Newcastle’s clash with Everton is POSTPONED at the request of the Magpies with Eddie Howe’s squad decimated by Covid cases and injuries after losing star men Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin in Man United draw
- The Premier League have postponed Newcastle’s match with Everton this week
- Newcastle requested to postpone due to Covid cases and a mounting injury list
- Injuries to Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin leaves Newcastle very short
The Premier League have granted Newcastle’s request for Thursday’s match at Everton to be postponed after an outbreak of Covid-19 and spate of injuries.
Sportsmail revealed on Tuesday that the Magpies fear Callum Wilson suffered a torn calf muscle during Monday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United and will be sidelined for a period of months.
Allan Saint-Maximin also picked up a less serious calf problem and Ryan Fraser was forced off with a hamstring complaint, adding to a lengthy list of absentees.
The loss of those three players, coupled with the spread of Covid-19 in their camp, meant that Newcastle would have been unable to name 13 outfield players for the game at Goodison Park. It takes the total of top-flight matches called off to 16 since the start of December.
Eddie Howe and Newcastle have had their postponement request accepted by Premier League
The Magpies saw Allan Saint-Maximin limp off injured to add to a growing injury and Covid list
The postponement will be welcomed by Newcastle boss Eddie Howe, who already had concerns about the integrity of the competition with his side having played four more matches than relegation rivals Burnley.
The club’s Saudi-led owners will now seek to strengthen the squad in January, especially in light of the expected news about top goalscorer Wilson, who is likely to miss the entirety of the winter schedule.
Everton, meanwhile, will have gone 17 days without a game by the time they host Brighton on Sunday.
Last week teams were told that if they have 13 fit players and a goalkeeper their games will go ahead – but there have been a number of cancellations in recent weeks.
Howe said Callum Wilson’s injury is more serious, after the striker was forced off at half-time
In a statement Newcastle said: ‘Newcastle United’s Premier League fixture at Everton on Thursday evening has been postponed following Covid-19 cases and injuries amongst the Magpies’ first team squad.
‘A number of players and staff members have returned positive results during routine PCR tests in recent days, while several players have suffered injuries during an extremely busy period of fixtures.
‘Accordingly, Newcastle United lodged a formal request with the Premier League to postpone Thursday’s fixture at Goodison Park, and that has been approved by the Premier League Board.
‘The match, which was scheduled to kick off at 7:30pm (GMT), will now be rescheduled and a new date and time will be confirmed in due course. Newcastle United would like to place on record its thanks to Everton FC and the Premier League for their co-operation and understanding.
‘The club also wishes to offer its sincere apologies to supporters of both clubs for any inconvenience caused by these circumstances. Newcastle United will continue to follow extensive coronavirus protocols and the club is working with Public Health England North East (PHE), local health authorities and the Premier League to minimise the risk of further transmission.’
Rafa Benitez has his wish granted as Everton’s Boxing Day trip to Burnley has been postponed but he will be wary that his side are now building up a fixture backlog amid the postponements
It is a blow for Everton as they had already had their Boxing Day match shelved due to a lack of players themselves.
Rafa Benitez’s squad has been decimated by injuries and Covid and they had their bid accepted to postpone a trip to Burnley.
Leeds against Liverpool and Wolves against Watford were also scrapped from the Boxing Day schedule following a high number of cases at Leeds and at Watford.
Aston Villa’s planned trip to Leeds on Tuesday, December 28, was also shelved due to Covid cases in the ranks of the Yorkshire side.
Gary Neville has been unimpressed and called on Premier League clubs to ‘get on with it’ and ‘trust their young players’ rather than seek fixture postponements amid the Covid-19 crisis.
Sixteen top-flight matches have been called off this month with the Omicron variant of the virus sweeping through clubs.
Two of Tuesday’s fixtures – Arsenal vs Wolves and Leeds United vs Liverpool – have been postponed despite the Premier League advising clubs they should fulfil their games if they have 13 fit players plus a goalkeeper.
Newcastle’s trip to Everton on Thursday becomes the latest.
Gary Neville believes matches in the Premier League and EFL are being called off ‘too easily’ because of Covid outbreaks within squads
Dozens of matches in the three divisions of the EFL have also been called off, sometimes at short notice, despite the League giving the same guidance.
Former England and Manchester United defender Neville, now a Sky Sports pundit, was responding to a tweet by talkSPORT presenter Adrian Durham.
Durham posted the EFL’s guidance on playing fixtures amid Covid outbreaks, which states: ‘Clubs will be expected to play where it has 14 players including a goalkeeper available from the club’s registered squad list.’
It goes on to say that ‘under-21 players not on the squad list but [who] have played one League match’, or ‘any other contracted player not on the squad list’ will also be eligible to play.
Durham wrote: ‘Here is @EFL rules on postponing games. Championship 1st team sqd [squad] + U23s = about 40 players. So 26 out?
Neville responded to a tweet on the subject by talkSPORT presenter Adrian Durham
Durham posted a snippet from guidance sent to clubs about completing games from the EFL
‘Possible but maybe games being called off too easily, more scrutiny needed. If things aren’t right points should be forfeited and costs paid to club robbed of a home fixture.’
Neville agreed and tweeted in response: ‘No way these clubs can’t get a team out. We’ve seen in the PL when teams requests are rejected they end up playing near on fun strength line-ups.
‘Time for clubs to get on with it and trust their young players unless in exceptional circumstances.’
A statement from the Premier League on Tuesday evening read: ‘Everton’s match against Newcastle at Goodison Park, due to be played at 1930 on Thursday December 30, has regrettably been postponed.
‘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.’
The postponement is the latest to impact on the top-flight schedule, with Tuesday’s games between Arsenal and Wolves as well as Leeds versus Aston Villa also not able to be played.
A record 103 positive Covid tests were recorded at Premier League clubs in the latest figures
‘The league is aware that the decisions in the last week to postpone matches will disappoint supporters, and understands their frustrations at a special time of year when fans look forward to attending and watching football games,’ the Premier League statement continued.
‘The league aims to provide as much clarity as possible, but unfortunately postponements sometimes have to be made at short notice, as safety is our priority. Where possible, the league will endeavour to keep supporters updated if games become at risk on a matchday.
‘The board assesses applications to postpone matches on a case-by-case basis, based on existing rules and adapted Covid-19 postponement guidance, implemented in light of the new omicron variant.
‘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 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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