A number of Premier League fixtures this season have been called off due to COVID-19 outbreaks.
Southampton’s home game against Newcastle United, meant to open 2022 for both sides on January 2, was the 18th game to be postponed this season due to COVID-19. Newcastle were the suffering side with “several” confirmed cases among the first-team players and staff, adding to their injury issues.
A statement from the Premier League on the postponement read: “Southampton’s match against Newcastle United at St Mary’s Stadium, due to be played at 14:00 GMT on Sunday 2 January, has regrettably been postponed.
“Newcastle continue to have ongoing COVID-19 cases and injuries that led to their match against Everton being called off earlier this week.
“The Board accepted the postponement application as the club do not have the required number of players available for the match (13 outfield players and one goalkeeper).”
Before the season kicked off, the Premier League made a note that rearranging or postponing league matches will only take place in exceptional circumstances. A more recent statement, published on December 20, stressed that the fixture list will continue as planned where possible.
“It was confirmed at a Premier League club meeting today that while recognising a number of clubs are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and challenges, it is the league’s collective intention to continue the current fixture schedule where safely possible,” the most recent Premier League statement read.
It was confirmed at a #PL club meeting today that while recognising a number of clubs are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks & challenges, it is the League’s collective intention to continue the current fixture schedule where safely possible
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 20, 2021
“The health and wellbeing of all concerned remains our priority and the League will continue to monitor and reflect public health guidance, always proceeding with caution.
“A range of issues were discussed at this afternoon’s meeting, including the adaption of the Premier League COVID-19 postponement process in response to the impact of the Omicron variant.
“The league also confirmed to its clubs today that 92 per cent of players and club staff have received one, two or three COVID-19 vaccination doses, with 84 per cent of players on the vaccination journey.
“Players who have had one or two doses are required to wait for the appropriate time period before receiving either their second or booster vaccinations.
“The league continues to work with clubs to encourage vaccination among players and club staff, as well as promoting the Government’s public-health vaccination messaging to clubs and the wider public.
“No specific details as to clubs or individuals will be provided by the league, and player vaccination rates will now be publicly communicated at the end of each month, beginning in January.”
Which Premier League matches have been postponed?
- Brighton vs Tottenham
- Brentford vs Man Utd
- Burnley vs Watford
- Leicester vs Tottenham
- Man Utd vs Brighton
- Southampton vs Brentford
- Watford vs Crystal Palace
- West Ham vs Norwich
- Aston Villa vs Burnley
- Everton vs Leicester
- Liverpool vs Leeds
- Wolves vs Watford
- Burnley vs Everton
- Leeds vs Aston Villa
- Arsenal vs Wolves
- Everton vs Newcastle
- Leicester vs Norwich
- Southampton vs Newcastle
When will the games be replayed?
The Premier League has stressed their intention to “continue its current fixture schedule where safely possible”, but there is a growing worry of congestion in the second half of this campaign. As things currently stand, the powers that be have around 15 midweek slots where postponed matches could take place in 2022. Those are the midweeks (commencing from the Monday) of the following weeks between January and May:
- January (3, 10, 19, 17, 24*, 31*)
- February (14, 21, 28)
- March (7, 14)
- April (4, 11, 18, 25)
- May (2, 9, 16)
*The weeks of the Premier League’s winter break (scheduled between 23 January and 7 February).
However, this comes with a caveat as these dates potentially clash with forthcoming Champions League and Europa League knockout matches. There’s also one extreme possibility: having the games played beyond the Premier League’s scheduled final weekend (May 22). Fortunately there is a 10-week break in club football between the Champions League final on May 28 and the 2022/23 Premier League season starting on August 6. This allows the unlikely scenario of this campaign extending into the summer, which very few will favour, most notably international coaches as the UEFA Nations League finals begins on June 2.
The Premier League have started to announce the rescheduling of some postponed matches, with three matches given their new dates for January.
Tuesday 11 January, 2022
- Southampton vs Brentford (19:45)
- Everton vs Leicester (20:00)
Wednesday 12 January, 2022
- West Ham vs Norwich (19:45)
How has the Premier League table been impacted?
At the moment, just two Premier League clubs haven’t seen any games postponed this season, with Manchester City and Chelsea playing all of their 20 matches.
From the remaining this 18, seven teams are two matches down, with Watford, Everton and Tottenham three back, and Burnley four. The results of these ‘games in hand’ would dramatically alter league table positions. Tottenham should have already faced Leicester, Burnley and Brighton. If they were to hypothetically claim all three points in those meetings, then that would position them above fourth-placed Arsenal in the current standings on 39 points to their rival’s 38 (if they were to win their spare game). Meanwhile, Burnley, who are in the relegation zone, would need just three points from 12 to climb above strugglers Watford – even if they won their three ‘games in hand’.