It’s never too early! Arsenal and West Ham stars report for training early on Christmas morning as top-four challengers put the final touches on their preparations for Boxing Day games
- Arsenal and West Ham players reported for Christmas Day training on Saturday
- Both sets of players got up early to put the last touches on their Boxing Day plans
- Norwich have been dealt a blow as Tim Krul has tested positive for Covid again
Arsenal and West Ham players reported to training early on Christmas Day morning as they step up their Premier League preparations for their Boxing Day matches.
Gunners defender Rob Holding took a video of him and fellow centre-back Pablo Mari reporting for Arsenal training on Saturday morning, as Mikel Arteta’s side plan to take on Norwich on Boxing Day.
At the other end of London, West Ham stars Declan Rice, Said Benrahma and Arthur Masuaku posed for a Christmas Day snap before training as David Moyes puts the final touches before the Hammers host Southampton on Sunday.
West Ham players have reported for Premier League training duty on Christmas morning (pictured left to right: Arthur Masuaku, Delcan Rice and Said Benrahma)
Arsenal defenders Rob Holding and Pablo Mari also reported for duty on Saturday morning
Both the Gunners and West Ham are vying for a place in the Premier League’s top four – with the two teams sitting in fourth and fifth place in the table respectively.
As of Saturday afternoon, six top-flight games are set to go ahead on Boxing Day after an outbreak of the Omicron variant of coronavirus caused three games to be postponed.
Liverpool’s tie with Leeds, Burnley’s trip to Everton and Watford’s clash with Wolves have all been postponed after outbreaks in various clubs.
As well as the six games going ahead on Sunday, Newcastle are due to host Manchester United on December 27, subject to any further Covid postponements.
Norwich goalkeeper Tim Krul has announced he has tested positive for Covid for a second time
Norwich – Arsenal’s opponents on Sunday – have been dealt a blow as goalkeeper Tim Krul announced on Christmas Day he has tested positive for coronavirus for the second time.
The Dutch shot stopper tested positive for the virus in January of this year, but now has a second diagnosis nearly 12 months after his first.
The 33-year-old tweeted on Saturday: ‘Merry Christmas.. I have tested positive for Covid again.
‘Hopefully 2022 will bring better times for everyone. Stay safe and healthy. Love from the Krul family.’
Dean Smith has spoken about the ‘lunacy’ of playing twice in 48 hours in this Covid climate
Earlier this week, Norwich boss Dean Smith described the decision for the Premier League to carry on amid outbreaks caused by the Omicron variant as ‘lunacy’ – as top-flight sides prepare to play twice in 48 hours between Sunday and December 28.
‘We have some fresh cases, but we have got others coming back. We are not sure how many will miss Boxing Day,’ Smith said.
‘We are having to push rehab forward and people are breaking down in rehab because of that, it is asking massive questions of everybody’s squads at the moment.
‘It is lunacy that we are having to play two games in 48 hours. There has got to be a question about the integrity of the competition when teams are playing weakened teams against other teams and it is affecting league positions.’
PREMIER LEAGUE BOXING DAY SCHEDULE
Liverpool P-P Leeds
Wolves P-P Watford
Burnley P-P Everton
Manchester City vs Leicester
Norwich vs Arsenal
Tottenham vs Crystal Palace
West Ham vs Southampton
Aston Villa vs Chelsea (5.30pm GMT)
Brighton vs Brentford (8.00pm GMT)
Newcastle vs Manchester United (December 27, 8pm GMT)
All games 3pm kick-offs GMT unless stated