It is hard to feel positive when five out of six games did not happen in the FA WSL and two out of five in the Championship were postponed mostly due to Covid-19.
The majority of the games postponed are linked to the now infamous Dubaigate i.e. FA WSL and FAWC players, double figures according to Molly Hudson from the Times, went on a jolly to Dubai, legally and/or illegally, for some, and came back infected with the disease.
The one game that was pulled out but actually not postponed was Spurs v Birmingham, because the Blues couldn’t play due to a shortage of players with injuries as well as a Covid-19 case. The game will go to an independent tribunal that can give the points to Spurs, fine Birmingham and also deduct points, as well.
This would hurt the Blues because, depending on how many points they lose, they could come back closer to the relegation battle. Right now, they are very safe, seven points ahead of Bristol with games in hand. Any points deduction will artificially open the relegation battle a little more, unless it is only one to three points.
The other four FA WSL games were postponed due to Covid-19 cases and teams not being able to have 14 players available. Unlike Bristol, who were forced to bring their Academy players last time round and were hammered by Manchester City, the teams could not bring their youngsters in as they are not part of the Covid-19 bubble.
It is quite obvious that the health and safety of the players and staff is the primary concern as Covid-19 is a lethal disease with 100,000+ deaths in the UK alone. Therefore, postponing the games make sense. It does create huge problems, though, with the fixtures list always busy between January and May due to international games, Champions League and Cup games.
Now, we saw earlier in the season some games were postponed due to Covid-19 related problems, while two actually went to the independent tribunal with London City Lionesses and Brighton found guilty of not fulfilling their fixtures due to Covid-19 cases.
Why did the teams with Dubaigate players given the right to postpone while Birmingham are likely to get punished is the big question, especially Everton as their circumstances look quite similar to Blues.
Birmingham’s lack of investment from the owners means they have a very small squad and this is the main reason why they can’t play as the rule of 14 only applies to Covid-19 cases.
The fact that rules are not published does not reflect well at all on the FA. Especially when two managers asked for clarification. UEFA and FIFA publish their competition rules well in advance and when they do special adjustments due to Covid-19, they are well publicised and published straightaway. Not with the FA, everything is done behind closed doors, away from public eyes.
Five months into the competition and the rules are still hidden, it is just a joke.
On the football side, Chelsea won 5-0 away at Reading with a Fran Kirby poker. They overtake Arsenal to go second, three points behind United with a game against Villa in hand and a better goal difference.
Arsenal drop to the third place four points behind United, therefore not in the title race at the moment. And the Gunners have to look over their shoulder as City trail them by four points but have a game in hand.
Third place is a must as it qualifies for the Champions League. Finishing fourth or below would generate an earthquake and we could see high profile departures among the staff and players if that happens.
Right now, let’s just hope that all the players infected by the virus recover with no long term effects as we have seen with the Newcastle men’s team players how damaging the disease is, even for elite athletes.