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Premier League games continue despite record number of COVID-19 cases

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-12-15 09:29
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LONDON -- Four Premier League games are scheduled to go ahead on Wednesday despite the worries over a sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 cases among players in England's top flight.

The Premier League confirmed on Monday that 42 players tested positive for the virus over the period from December 5 to 12. That is a sharp increase on the 12 positive cases in the previous week and the highest number recorded since test results began to be made public in May 2020.

Manchester United's away trip to Brentford which was scheduled for Tuesday night has been postponed after an outbreak of COVID-19 in the Man Utd squad led to the closure of their Carrington training ground on Monday.

The club's official website said, "Given the cancelation of training and disruption to the squad, and with the health of players and staff the priority, the club requested the match to be rearranged."

"The Premier League board took the decision to postpone based on guidance from medical advisors," it added.

Wednesday's matches see Brighton (whose game at the weekend against Tottenham was canceled after a COVID-19 outbreak in the Tottenham squad) entertain Wolves in what is likely to be a test of Brighton's attacking ability.

Third-from-bottom Burnley take on 17th-placed Watford, knowing that a home win would see them overtake Claudio Ranieri's men and climb out of the relegation zone. Given the hair-trigger Watford's owners have regards to managers, defeat for them could see Ranieri spending Christmas back in Italy.

Crystal Palace will look to build on their weekend victory at home to Everton when they entertain Southampton, who have just 16 points, but the biggest game of the day is a London derby between Arsenal and West Ham United.

Arsenal have decided to strip Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of the captaincy and he won't be available after a breach of club discipline, and Arsenal did very well without him against Southampton at the weekend.

Meanwhile, West Ham are still without central defenders Kurt Zouma and Angelo Ogbonna for their trip across London.

Tottenham return to action after their brush with COVID-19 on Thursday with a visit to Leicester City, while Chelsea could pile the pressure on Everton coach Rafa Benitez, and Newcastle face a difficult trip to play Liverpool at Anfield.

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