Premier League news live updates: Latest on COVID-19 meetings and Carabao Cup build-up – The Athletic


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Hello and welcome to The Athletic's coverage of today's football news.

The Premier League and EFL have both decided that their respective seasons will not pause because of the latest wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, with clubs facing up to a mounting fixture crisis due to the postponement of multiple games across the whole of the English football pyramid.

Elsewhere, Fulham were shocked at home by Sheffield United on Monday evening as the visitors held out a 1-0 win. Iliman Ndiaye's goal in the third minute was the only difference that has moved Sheffield United into the top half of the table.

We will bring you all the latest updates throughout football here.

Background reading
‘Scholes wasn’t even excited…’: Reliving the greatest Goal of the Month competition
Why Bielsa’s refusal to adapt has allowed big teams to dominate depleted Leeds
Azpilicueta wants to stay and fight for Chelsea place despite Barcelona interest

(Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images)
December 21, 2021 at 4:13 PM EST
Arsenal have come out bigger, better and stronger for the second half.

Eddie Nketiah has bagged a hat-trick as Arsenal lead 4-1. Not sure there is any way back for Sunderland now.



🔴 4-1 🟡 (58)#CarabaoCup
December 21, 2021 at 3:37 PM EST
It is half-time at the Emirates stadium!

Arsenal lead 2-1 but Sunderland have every chance of getting back into the game. Can Mikel Arteta's side hold out?
Arsenal lead Sunderland 2-1 at half-time but have been asked plenty of questions by the League One side.

Former #EFC academy star Nathan Broadhead pulled one back for #SAFC – Eddie Nketiah & Nicolas Pepe had put #AFC 2-0 up.

🎬 @SkyFootball
December 21, 2021 at 3:09 PM EST
It has been 17 minutes and hosts Arsenal have already found themselves a goal.

Eddie Nketiah with the goal.

🔴 1-0 🟡 (17)#CarabaoCup
December 21, 2021 at 2:37 PM EST
League One side Sunderland have travelled to London to take on Arsenal in the EFL Cup this evening.

Arsenal have made some minor changes but it is still a very strong side.

Sunderland also have a very strong side so it's sure to be an exciting game.
Lee Johnson's starting XI to take on @Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium 🔐 #SAFC I #CarabaoCup
December 21, 2021 at 2:15 PM EST
A shame Lokonga, Mari and Chambers who have tested positive for COVID-19. The trio would have likely featured in their EFL Cup game against Sunderland this evening if they were fit and available.

Hopefully they will be back early in the new year to add strength to Mikel Arteta's bench in a busy period where rotation is key.
🚨 Lokonga, Mari and Chambers all miss tonight's game after testing positive for COVID

Maitland-Niles misses tonight with illness (not COVID)

Get well soon, lads ♥️
December 21, 2021 at 1:42 PM EST
Leeds United have had a tough few days.

Marcelo Bielsa’s men have conceded 14 goals in their last three Premier League games, scoring three consolatory goals in that time.

The Athletic's Mark Carey has detailed Leeds' dip in form.
Why Bielsa’s refusal to adapt has allowed big teams to dominate depleted Leeds
December 21, 2021 at 1:18 PM EST
The president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Patrice Motsepe, has reiterated that next month’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) will go ahead as planned.

There has been much speculation about whether the tournament, which has already been delayed, will go ahead, due to the COVID-19 situation on the continent and domestic situation in host country Cameroon.

To read more, click here.
December 21, 2021 at 12:52 PM EST
Our Lord of the Games Iain Macintosh (a self-proclaimed title) has provided the lowdown on a game you might like — Retro Bowl.

It’s a cute NFL game from the makers of New Star Soccer (NSS) that feels endearingly like the early versions of John Madden on the Sega Megadrive. Like NSS, you don’t play the whole game. You don’t even do the defensive side of the game, you just pop in for the exciting bits.

Perhaps a fun game to try out when you're hiding from the family over Christmas.
If you like Football Manager, you might like… Retro Bowl
December 21, 2021 at 12:27 PM EST
Nuno Tavares and Takehiro Tomiyasu have added flair to the full-back roles at Arsenal.

Two-footed full-backs have been a blessing in disguise for Arsenal's recent success.

The Athletic's James McNicholas and John Muller have analysed key moments from both defenders this season.
Tomiyasu and Tavares: How two-footed full-backs have taught Arsenal new tricks
December 21, 2021 at 11:52 AM EST
Getting interest from Barcelona is enough to make almost any football player's head turn.

But Cesar Azpilicueta wants to stay and fight for Chelsea — the club he has featured for since 2012.

But if the Spanish international is to stay in London, Chelsea will need to offer him a new contract.
Azpilicueta wants to stay and fight for Chelsea place despite Barcelona interest
December 21, 2021 at 11:06 AM EST
Sad news for Scottish football fans who love to spend Boxing Day watching their beloved football team.

Football matches in Scotland will be “effectively spectator-free” for three weeks from Boxing Day, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister told MSPs in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday that crowds at outdoor public events in Scotland will be capped at 500 from Boxing Day for at least three weeks. To read more, click here.
December 21, 2021 at 10:43 AM EST
West Ham manager David Moyes has told the media that he received clarification from Premier League referees that Vladimir Coufal should not have been sent off against Arsenal.

His team should have also been awarded a penalty in their match against Burnley.

For the full story, click here.
December 21, 2021 at 10:15 AM EST
Tottenham Hotspur have “all” their COVID-19 cases recovered and available ahead of their Carabao Cup quarter-final against West Ham on Wednesday — but the club have been dealt a blow by an injury to Ryan Sessegnon.

Spurs have been impacted heavily by COVID-19, with two Premier League games and one Europa Conference League match postponed due to their outbreak.

Head coach Antonio Conte confirmed on Tuesday that all his players have now tested negative for the virus, however. To read more on Spurs' COVID-19 outbreak update, click here.
December 21, 2021 at 9:50 AM EST
The Athletic's Everton correspondent Paddy Boyland has the evidence.
The first section of the concrete super-structure of Everton’s new stadium is now up.

Another major milestone in project. Progress continues apace at Bramley-Moore
December 21, 2021 at 9:21 AM EST
Klopp was left without his first-choice midfield of Fabinho, Henderson, and Thiago for Sunday's 2-2 draw at Tottenham – but it sounds like one of them is on the mend.
Pep Lijnders: "Jordan is Jordan. He asked yesterday if he could train again."

Sounds like Jordan Henderson is on the mend. #LFC
December 21, 2021 at 8:59 AM EST
Chelsea play Brentford in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night.
Lewis Baker has tested positive for COVID – might have been in contention to play for #CFC on Wednesday night.
December 21, 2021 at 8:46 AM EST

Barnsley vs Stoke City
Cardiff City vs Coventry City
Reading vs Peterborough United

League Two

Bristol Rovers vs Sutton United
Bradford City vs Harrogate Town
Exeter City vs Swindon Town
Newport County vs Forest Green Rovers
Northampton Town vs Walsall

That isn't very Christmassy.
December 21, 2021 at 8:37 AM EST
Manchester United have said that fans attending Old Trafford will be required to demonstrate their COVID-19 status, starting from the club’s Premier League match against Burnley scheduled for Thursday December 30.

The government announced earlier this month that football fans in England must have COVID-19 passes to enter 10,000-seater stadiums or larger due to the increased spread of the Omicron variant of the virus.

The rule means that every Premier League stadium and a significant number in the EFL will require fans to show a COVID-19 pass.

United have not played at home since the rule was brought in, due to their match against Brighton & Hove Albion on December 18 being postponed because of a COVID-19 outbreak at the visiting side.
December 21, 2021 at 8:17 AM EST
Liverpool will not rush back the quartet of Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho, Thiago, and Curtis Jones for Wednesday’s Carabao Cup quarter-final against Leicester City.

All four are currently self-isolating after recording positive COVID-19 tests before Liverpool’s Premier League match against Newcastle on December 16.

Assistant manager Pep Lijnders said on Tuesday that the players will not be “rushed back” for the match.

Full story here.

(Photo: Getty Images)
December 21, 2021 at 7:57 AM EST
Real Madrid are facing a selection crisis ahead of their match against Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday, with manager Carlo Ancelotti uncertain over which formation to play at the San Mames.

The club has been struggling with an outbreak of COVID-19, with Marco Asensio, Gareth Bale, Andriy Lunin, Marcelo, Luka Modric and Rodrygo all testing positive for the virus last week.

Isco was the latest case confirmed by the club on Monday.

Ancelotti is also without the injured Dani Carvajal, while midfielder Casemiro is suspended after picking up five yellow cards in La Liga this season.

Ouch. This looks like their full squad below!
😁🧤 @thibautcourtois is enjoying this morning's run!#RMCity


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