 90 top-flight players tested positive for the virus last weekend, with almost all of them expecting to miss matches during the Christmas period. However, following the Government’s policy change, most will now be available for at least some of the three games played during Christmas week, if not all.
Here’s how this decision will help the Premier League clubs:
Mikel Arteta will welcome Albert Sambi Lokonga and Pablo Mari in time for their Christmas fixtures under the new isolation rules. However, Calum Chambers, who tested positive on Tuesday, will still miss the Boxing Day game.
Villans did not reveal how many of their players tested positive, but since their weekend match against Burnley was postponed, all of their players should be available for the upcoming games under the new rule.
The Bees had 13 positive cases among staff and players just days before their December 18 fixture. They played Chelsea on Tuesday, and it was said that there were no new cases. They will miss 5-6 players for their Boxing Day fixture.
Brighton was struggling with ‘three or four’ positive Covid cases on December 13, so with the new isolation rules, they’ll be available to play.
The Clarets have been really lucky with this Covid outbreak where they have seen just one positive case in the squad. However, two of their matches were postponed after their opponents could not field a team. All their players should be available.
Thomas Tuchel’s side is one of the worst-hit ones in the league. They returned seven positive Covid tests last week. Tuchel should have some of his players back as their tests were held on December 15 and 18, which means they would be out of isolation on December 22 and 25, respectively.
Another club who have been lucky with the virus outbreak, None of their players tested positive, so they should have a full squad available barring any other injury-related issues.
The Toffees are another fortunate top-flight clubs that are yet to report a positive test for coronavirus among their squad.
Leeds reported five positive cases among players and staff on Thursday, which allied to a lengthy injury list meant they would be unable to field a team with the required 13 outfield players, so their match against Liverpool has been postponed.
They reported that nine of their players were affected by Covid or illness last weekend, so their match against Tottenham was postponed. The players affected ahead of the Napoli returned against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup. The players who tested positive last Thursday would also be available for their Boxing Day match against Manchester City.
Currently, Liverpool are without four players as a result of positive tests. However, with their game against Leeds postponed, they should have a full squad barring any injury concerns for the Leicester City match.
City are yet to report any cases of Covid, and according to the local media, it is believed they have not had any.
Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick has almost a full squad to choose from for Monday’s Premier League clash at Newcastle after a Covid-19 outbreak saw their last two matches postponed.
They have not reported any covid-related cases so far.
Players who tested positive before the game against West Ham could be back in the frame for Christmas under the seven-day isolation rule.
Well, the Saints have remained covid free till Friday.
Spurs were one of the worst affected clubs in the Premier League and were out of action for a long time. They made their PL comeback last weekend against Liverpool and played their EFL Cup match against West Ham on Wednesday. All of their players have recovered from covid, and Antonio Conte should be available to field his preferred side this festive weekend.
They have insufficient players to field a team, so their match against Wolves has been postponed.
West Ham United
Before the Carabao Cup encounter against Tottenham, David Moyes revealed that Michael Antonio tested positive ‘about a week ago’, so his availability would depend on when he had the test. Rest are fine for the Hammers.
They’ll get a couple of days of extra off after their game against Watford was postponed. Yerson Mosquera and Fabio Silva have tested positive ahead of their match against Chelsea on December 19, so they should be available for the next game.
Read all the Latest News, Breaking News and Coronavirus News here.