Covid is in danger of RAVAGING the packed Premier League festive schedule, with Manchester United and Aston Villa the latest clubs to report outbreaks – as Spurs resume training and the Championship clash between Sheffield United and QPR also off
- The Premier League’s festive schedule is under threat from coronavirus
- Manchester United and Aston Villa reported outbreaks in their squad on Sunday
- Both clubs play on Tuesday – with those matches now doubtful of going ahead
- Leicester and Norwich have also suffered from Covid in their squads this week
- Sheffield United’s Championship clash with QPR on Monday is also off
- Tottenham suffered a Covid-19 outbreak last week but have returned to training
The Premier League’s festive schedule is under serious threat from coronavirus after several clubs reported outbreaks of the illness in their squad this weekend.
Manchester United and Aston Villa were the latest clubs to be affected by Covid-19 after reports from The Athletic claimed both sides had to cancel training sessions on Sunday ahead of their upcoming games next midweek.
England’s top-flight football division is already have to rejig its schedule after Tottenham suffered a serious outbreak of the disease – leaving them with just 11 available players this week – which caused their trip to Brighton the be postponed.
Meanwhile, Queen’s Park Rangers’ Championship fixture with Sheffield United on Monday has also been pushed back after a coronavirus outbreak at the west London club.
United and Villa both have away games on Tuesday night against Brentford and Norwich respectively and the chances of those matches going ahead have been reduced.
The Premier League’s festive schedule is under threat from coronavirus after several clubs – including Manchester United (above) – reported coronavirus outbreak this weekend
Aston Villa are another club who have suffered from coronavirus outbreaks over the weekend
The Premier League are said to be aware of both situations but have not called off the matches as of 6pm on Sunday night – just over 48 hours before those games go ahead.
United took on Norwich on Saturday night and their entire squad recorded negative cases – but a small number of players and staff tested positive a day later.
Norwich boss Dean Smith revealed that his club had some COVID-19 related issues in the build-up to Saturday’s game, while Leicester have also been missing players this week due to the virus.
United defender Victor Lindelof came off mid-way through their match with Norwich as he pointed to his chest, complaining that he was struggling to breathe.
Victor Lindelof went off with breathing problems during Man United’s 1-0 win over Norwich
Lindelof looked in discomfort and after a few minutes of treatment was taken to the dressing room, where he underwent tests.
Meanwhile, Villa boss Steven Gerrard told the media on Friday that the club’s chief executive Christian Purslow was due to talk to the players on Monday amid concerns about the spread of COVID-19.
Crystal Palace, who took on Everton on Sunday night, have called off their Christmas Party this year due to fears about an outbreak in their squad following the latest developments in the UK caused by the Omicron strain of the virus.
QPR had to call off Monday’s Championship clash with Sheffield United due to an outbreak
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced this week that England will go into ‘Plan B’ which will see restrictions return to the country for the first time since June – but football stadia will remain full.
Tottenham recently suffered from an outbreak of the virus but Sportsmail revealed over the weekend that Spurs returned to first-team training on Sunday following their crisis.
Tottenham were due to play Rennes in the European Conference League on Thursday before Sunday’s trip to Brighton – but both matches were called off due to a host of players and staff testing positive for the illness.
The first-team section of the club’s training ground was closed down last week following talks with government officials, meaning Conte’s squad were unable to train.
Tottenham had a coronavirus outbreak this week but returned to training on Sunday
But players were back at Enfield on Sunday with Conte putting his charges through a gruelling double session.
It is understood the training centre buildings remained closed. The players arrived, trained and then went home. Sunday’s double session was approved by the Premier League and the Health Security Agency.
Despite the players’ return, the club will continue to operate under severe restrictions before officially opening again later this week. All being well, the first-team buildings should re-open on Tuesday.
Tottenham manager Antonio Conte (right) put the players through a gruelling double session
There has been major doubt over whether Spurs’ game against Leicester on Thursday would go ahead but the return to training bodes well for the game being ahead as planned.
‘I’ve not heard anything that the Spurs game is not on, and obviously with the European decision as well, with Tottenham not being able to play (UEFA have said their meeting with Rennes will not be rescheduled), I suspect the game would go ahead. We haven’t been told anything otherwise.’
The Premier League’s festive schedule is the busiest time for top-flight football in its calendar, with matches being played every three days between now and the New Year.