The Premier League announced on Thursday evening that four further matches this weekend have been postponed.
Southampton v Brentford, Watford v Crystal Palace and West Ham v Norwich on Saturday have all been called off, plus Everton v Leicester on Sunday.
Alongside the earlier decision to postpone Manchester United v Brighton, it means five of the 10 matches scheduled for the weekend have been scratched from the schedule.
However, the Premier League is still resisting a complete suspension of the weekend programme and said in a statement: “All other fixtures due to be played this weekend are currently scheduled to proceed as planned.”
Manchester United have now had two matches postponed this week after their midweek trip to Brentford was also called off.
“The health of players and staff is our priority,” read a statement on United’s website.
“Given the number of players and support staff having to isolate due to Covid-19, the club had no option other than to request the match be rearranged.”
Training operations at the club’s Carrington training complex have been suspended for “a short period” to help reduce the risk of further transmission.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 16, 2021
The PA news agency understands United boss Ralf Rangnick had just nine first-team players available for Tuesday’s appointment with the Bees because of Covid isolation and injury.
That figure had reduced to seven ahead of the scheduled weekend clash with the Seagulls, who have also been dealing with positive tests within their squad. Head coach Graham Potter has revealed he asked for Wednesday’s match against Wolves to be postponed.
After the 1-0 defeat to Bruno Lage’s side, Potter said: “We asked the question, yes, because of our situation.
“You haven’t really got time to be disappointed (by the decision). It’s about preparing the team, preparing for the game.”
Speaking of the apparent lack of consistency in decision-making, he continued: “You obviously have to think everyone is doing things in the best intentions.
“I think the path we’re on, I’m not sure how long we can stay on it for.
“We all want football to continue, want life to continue as best as we can but clearly health is the most important thing.”