Premier League: a crazy Boxing Day heckled by the Covid

VLeicester (6-3), Sunday for the 19th day, Manchester City continues to dominate a Premier League where the Covid-19 dictated the pace for this truncated but very spectacular Boxing Day. Amputated from three meetings – Burnley-Everton, Liverpool-Leeds and Wolverhampton-Watford – out of the nine initially planned, this great tradition of English football has lost a little magic under the effect of the new coronavirus.

If the stadiums were well filled with spectators not wearing the mask, which is not compulsory in the open air, but whose vaccination pass could be claimed at the entrance, tensions between the clubs and the Premier League remain high. . The organizer of the championship has thus refused a request for a last minute postponement by Crystal Palace before facing Tottenham.

The Eagles were deprived of their French coach Patrick Vieira on the bench, who tested positive for Covid, and a handful of players, but given their scoresheet, the PL felt they did not meet its criteria to get a deferral. The Premier League, on the other hand, agreed to shift Leeds-Aston Villa, scheduled for Tuesday for the 20th day. Peacocks’ squad has almost completely returned to negative but the late release from isolation of affected players does not allow proper preparation for the next meeting.

City and Leicester put on the show

This brings to 14 meetings that will have to be rescheduled because of the renewed contamination linked to the new coronavirus. However, there was football on the fields and a big show all over the place. Manchester City and Leicester thus offered a crazy spectacle, the leader having the last word (6-3) to take 6 points ahead of Liverpool who have one game less. We thought Pep Guardiola’s men left for a demonstration with 4 goals on their first 4 shots on target.

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Kevin de Bruyne, left alone by opposing defenders who apparently respected social distancing, opened the scoring by turning around (1-0, 5th) and Ilkay Gündogan took advantage of a late Christmas gift from Kasper Schmeichel who had deviated in his feet a low cross (3-0, 21st). The whole thing was accompanied by two penalties offered by Youri Tielemans and transformed by Riyad Mahrez (2-0, 13th) and Raheem Sterling (4-0, 25th). But the Foxes had the merit of not giving up and coming back within range by scoring three times in ten minutes at the start of the second period, by James Maddison (4-1, 55th), Ademola Lookman (2-2, 59th) and Kelechi Iheanacho (4-3, 65th). On a corner, Aymeric Laporte, from the head, finally gave some air to his family (5-3, 69th), before Sterling closed the mark (6-3, 87th), but the scenario of the match shows City that all the same, it will not be necessary to err on the side of overconfidence if it is to go to the end.

Arsenal approaching the podium

Behind the leader, the good operation returned to Arsenal, easy winner with the red lantern Norwich (5-0) and which returns only three lengths of Chesea, 3rd, who will play at 6.30pm at Aston Villa. A little more than two years after his arrival at the Gunners, Mikel Arteta could see that his precepts seem well applied, with a high pressing and a lightning transition which allowed Bukayo Saka to open the scoring in the 6th minute. Just before the break, Kieran Tierney doubled the lead (2-0, 44th) with the help of the post, before Bukayo Saka offered himself a brace (3-0, 67th). Alexandre Lacazette, confirmed in his duties as captain, drove the nail on the penalty (4-0, 84th), before Emile Smith-Rowe further added to the bill (5-0, 90 + 1).

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In the rearview mirror of the Gunners, we find Tottenham (5th) who dismissed Palace (3-0). In addition to the cases of Covid, the Eagles had to play ten after the expulsion of Wilfried Zaha (37th). Harry Kane, well served by Lucas Moura, opened the scoring (1-0, 32nd) before the former PSG doubled the bet (2-0, 34th). In the second half, Son Heung-min took part in the party (3-0, 74th), once again served by Lucas Moura.

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