Man Utd draw takes its toll on Newcastle as Everton have third straight clash postponed

Callum Wilson Newcastle United 2021 TEAMtalk21

Everton have had a third consecutive match postponed as Thursday’s home game with Newcastle has been lost due to a Covid outbreak in the Magpies squad.

The Toffees had already seen their match against Leicester City on December 19 fall foul of the virus. And, after much deliberation, the trip to Turf Moor to face Burnley on Boxing Day was also postponed. Rafa Benitez’s men were due to face the north-east outfit later this week but the game will now be rescheduled.

Newcastle hosted Manchester United on Monday. Eddie Howe was already shorn of many players due to injuries and positive tests.

The Tynesiders put in one of their best performances of the season to earn a 1-1 draw with Ralf Rangnick’s side. But it came at a cost as they lost both Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin to injury during the contest.

And the Premier League issued a statement on Tuesday evening regarding the Everton fixture.

“Everton’s match against Newcastle at Goodison Park, due to be played at 1930 on Thursday December 30, has regrettably been postponed,” it read.

“The board accepted Newcastle’s postponement application as the club does not have the required number of players available for the match (13 outfield players and one goalkeeper), due to Covid-19 cases and injuries.

“The board was able to make its decision in advance of the fixture to give clarity to the affected clubs and their fans. We apologise for the inconvenience and disruption caused to supporters’ festive plans.”

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Despite the virus surging throughout the county, the government have yet to introduce further restrictions. Many managers feel the Premier League should grasp the nettle and put the league on hold until the wave subsides.

That would cause problems later on in the season and the question of player welfare is on the agenda. Burnley boss Sean Dyche is firmly in the camp that believes games should be played whenever possible.

He feels there is no problem with player welfare and says Burnley always puts the health of staff first. And the Premier League outlined its criteria for postponing matches.

“The board will assess a number of factors, including the ability of a club to field a team; the status, severity and potential impact of the Covid-19 outbreak at the club; and the ability of the players to safely prepare for and play the match,” the statement continued.

Rafa Benitez Everton

“The board must also consider the wider risks to the opposition and other people the club representatives may come into contact with.”

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