Manchester United v Wolves: Match in pictures
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Premier League clubs have had their schedules continuously disrupted throughout the winter period due to the COVID-19 crisis, with some clubs having as many as four games postponed heading into the January transfer window. And after reports emerged that Southampton were pushing for January signings to be blocked from playing in rearranged fixtures, those most active in the transfer window will be fretting over their new stars not being able to partake in the coming weeks.
A total of 17 games have been rearranged for later dates as Covid ran riot across the festive period.
After Brighton vs Tottenham was postponed on December 12, a total of six games followed suit just five days later in an apocalyptic restructure of the Premier League calendar.
Some suffered more than most as the league took a turn for the worst. Chelsea and Manchester City are yet to have a game cancelled, owing much to their insane squad depth and quality – with City having won every league game throughout that period.
On the other hand, Burnley lead the way in terms of postponed games with four, while Tottenham, Leicester, Watford and Everton all boast three to their name.
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And with talkSPORT revealing that Southampton are pushing for clubs who have made signings – or plan on doing so throughout the window – to be banned from fielding their new signings in the rearranged fixtures, it could spell bad news for some clubs should the rule come to fruition.
Newcastle are a club who undoubtedly fall into that bracket.
The Magpies had games against Southampton and Everton called off due to COVID-19 problems in their squad either side of New Year’s Day.
And with the signing of right-back Kieran Trippier being announced on Friday morning alongside their reported interest in Lille defender Sven Botman and Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard, the new ruling would massively affect Eddie Howe’s side.
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The team with the joint-worst defence in the league could well lose two very winnable games against bottom-half teams in the division without their new talents.
United could be in trouble themselves.
The Red Devils had games postponed against Brentford and Brighton prior to Christmas, before losing comprehensively to Wolves and drawing to Newcastle in the last fortnight.
With midfielders Declan Rice and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic linked with a move to Old Trafford, it is clear Ralf Rangnick’s side are in need of a central midfielder.
But the club could continue their poor form against two gung-ho sides with strong midfields if they do sign a midfielder who is not then allowed to play in either match.
Tottenham are another side who could struggle to capitalise on their games in hand.
A fixture against Burnley was cancelled in late November due to snow, whilst ties against Leicester and Brighton were also cancelled due to the virus.
With the club expecting to sign a right wing-back alongside depth throughout the squad, the frailties of Antonio Conte’s team could show against two very good attacking outfits in the midst of the Covid crisis.
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