(Update 1: Adds Kyle Walker, Gabriel Jesus testing positive for Covid.)
London, Dec 25 (efe-epa).- The traditional stadium atmosphere associated with Boxing Day football in the Premier League, with fans turning up dressed in Christmas jumpers and youngsters in the latest shirts delivered by Santa Claus, will be few and far between this year as the majority of supporters having to watch from home due to Covid-19.
The children who would have otherwise walked to their local team’s ground on Boxing Day will instead have to curl up and watch from the sofa, given that the majority of Premier League matches will go ahead behind closed doors, while a select few will be able to host 2,000 fans.
All the games in London, which is in maximum tier four of the UK’s coronavirus alert system, will be played without fans.
There will be no fans in tier three areas either, which affects home games for Leicester City, Aston Villa, Manchester City, Sheffield United, Wolverhampton and Leeds United.
Liverpool is in tier two, which means 2,000 fans will be granted access to Anfield should the Covid-19 situation hold steady.
Six games are lined up for Saturday, including the Arsenal vs. Chelsea London derby, and four for Sunday.
The clash between Mikel Arteta and Frank Lampard’s sides is an attractive encounter given the tricky situation Arsenal find themselves in, only five points above the relegation zone. The team has gone without a win since 1 November and was recently eliminated from the League Cup.
For the Gunners, the game against Chelsea will either represent another blow to Arteta’s waning standing at the club or a launchpad for a turnaround.
Arsenal captain Pierre-Emeric Aubameyang could be doubtful for the game, due to a calf injury, but should he recover in time, the forward would give Arsenal a much-needed boost in confidence to take on Chelsea.