Manchester City remain top of the Premier League after surviving a heavily disrupted pre-festive matchweek to claim top spot for Christmas.
Joao Cancelo teed up Ruben Dias’ fifth-minute headed opener before scoring himself as Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling found the net in a 4-0 win for Man City at second-bottom Newcastle United, which left Pep Guardiola’s Citizens two points clear at the summit ahead of Christmas.
Liverpool remain second after headers from Diogo Jota and Andrew Robertson saw Jurgen Klopp’s Reds snatch a 2-2 draw at Tottenham, as Harry Kane and Son Heung-min found the net for Spurs prior to Robertson’s red card for a foul on Emerson Royal.
Chelsea stay third after clinging on for a goalless draw at Wolves with a depleted squad, following a postponement request getting snubbed by the Premier League.
Arsenal opened a four-point lead in fourth over fifth-placed West Ham after Gabriel Martinelli struck twice in a 4-1 win at Leeds United.
Six Matches Postponed Due to Coronavirus Outbreaks
Six Premier League matches this weekend were postponed as a consequence of a rise in cases across the UK due to the Omicron variant.
Man Utd’s clash against Brighton which was scheduled for 12:30pm GMT on Saturday (18 December 2021) was the first to fall just 45 hours before kick-off, with Utd only having seven players available for selection.
Premier League officials then acted two hours later with announcement of four further match postponements;
- Southampton vs Brentford (3:00pm – 18 December)
- Watford vs Crystal Palace (3:00pm – 18 December)
- West Ham vs Norwich (3:00pm – 18 December)
- Everton vs Leicester (12:00pm – 19 December)
This decision was taken after Brentford, Watford and Leicester closed their training grounds due to Coronavirus outbreaks, which left them with an ‘insufficient’ number of players available.
Norwich’s trip to West Ham meanwhile was postponed due to a mixture of Coronavirus, injuries and other illnesses, which prevented the Canaries from safely fulfilling the fixture despite their training ground staying open as players received their booster vaccinations.
Aston Villa’s clash against Burnley at Villa Park was set to go ahead at 3pm GMT on Saturday 18 December, only to become the sixth and final postponement of this matchweek just two hours before kick-off following a surge in positive cases amongst Villa players.
Premier League officials also moved to confirm that applications to have matches postponed would be reviewed ‘on a case-by-case basis,’ factoring in existing rules and Coronavirus related postponement guidelines issued to all clubs.
Within the factors under consideration, officials will study the club’s ability to field a team alongside current ‘status, severity and potential impact’ of Coronavirus outbreaks at individual clubs, on top of safe preparation for players to play the match.
Consideration will also be given to ‘the wider risks to the opposition and other people the club representatives may come into contact with.
Emergency measures have also been reintroduced across all clubs which include regular testing, use of face coverings whilst indoors, observing social distancing and limited treatment time.