Gary Neville says the Premier League must force teams to meet their schedules after Arsenal asked to postpone Sunday’s North London derby, while Jamie Carragher believes the clubs are taking advantage of coronavirus pandemics.
Just 48 hours before the match with Tottenham, the Gunners asked to postpone the match due to a lack of players.
Arsenal is missing a number of players due to coronavirus, injuries, suspensions and the African Cup of Nations.
Earlier on Friday, Saturday’s Premier League Burnley game against Leicester was postponed due to Covid cases and Clarets injuries.
But former Premier League defenders Neville and Carragher both agreed Football on Friday night that Tottenham vs. Arsenal should continue and that the best English clubs must stop using coronavirus as an excuse to postpone matches.
Neville: This has to end now!
“I sincerely believe that all teams, not only in the Premier League but now in the EFL, must be forced to play their matches,” Neville said.
“Folarin Balogun and Ainsley Maitland-Niles left for the guest, Granit Xhaka received a red card – it’s no one else’s fault. We can’t cancel the matches.”
“If it was purely on Covid in extraordinary circumstances when there were 10 or 15 players out there, but now we’re talking about teams over the last few weeks where there’s no doubt that they’re canceling matches based on whether they think so. I have the best team or the team that wins the match. It has to stop.
“It’s not an Arsenal excavation – I should have talked about it three or four weeks ago.”
“Manchester United and other teams have 30 to 40 players in their staff – I’m not saying they can’t put 13 to 16 together.”
“For me yes [Arsenal’s request] should be rejected.
“Without knowing the exact details, unless there is an absolute pile of Covid cases in Arsenal today, I feel that when I played in Liverpool last night, it has to end now and we have to get the teams to play.”
Carragher: Young players should be given a chance
“I don’t want it to be Arsenal, it’s the Premier League as a whole. Every club has done it,” Carragher said.
“No other league in Europe does that, certainly not in the big leagues. Bayern Munich played in their last match of a 16-year-old and it tells you exactly where they are. Why can’t we do it? Why can’t we?” will young players get a chance in these circumstances?
“They’re all on the same boat and I’m exactly with Gary. If it’s Covid’s outbreak and it’s decimating the team, I understand, but players who are in the AFCON and have only normal injuries have nothing to do with it.
“You have U23 teams and junior players and this is an opportunity where they can get a chance.
“I know there are a lot of Premier League matches, but at the moment there is no doubt that teams in this country are taking advantage of this situation.”
Tuchel is “very upset” if Covid’s rules are abused
Asked if he felt that Covid’s rules were being abused, Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel said on Friday: “I firmly, firmly hope that this is not the case, otherwise I would be very upset.
“We do everything we can to make the games happen, and we were forced to play when we thought we might not. So I can only hope that the rules will be the same for everyone.”
Chelsea announced one positive test on Covid-19 before heading to Manchester City for Saturday’s Premier League kick-off at 12:30, with Andreas Christensen now in solitary confinement.
The Danish defender has only recently returned after a short injury, but after a positive test he is out of the game again. However, Thiago Silva and N’Golo Kante are both in a dispute over involvement, albeit with a very short training time.
“We have one positive test for Covid with Andreas Christensen,” Tuchel said. “So he’ll be out of this match.”
“Having the news that Andreas Christensen is out again after we’ve been waiting for him for so long, and now he’s playing so, so strong and out again. It’s a bit of an obstacle for everyone, mentally for us.”
“We have Thiag Silva and N’Golo Kante back, but they are Thiago Silva and N’Golo Kante with one training session.
“You finally have the player back and it’s like catching fish.”
Hasenhuttl: PL “opened the door” to the distortion of Covid’s rules
At Friday’s press conference, Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl emphasized the lack of transparency for delays and how the Premier League was dealing with it.
“They opened the door and you can’t be surprised that someone is passing by. I can’t say anything about the situation with Covid, because that’s usually why you’re canceling games.”
“You have no view, no transparency and you can’t say anything about it. The rest is speculation.
“The Premier League has to deal with it. That’s why I say players / new players shouldn’t be allowed to play in canceled matches if they weren’t there before the match was supposed to be played. That’s the problem they have.” and it’s hard to solve at the moment. “
Which Premier League matches have been called off?
Brighton vs Tottenham – Sunday 12 December
Brentford vs Man Utd – Tuesday 14 December (now on January 19 at 8:00 PM)
Burnley vs Watford – Wednesday 15 December (now on January 18 at 7:30 PM)
Leicester vs Tottenham – Thursday 16 December (now January 19, 7:30 PM)
Man Utd vs. Brighton – Saturday, December 18
Southampton vs Brentford – Saturday 18 December; Southampton won the modified match 4: 1 on Tuesday, January 11th
Watford vs Crystal Palace – Saturday, December 18
West Ham vs Norwich – Saturday, December 18; West Ham won the match 2: 0 on Wednesday, January 12th
Aston Villa vs. Burnley – Saturday, December 18
Everton vs Leicester – Sunday 19 December and Tuesday 11 January
Liverpool vs Leeds – Sunday, December 26
Wolves vs Watford – Sunday, December 26
Burnley vs Everton – Sunday, December 26
Leeds vs Aston Villa – Tuesday 28 December
Arsenal vs Wolves – Tuesday 28 December
Everton vs Newcastle – Thursday 30 December
Leicester vs Norwich – Saturday, January 1
Southampton vs Newcastle – Sunday, January 2
Everton vs Leicester – Tuesday, January 11 (as mentioned above, this game was previously postponed from the original date of Sunday, December 19)
Burnley vs Leicester – Saturday, January 15
What are the Premier League rules regarding deferrals?
The Premier League Handbook 2021/22 contained Covid’s protocols, stating that the Premier League board would “allow regrouping or postponement of a league match only in exceptional circumstances.”
The board calls on a case-by-case basis and says as a guide to the Premier League that a postponement permit will not be granted if the club has 14 or more players on the list.
However, after a series of postponements in the weeks before Christmas, a new Premier League guide explaining postponement protocols has been published.
And there, when deciding whether to postpone the top game, the following factors are taken into account:
1) Impact of COVID-19 infections on the club team, as well as injuries, illnesses and isolation and the number of players available on the team roster and players under the age of 21 with relevant experience. If the club cannot place 13 players in the field and the goalkeeper either from the list of its team or suitably experienced players under the age of 21, the match will be postponed.
2) The status of any COVID-19 outbreaks in the club, including the number of individuals affected, the sequence and source of the infections, and their proximity to the match.
3) The club’s ability to safely prepare its players to prepare for the match.
4) Medical advice on whether there is any unacceptable risk to the health and safety of players and staff by playing a match.
5) Any advice from the UK Health Security Agency and other public authorities.
6) Any other exceptional circumstances.