Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has urged authorities to let common sense and safety concerns dictate any decision-making regarding the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on football.
Much of he United Kingdom is once again under tough restrictions due to a second wave of COVID-19, and two Premier League games have been postponed this week.
One of those was Manchester City’s scheduled clash with Everton on Monday, though Pep Guardiola’s side have now been able to return to training after returning no more positive cases.
The Premier League have insisted the season will carry on despite reports of a possible “circuit breaker”, but Lampard has called for common sense to prevail.
“I’ve not been given the chances of it being postponed, I’m just aware of the situation and at the moment the game is on,” Lampard told reporter.
“It seems to me the situation is we go game by game in terms of the games being called off due to positives around that game itself. I understand that, let’s just see how it goes as it is uncertain times.
“Safety and security is paramount, as opposed to keeping the nation’s spirits up. It might not be a nice thing to say but these are tough times for everybody. We enjoy watching our football, but safety and health have to come first.”
Five of City’s players – including Gabriel Jesus and Kyle Walker – have contracted the virus and will miss out against Chelsea on Sunday.
“It was four people, two players, the first time and then three more,” Guardiola said. “I don’t think the Premier League allows us to name the players but you will know (on Sunday).
“Unfortunately, the problem is still here but now the training centre is disinfected and hopefully the next tests everyone is negative and the people that are positive can come back without problems.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Chelsea – Olivier Giroud
Giroud’s 89 Premier League goals have been headers (32 of 89), including last time out versus Aston Villa – the Frenchman has scored more headed goals in the competition than any other player since his debut in August 2012 (32).
Manchester City – Kevin De Bruyne
De Bruyne scored home and away against Chelsea in the Premier League last season – the last City player to score in three consecutive league games against Chelsea was Carlos Tevez (2009-2010).
KEY OPTA FACTS
•Chelsea have won their last two Premier League home games against City, last winning more consecutively against them at Stamford Bridge between 2006-2009 (four).
•City have only failed to score in one of their last 12 Premier League meetings with Chelsea (0-2 in December 2018), with the Citizens also keeping five clean sheets in this run.
•None of the last 10 Premier League meetings between Chelsea (four wins) and Man City (six wins) have finished level, with the home side winning each of the last five in the competition.
•Lampard has averaged 1.70 points per game as Chelsea manager, the same record as André Villas-Boas at the club in the Premier League. Of all Chelsea managers to have taken charge of 20+ Premier League games, only Glenn Hoddle (1.27), Ian Porterfield (1.28) and Ruud Gullit (1.65) have a lower such ratio for the Blues.
•City forward Sergio Aguero has scored 10 goals in his last nine appearances against Chelsea in all competitions, netting hat-tricks in this run in both April 2016 and February 2019.