Two fixtures were postponed for Manchester United in December and Gary Neville has named his former club in a critical rant about match postponements in the Premier League.
According to Sky Sports, the Premier League will decide today whether Sunday’s game between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal goes ahead. The Gunners have a host of players missing due to COVID-19, injury, suspension and the African Cup of Nations.
Tottenham are bound to be angry with their rivals Arsenal over this.
It follows Leicester City having a third straight match postponed this week.
Sky Sports duo Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher have criticised clubs for their handling of situations. They want to see clubs forced force to carry out their fixture irrespective of COVID-19 cases.
“I should’ve spoken out about this probably three or four weeks ago when Manchester United called their games off,” Neville said.
“I honestly believe all teams, not just in the Premier League but in the EFL, must be made to play their fixtures. [Florian] Balogun’s gone on loan, [Ainsley] Maitland-Niles has gone on loan, [Granit] Xhaka’s got a red card — that’s not the fault of anyone else, we can’t be calling matches off.
“If it was purely down to Covid where they were [sic] 10-15 players out, but we’re talking about teams with no doubt they’ve been calling games off because they haven’t got the best squad to win the game, it’s got to stop.
“I have to say that’s not a dig at Arsenal, I should’ve spoken three or four weeks ago; Manchester United, other teams have got 30-40 players in their squad, I’m not having they can’t get 14, 15, 16 players together.
“So for me, it should be rejected without knowing the full detail, unless there’s a load of Covid cases at Arsenal I feel having played at Liverpool — and fantastically well by the way — it has to stop and we have to make teams play.”
🗣 "I honestly believe that all teams must be made to play their fixtures"
🗣 "We're talking about teams calling games off based on if they think they have their best squad… it's got to stop"@GNev2 and @Carra23 share their thoughts on recent postponements 💬 pic.twitter.com/6qBsmLOjyM
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) January 14, 2022
Footage courtesy of Sky Sports
Carragher added: “Gary’s right, this isn’t a dig at Arsenal — we’re just talking off the back of them being the latest club — every club has done this.
“No other league in Europe has done this, certainly not in the big leagues, Bayern Munich played a 16-year-old in the last game, that tells you exactly where they are. Why can’t we do that? Why can’t your players be given an opportunity in this, you know, circumstances.
“Everyone is in the same boat, if it’s an outbreak of Covid and decimated the squad I understand but players in the AFCON tournament, normal injuries, that’s got nothing to do with it.
“You’ve got U23s squads, younger players this may be an opportunity where they get a chance. I know there’s a lot riding on Premier League games, I understand that but at this moment, I think teams are taking advantage of the situation.”
Update: Arsenal’s request to postpone the North London Derby was accepted by the Premier League.
Game off. What started out as postponements due to a pandemic has now become about clubs not having their best team . The Premier League must stop this now , draw a line in the sand and say all games go ahead unless you have an exceptional amount of CV cases . It’s wrong 👍
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) January 15, 2022
It didn’t take Neville long to respond.