The blues had an increase in positive Covid-19 cases and, after consultation and taking medical advice, the Premier League agreed to call off the match as a precautionary measure. While Everton have requested a full disclosure from the Premier League, social media users were quick to point the finger at City, mainly citing that they wanted to avoid playing an in-form team!
Many stated that the blues didn’t want to face Everton because of the Toffee’s position in the league and their recent form, and have used the pandemic as a way to get out of playing a team that has turned out to be a bit of a surprise package this season.
Journalist Peter Harvey then rather bizarrely tried to link the COVID-19 outbreak at the club to the blues finances when he tweeted “Are cash-rich Man City saying they cannot field a team due to COVID-19? Or have they used persuasion to postpone their match v high-flying, in-form Everton?”
I don’t know about you, but I’m struggling to see how a virus, that has been attributed to almost two million deaths worldwide, would have anything to do with the bank account at the Etihad Stadium, unless Harvey is insinuating that the blues have used money to get the game postponed?
It really doesn’t matter how much money the blues have got, it would not stop players and staff from getting the virus, unless Harvey is aware of some kind of currency that is Covid resistant. So, the only conclusion is that, by using the words ‘cash-rich’ and ‘persuasion’ he can only be suggesting that the blues paid the Premier League to cancel the fixture which, apart from being illegal, would make absolutely no sense at all.
High-flying in-form Everton, as he put it, just happened to have Richarlison, Rodriguez, Digne, Allan and Delph all unavailable for this fixture, and the cancellation means these five have more time to recover. It would make more sense for City to play Everton now while they have some key players out. City themselves are in a good run of form and are slowly clawing their way up the table after an indifferent start to the season. They also have an excellent recent record at Goodison Park, so I’m sure the players themselves would have been disappointed they didn’t get the chance to continue that run and end the year with a win.
But the match had to be cancelled from a safety point of view. Lives are more important than a football match that can be played on another date. No one is quite sure of the extent of the infections at City, and until they do, every precaution needs to be taken.
The blues came back from London in midweek, a place that is currently in Tier 4 restrictions, and it is thought that is where the outbreak has originated from, although no blame has been placed on Arsenal for the virus outbreak. The new strain of virus is moving fast through the UK and it is not known if any of the players who tested negative in the previous test would test positive today. If they had, then they have potentially infected the Everton team, who can then go on to infect others. By cancelling the game, City and the Premier League have prevented another potential spike in infections, and that decision must be lauded rather than criticised.
Of course it was disappointing that the match didn’t go ahead. After missing half of the Newcastle game, I was looking forward to watching the match with a mince pie and glass of mulled wine (how middle class does that sound?) But I understand that people’s lives, health and safety must come first.
It’s just a pity some others don’t see it the same way.