Premier League Covid-19 crisis: Manchester United vs Brighton decision made after Graham Potter's previous postponement plea

The Premier League have taken decisive action on the Manchester vs Brighton and Hove Albion fixture as coronavirus continues to disrupt the country

Brighton and Hove Albion head coach Graham Potter wanted Wednesday match against Wolves postponed
Brighton and Hove Albion head coach Graham Potter wanted Wednesday match against Wolves postponed

The Premier League announced Saturday’s game between Manchester United and Brighton at Old Trafford is the latest to be postponed due to coronavirus concerns.

They did however add that it intends to “continue its current fixture schedule where safely possible."

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The decision was made following a coronavirus outbreak among United’s squad and backroom staff. “The health of players and staff is our priority,” read a statement on United’s website.

“Given the number of players and support staff having to isolate due to Covid-19, the club had no option other than to request the match be rearranged.”

Training operations at the club’s Carrington training complex have been suspended for “a short period” to help reduce the risk of further transmission.

It is understood United boss Ralf Rangnick had just nine first-team players available for Tuesday’s appointment with the Bees because of Covid isolation and injury.

That figure had reduced to seven ahead of the scheduled weekend clash with the Seagulls.

Brighton’s slated meeting with Tottenham last Sunday was postponed due to a Covid outbreak at the north London club, while Brentford versus Manchester United and Watford’s trip to Burnley were called off in similar circumstances on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.

Earlier today Leicester's clash with Tottenham at the King Power was also pushed back as clubs grapple to contain the virus.

Albion head coach Graham Potter looked a resigned figure after Wednesday night's 1-0 loss to Wolves at the Amex. Potter revealed Albion were unsuccessful in their request for Wednesday evening’s clash with Wolves – a 1-0 loss – to be rearranged following a Covid-19 and injury crisis at the club.

The Premier League consider treat each covid-related postponement requests on a case by case basis but given the previous call-offs, it seemed strange that last night's match between Brighton and Wolves was allowed to take place.

The depleted Seagulls were without a host of influential players for the game, with top scorer Neal Maupay and Pascal Gross the latest men to join the growing list of absentees.

The loss extended Albion's winless run to 12 Premier League matches as they dropped to 13th in table - nine points above the drop zone.

The Albion head coach said on Wednesday that he believed it will be difficult for the Premier League to continue with the current trend of only some games being deemed worthy of postponement due to coronavirus infections among players.

“We asked the question because of our situation,” he said of a possible postponement after the Wolves loss.

“You haven’t really got time to be disappointed (with being turned down). It was about preparing the team, preparing for the game.”

Speaking of the apparent lack of consistency in decision-making, he continued: “You obviously have to think everyone is doing things in the best intentions.

“There will be frustration with that.

“It would be better if it was more transparent but at the same time you’re talking about medical information so I don’t know how transparent that can be.

“I think the path we’re on, I’m not sure how long we can stay on it for.

“We all want football to continue, want life to continue as best as we can but clearly health is the most important thing.

“We’ve got some issues ourselves and this week has been a little bit disturbing in terms of how quickly we’ve been affected.

“If that carries on then we’ll have to have some serious thought (about action being suspended).”

Brentford manager Thomas Frank went a step further and called for the upcoming round of Premier League fixtures to be postponed to allow clubs to deal with coronavirus outbreaks.

Frank saw his side’s clash with Manchester United go under on Tuesday as the country deals with the Omicron variant, with Burnley’s match with Watford on Wednesday becoming the third Premier League fixture in a week to be called off.

Frank and the Bees have Covid issues of their own to deal with ahead of a Saturday trip to Southampton and the Dane would like to see a break in play to help manage the situation across the league.

“We think we should postpone the full round of Premier League games this weekend,” he said on Thursday morning.

“Covid cases are going through the roof at all Premier League clubs, everyone is dealing with it and having problems."