Leeds United’s Premier League clash with Aston Villa in doubt as COVID-19 hits Steven Gerrard’s squad

There is a chance that Leeds United’s home game against Aston Villa could be postponed as several Villa players are isolating after testing positive for coronavirus on Saturday.

By Flora Snelson
Sunday, 19th December 2021, 4:25 pm
Updated Sunday, 19th December 2021, 4:26 pm

The Whites are due to host Aston Villa for a 5.30pm kick-off on Tuesday December 28 but, following the emergence of a number of COVID cases in the Villa squad, Leeds’ next home game could be in doubt.

Villa boss Steven Gerrard confirmed that his side were already struggling with absentees due to COVID after Villa beat Norwich City 2-0 on Tuesday before a series of positive PCR results received on Saturday morning forced the Birmingham side to postpone their Premier League clash with Burnley at just two hours’ notice.

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In a club statement on Saturday, Villa revealed that “the results of PCR tests, which were taken yesterday prior to training as well as Lateral Flow Tests, were received this morning and confirmed further depletion of our playing squad which was already impacted upon for our trip to Norwich in midweek.

“All individuals who tested positive are now isolating in line with Premier League and government guidance and protocols.”

The government asks that those who have tested positive for coronavirus remain in isolation for the ten days which follow the day on which you first experienced symptoms, or you receive a positive test result, if your infection is asymptomatic.

The Villa players who received positive results on Saturday December 18 would be required to remain in isolation until 11.59pm on Tuesday 28th, six hours after their team are due to kick off against the Whites, though they could be released from isolation earlier if their symptoms preceded the receipt of a positive PCR result.

Elland Road under the lights ahead of kick-off against Arsenal on Saturday. Pic: Bruce Rollinson.

Six Premier League games have been postponed this weekend due to coronavirus infections, and the league are continuing to assess requests for fixture cancellations on a case-by-case basis, though they have advised clubs that permission to be postponed will be refused if 14 or more players are available.

Leeds’ 4-1 defeat to Arsenal was the only top-flight fixture to go ahead on Saturday, when COVID infections caused severe disruption across the Premier League.

While the Premier League reported in October that 69% of players across the league were fully vaccinated, Leeds United chief executive Angus Kinnear revealed in a column for the Sunday Times this weekend that there has been a near-universal take-up of the coronavirus vaccine at Elland Road.

"At Leeds United, the players' leadership group decided that vaccinations would be a pillar of their solidarity to teammates and staff, as well as a civic responsibility,” Kinnear wrote.

Aston Villa head coach Steven Gerrard. Pic: Justin Setterfield.

"This has resulted in 99 per cent of our playing and backroom team being fully vaccinated, which was the critical difference in yesterday's match going ahead.

"While everyone I have encountered in the game believes in the sanctity of vaccination being a personal and free choice, it seems inevitable that players who decline a vaccine and are unable to ply their trade effectively, will begin to face broader and more punitive consequences - as are being felt across the rest of society."

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Leeds United chief executive Angus Kinnear. Pic: Tony Johnson.