Four matches in the Premier League scheduled for this weekend have been postponed after a host of clubs suffered Covid-19 outbreaks.
It follows the news that Manchester United’s clash with Brighton & Hove Albion was called off on Thursday.
Southampton against Brentford, Watford versus Crystal Palace, Norwich’s game at West Ham United and Everton’s encounter with Leicester City have all been called off.
The Premier League announced earlier today that it intended to continue with the current season despite calls for a firebreak.
But in a statement, the league was forced to explain the four further postponements, mostly relating to an insufficient amount of players.
“The Board has agreed to postpone the matches after assessing individual club requests this evening,” it began.
“Brentford FC have an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. This has resulted in their training ground being closed which means they are unable to prepare for Saturday’s match.
“Watford FC also continue to have an ongoing outbreak, resulting in their training ground being closed, and have an insufficient number of players available to fulfil their match.
“Norwich City FC have an insufficient number of players available to fulfil their match due to COVID-19, injuries and other illnesses.
“Leicester City FC have a COVID-19 outbreak within the squad which has left the club with an insufficient number of players available to fulfil the match. The club’s first-team training ground was closed this morning to help contain the outbreak.
“The Board assesses applications to postpone matches on a case-by-case basis, based on existing rules and COVID-19 postponement guidance issued to all clubs.
PSG crisis: Kylian Mbappe unhappy with Lionel Messi for taking side in feud with Neymar
Kylian Mbappe is said to be upset that Lionel Messi is close to Neymar at Paris Saint-Germain as the club are reportedly on the brink of crisis following the latest high-profile fallout.
Mbappe and Neymar fell out over the order of penalty takers in the team during the Ligue 1 clash against Montpellier this weekend, after the Brazilian did not allow his teammate to take PSG’s second spot-kick after the Frenchman had seen his first effort saved.
So bad was the tension inside the dressing room that experienced defender and former Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos was reportedly forced to step in to separate the feuding pair – as cracks reappeared, in spectacular fashion, within the squad.
There is reportedly an element of rivalry between Mbappe and Messi at the Parc des Princes relating to the status of Neymar while multiple reports last season outlined the depth of the dressing room split in Paris – with Mbappe believing Messi’s friend lacks discipline and is damaging to the club.
A constant theme in recent years of the PSG dressing room is a lack of discipline and meaningful leadership at the club.
Mbappe opted to sign a three-year contract extension with the Ligue 1 champions earlier this summer, with reports claiming that the striker would hold great sway in the club’s sporting decisions as part of the agreement to extend his stay at the Parc des Princes. Indeed, the appointment of new sporting director Luis Campos could be linked to Mbappe as the pair know each other from their time together at Monaco.
However, a report from goal.com explains that Mbappe is already feeling frustrated that he does not have the power at the club that he had assumed, with the influence that Neymar had over both Messi and Sergio Ramos – the two other heavyweights in the dressing room – said to be a source of discontent.
The fallout of the weekend’s incident has continued subsequently with Neymar ‘liking’ two social posts that slammed Mbappe over the episode. The first post included the sentence: “After the game, the coach said that Mbappe will be the team’s main hitter for the season. An absurdity.” In the second post ‘liked’ by Neymar, the Frenchman is accused of being “the owner of PSG.”
There was a significant off-field change at PSG this summer with the appointment of Campos to replace the outgoing Leonardo as sporting director, while Christophe Galtier replaced Mauricio Pochettino in the dugout.
Their priority was to instil much-needed discipline at the club and transform the transfer policy – with Vitinha, Renato Sanches and, in the works, Fabian Ruiz fixing the midfield – but the former aim is receiving an early test after this weekend’s events.
Frenkie de Jong transfer: Chelsea 'know' they've beaten Man Utd 'as announcement prepared'
Chelsea know they will beat Manchester United to the signing of Frenkie de Jong, according to reports in Spain.
The Red Devils have been linked with the Barcelona midfielder all summer as Erik ten Hag looks to reunite with a player he previously worked with at Ajax. The player himself though has shown no willingness to move despite a fee being agreed with Barcelona.
Chelsea have arrived late to the party and are confident they hold the upper hand. De Jong is desperate to continue playing Champions League football and the Blues can offer him that, whilst United can’t. SPORT reports that the west Londoners are waiting for their moment to move as a result.o
The Blues have yet to make any major moves in that area of their squad with the likes of Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante all in their squad. That trio are ageing however and Thomas Tuchel would welcome a new addition into his midfield.
Chelsea have already added the likes of Kalidou Koulibaly and Raheem Sterling, but the feeling is they are still not equipped to challenge for the Premier League title and the arrival of De Jong would strengthen their hand. Barcelona are looking for €80m – but the Blues will look to get that fee down.
United’s failure to add De Jong has left them to pursue other options with time running out to add new faces. Adrien Rabiot was on their radar but a deal has collapsed due to wage issues whilst the likes of Ruben Neves remain on their radar.
The Catalans are desperate to get players off their books to generate some much needed revenue. Their financial situation is well documented and they have been willing to offload De Jong, whose wage issues with the club have been publicised and criticised.
Barcelona have continued to spend big this summer on the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha, but cannot register new players until they raise some more funds, which will no doubt further their want to sell De Jong, who would command a hefty fee.
The Dutchman has remained part of the first-team picture however and came on as a substitute in their opening game of the season against Rayo Vallecano. Xavi said after the contest: “De Jong is not a substitute. He’s an important player and I have said that many times. I don’t know what will happen, but if he stays he will continue to be important.”
Jamie Redknapp and Micah Richards clash over Manchester City duo
Rodri has started Manchester City’s opening two Premier League matches this season, while Phillips has had to settle for a place on the bench since arriving as a big money summer signing from Leeds United
Jamie Redknapp and Micah Richards got heated as the pair disagreed over Manchester City duo Rodri and Kalvin Phillips.
The punditry duo were putting together a combined Liverpool and Man City starting XI, and things turned X-rated as they discussed their preferred holding midfielder out of the duo and the Reds’ anchorman, Fabinho. Redknapp was adamant that the Liverpool man should be in the side, while Richards wanted City’s Rodri in there.
But former Liverpool and Tottenham man Redknapp believes Phillips is a better passer of the ball than Rodri when delivering his assessment of the two City players. This proved quite the bone of contention between Richards and Redknapp, as they argued over who should be in the side.
Speaking on LADbible, Richards started when his opposite number suggested the England man should be in the conversation.
The ex-Man City defender responded: “He’s not in the same bracket yet. I wouldn’t put Phillips there, I don’t think he is better than Rodri and certainly not better than Fabinho.”
Redknapp: “But I tell you what he is. He’s a better passer than both of them, by far. The way he pings the ball about.
Redknapp: “Are you taking the p**s? Are you taking the p**s?
Richards: “Are you taking the p**s?”
Redknapp: “What, you think that Rodri is a better passer of the ball than Phillips? I’m going. I’m going. Whoa, whoa, whoa, Jamie. You think he’s a better passer than Rodri?”
Richards: “You think Phillips is – a better passer than Rodri?”
Redknapp: “100%, all day long. Rodri’s a sort of nice, simple, clouting type. Are you winding me up?”
Richards: “Are you winding me up?”
Redknapp: “No, you must be winding me up. Phillips is one of the cleanest strikers of the ball that we’ve produced in years.”
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