Aston Villa’s Covid-19 Challenges
It could be argued that Aston Villa have ultimately benefited over the Christmas period from match postponements due to Covid-19 cases. The postponement of both their games against Burnley (December 18th) and Leeds United (28th December), certainly helped lighten the load of what could have been a tough December, with seven games originally scheduled for the month.
While they had two good opportunities for points go amiss, their Head Coach Steven Gerrard would have missed the Leeds United game, and Villa could have potentially fielded a vastly weaken team against Burnley. Also, there’s no doubt the situation helped on the injury front with the increased rest period between games.
A record 103 Premier League players and staff tested positive for Covid in the seven days up to and including 26 December, which lead to the postponement of the Villa vs Leeds United fixture. It was good news for Gerrard, who would have been in isolation anyway and his team escaped playing two games within a 48-hour period.
The first casualties of 2022 have already been announced with Newcastle United’s Premier League match away to Southampton on Sunday being postponed because of the number of Covid-19 cases and injuries in the Magpies squad.
Villa Merch Sale
Villa in Decent Shape
Speaking in advance of Villa’s trip to Brentford on Sunday, Gerrard said, his squad was in “decent shape”, if they get through the Covid tests prior to the game. It would suggest that the Villa line-up would be of similiar strength to the team that faced Chelsea on Boxing Day, minus the suspended Tyrone Mings.
Regarding the current Covid situation which has had such a big impact on the holiday football calendar, a Premier League statement said: “The Premier League’s Covid-19 emergency measures include protocols such as wearing face coverings while indoors, observing social distancing, limiting treatment time, as well as the increased testing.
“The league is continuing to work with clubs to keep people safe by helping mitigate the risks of Covid-19 within their squads. We are also liaising closely with the government, local authorities and supporter groups, while being responsive to any future changes to national or local guidance.”
The Premier League’s 20 clubs met before Christmas to discuss the fixture list following a number of postponements.
No vote took place, with the Premier League electing to carry on, while the EFL will play games “where it is safe to do so”.
Clubs were advised if they have 13 fit players, plus a goalkeeper, they should fulfil their games.
How clubs manage their Covid-19 protocols and player’s discipline and care in their personal lives in staying negative from infection, will now have a huge impact on their club chances in the forthcoming weeks.