Leeds United’s Elland Road game with Aston Villa postponed due to Covid-19 outbreak but there’s hope for Burnley clash - YEP 26/12/21
Leeds United's game against Aston Villa at Elland Road has been postponed due to the Whites' Covid-19 outbreak.
By Graham Smyth
Not enough time has passed for the cases in the Whites camp, which forced the closure of their Thorp Arch training ground and the postponement of the Boxing Day visit to Liverpool, to clear up and their injury situation also remains severe.
Leeds confirmed last Thursday they had five positive results among first team members and backroom staff, which added to Marcelo Bielsa’s extensive injury list to leave him shy of a big enough squad to travel to Anfield. Although new government guidelines say that anyone testing positive can leave isolation after seven days if they test negative 24 hours apart on days six and seven, the Villa game has come too soon.
There have been no further positive results in Leeds’ playing squad but there are three new cases among the backroom staff. The YEP understands Thorp Arch is to reopen for the remaining players this afternoon. Leeds received dispensation to open the training ground for injured players in a bid to get them fit for the Villa game but despite the club’s efforts the game has had to be called off.
A Premier League statement read: “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, due to be played at 17:30 GMT on Tuesday 28 December.
“The Board was able to make its decision in advance of the match to give clarity to the affected clubs and their fans. We apologise for the inconvenience and disruption caused to supporters’ festive plans.
“The postponement is a result of the ongoing COVID-19 cases and injuries at Leeds which saw their Boxing Day match against Liverpool called off. 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).
“The League is aware that the decisions this week to postpone matches will disappoint supporters, and understands their frustrations at a special time of year when fans look forward to attending and watching football games.”
Villa themselves have had their struggles with Covid-19 of late. Their game at home to Burnley on December 18 was also called off due to an increased amount of positive cases in Villa’s squad and boss Steven Gerrard has since tested positive. The former Rangers manager is now isolating, meaning he would have been forced to give Elland Road a miss had the game taken place as scheduled.
Leeds are next due to play on January 2 at Elland Road against Burnley when their players are all expected to be out of isolation. The Premier League is yet to announce new dates for the Liverpool and Villa games.