The Premier League has witnessed heavy disruption in recent months. The league has been impacted heavily by Covid-19 outbreaks at Premier League clubs with a total of 14 matches called off so far. One was postponed due to heavy snow.
After the Premier League announced the schedule would continue as normal on Monday, the league held meetings with managers and team captains on Thursday to discuss player welfare and fixture congestion during the Christmas period after a record number of players and staff at clubs returned positive coronavirus tests in recent weeks. Tottenham boss Antonio Conte was one of those who attended the manager's meeting and believed it was a waste of time.
So, which games have been called off? Who has been worst affected by the disruption and when could these rescheduled matches actually be played? We take a closer look...
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WHICH PL GAMES HAVE BEEN CALLED OFF?
- Burnley vs Tottenham - November 28 - inclement weather
- Brighton vs Tottenham - December 12
- Brentford vs Man Utd - December 14
- Burnley vs Watford - December 15
- Leicester vs Tottenham - December 16
- Man Utd vs Brighton - December 18
- Southampton vs Brentford - December 18
- Watford vs Crystal Palace - December 18
- West Ham vs Norwich - December 18
- Aston Villa vs Burnley - December 18
- Everton vs Leicester - December 19
- Liverpool vs Leeds - December 26
- Wolves vs Watford - December 26
- Burnley vs Everton - December 26
- Aston Villa vs Leeds United - December 28
- Arsenal vs Wolves - December 28
WHICH CLUBS HAVE BEEN WORST AFFECTED?
Burnley are the worst affected with four Premier League matches to play. Watford, Aston Villa and Everton (Boxing Day) were all called off due to Covid outbreaks and they also had a Premier League game postponed against Tottenham in November due to heavy snow at Turf Moor an hour before kick-off which needs rearranging.
Considering three of those four opponents sit tenth or lower in the Premier League table, traditionally pragmatic Burnley boss Sean Dyche may have felt it was a good time of the campaign to build on their one win this season, but instead have only been able to fulfil 15 out of a possible 19 Premier League fixtures.
Burnley are now set to take on Manchester United on December 30 which, if it goes ahead, will be their first match in 18 days. Will the Burnley players lack match fitness? Quite possibly.
Conte admits Premier League meeting was 'waste of time'
Tottenham had two Premier League games against Brighton and Leicester called off due to Covid-19 after their UEFA Europa Conference League tie against Rennes on December 9 was also called off. It meant Tottenham had a 14-day gap between their 3-0 win over Norwich on December 5 and an impressive 2-2 draw with Liverpool on December 19.
Most of Tottenham's players who had Covid will be lacking match fitness after recovering from the virus and are now set to play four matches in 11 days with a crucial Carabao Cup semi-final first leg tie against Chelsea on January 5.
Watford also have to play three matches against Burnley, Crystal Palace and Wolves in their fight for Premier League survival.
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WHO HAS GAMES IN HAND?
The below list is built under the assumption that the rest of Boxing Day's fixtures go ahead as planned. Ergo, on the day of writing Manchester City and Liverpool have both played 18 games but City will play on Boxing day and Liverpool will not.
- 2nd - Liverpool, 1
- 5th - West Ham, 1
- 6th - Manchester United, 2
- 7th - Tottenham, 3
- 8th - Wolves, 1
- 9th - Leicester, 2
- 10th - Aston Villa, 2
- 11th - Crystal Palace, 1
- 12th - Brentford, 2
- 13th - Brighton, 2
- 14th - Everton, 2
- 15th - Southampton, 1
- 16th - Leeds, 2
- 17th - Watford, 3
- 18th - Burnley, 4
- 20th - Norwich, 1
WHEN CAN ALL TEAMS PLAY A REARRANGED GAME?
These are weeks where there are no domestic cup or European matches taking place in midweek.
- Midweek of w/c April 18
- Midweek of w/c May 9
WHEN CAN SOME TEAMS PLAY A REARRANGED GAME?
Premier League teams who are out of all cup competitions after the FA Cup third round weekend from January 7-10 can play during the weeks below.
Opportunities to play Premier League games in midweek will open up for those who are not - or will no longer be - in European and/or domestic cup competitions.
- Midweek of w/c January 10
- Midweek of w/c January 17
- Midweek of w/c January 24 and midweek w/c January 31 if winter break is scrapped
- Midweek w/c February 14
- Midweek of w/c February 21
- Midweek of w/c February 28
- Midweek of w/c March 7
- Midweek of w/c March 14
- Midweek of w/c April 4
- Midweek of w/c April 11
- Midweek of w/c April 25
- Midweek of w/c May 2
- Midweek of w/c May 16
- Midweek of w/c May 23
WHAT ABOUT THE SUMMER?
It is unlikely games will be played after the Champions League final on May 28 as the UEFA Nations League gets underway on June 2 with four competitive matches through to June 14.
The 2022/23 Premier League season begins earlier than usual on August 6 to allow for a break from November 21-December 18 for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
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HOW ARE TEAMS IN EUROPE AFFECTED?
Liverpool will take on Inter Milan in the Champions League last 16 on February 16 and March 8, but need to play Leeds in the new year and may do so without the trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita who are all set to take part in the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon which begins on January 9. The final is on February 6.
Manchester United will play Atletico Madrid in the last 16 on February 23 and March 15 but still have two matches against Brentford and Brighton to fulfil.
Tottenham were unable to play their UEFA Europa Conference League group decider against Rennes on December 9 because of a Covid outbreak at the north London club. A win would have sent Tottenham through to the knockout stages. However, UEFA decided to award Rennes a 3-0 victory which means Spurs' participation in the tournament is over.
The benefit for Tottenham will be that they will have more midweek spaces open to catch up with their three Premier League matches in their push for a top-four spot.
Leicester had seven players unavailable for a Europa League group-stage decider against Napoli due to Covid-19 and lost the game 3-2. It saw Leicester get demoted to the Europa Conference League. A competition that manager Brendan Rodgers admitted he did not know anything about.
Nevertheless, alongside West Ham, the Foxes will be in the knockout stages of European competition from mid-February.
West Ham will at some point need to play a rearranged game against Norwich while Leicester have games at Tottenham and Everton to play. Both clubs will be hoping these will not come too close to crunch European matches.
*This article was written on December 24 with the assumption there would be no more cancellations.
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