The postponement of Manchester United’s trip to London to face Brentford from this evening to a future date was confirmed by the Premier League late last night following the recommendation of medical advisors.
The postponement was announced at around midnight after a Covid-19 outbreak among United players and staff was reported to the Premier League.
In addition to the un-reported number of players who have been required to self-isolate, the Red Devils’ preparation for the game was further hampered by the fact that their first team training facilities at Carrington were compromised on Sunday and closed on Monday due to the outbreak.
A club statement reads:
‘Manchester United can confirm that our Premier League fixture at Brentford FC, on Tuesday 14 December at 19:30, has been postponed and will be rescheduled in due course.
‘Following PCR confirmation of positive LFT Covid-19 tests among the first-team staff and players, the outbreak requires ongoing surveillance.
‘Given cancellation of training and disruption to the squad, and with the health of players and staff the priority, the Club requested the match to be rearranged. The Premier League Board took the decision to postpone based on guidance from medical advisors.
‘Manchester United regrets the inconvenience caused to Brentford FC and to the fans of both clubs by Covid-19.’
Football takes second place to the health and safety of everyone involved in the game and it is of course hoped that whoever at the club who has tested positive recovers quickly and fully.
In terms of the footballing effects, the postponement might not be the worst timing for United.
It comes in the middle of an extremely congested period of fixtures for United and one in which several players are either not fully fit, such as Edinson Cavani and Luke Shaw, or missing completely due to injury such as Raphael Varane and Paul Pogba.
Postponement to a later date will also mean that interim manager Ralf Rangnick will have had more time to work with the players and instil his philosophy and system into them more thoroughly.
It may even be that United will have strengthened their squad in the January window in time for the rearranged tie.
And finally, now was arguably not the best time to face a rampant Brentford side who have defied expectations of relegation and are lying 10th in the Premier League. Thomas Frank’s side are full of confidence off the back of a run that has seen them lose only one of their last five Premier League games.
Of course, there is nothing to say that the Bees will not be in better form still when the fixture is rearranged, but it feels more likely that the bubble may have burst by then.