Crystal Palace will be without Patrick Vieira in the dugout for the Boxing Day trip to Tottenham Hotspur after the manager tested positive for Covid-19. The latest blow for Palace comes after the club failed in their attempt to get the 3pm GMT kick-off called off because of an outbreak of the virus in their squad.
Palace were in discussions with the Liga Premier on Christmas Day about postponing their trip across the capital following a number of new positive cases, but it is understood the league were dissatisfied with the late application.
Palace tweeted: “We can confirm that Palacio de Cristal manager Patrick Vieira is self-isolating after returning a positive test for Covid-19, and will be absent from the touchline for today’s match against Spurs. Assistant manager Osian Roberts will deputise for Vieira for today’s match.”
Vieira revealed on Christmas Eve that there were a “couple of cases”, but the increase over the following 48 hours was not deemed enough to see the game cancelled.
Leeds have announced that their Premier League game against Aston Villa on 28 December has been called off due to Covid. United’s match against Liverpool on Boxing Day had already been postponed due to the virus.
“Following a request from Leeds United, the Premier League Board met today and regrettably agreed to postpone the club’s home fixture against Aston Villa,” the league said in a statement. The Board accepted the postponement application as the club does not have the required number of players available for the match (13 outfield players and one goalkeeper)."
Leeds explained that “whilst there have been no new Covid cases in the playing squad, the majority of those who tested positive prior to the Liverpool game are not yet out of isolation.”
Three games scheduled for Sunday have been called off on account of the virus. Leeds v Liverpool and Wolves v Watford went on Thursday and Everton’s trip to Burnley had to be postponed the following day. The impact of Covid on the Premier League was underlined on Saturday when Aston Villa said Steven Gerrard would miss their next two games after the head coach tested positive.
There are now just two Championship matches scheduled for Boxing Day action – Huddersfield v Blackpool and Middlesbrough v Nottingham Forest – after Hull City v Blackburn was called at 1pm on Sunday, off just two hours before kick-off.
Blackburn explained this was “due to positive Covid-19 cases in the Hull City squad” and apologised to the many of their supporters who had already made the journey to Yorkshire. Midfielder Bradley Dack tweeting the home side with the message “SHAMBLES” while Rovers’ Bradley Johnson said he was “gutted” at the decision.