Storm Ciara claimed a high-profile Premier League clash as Manchester City’s clash with West Ham United was called off on Sunday 9th February. The match against the Hammers will now be played on 19th February, kicking off at 7:30pm at the Etihad Stadium.
Why was the game called off?
According to a club statement, the game was postponed due to fears over “escalating weather conditions and in the interests of supporter and staff safety”. The decision was made shortly after 11am, more than five hours before kick-off. Parts of the UK were battered by winds up to 70 mph and heavy rain throughout Sunday.
Modern football pitches often drain extremely quickly and effectively. However, the concern was relating to those attending the Etihad Stadium. The conditions around the ground could have been dangerous for supporters trying to reach the game. There was flooding on motorways including the M62 and Manchester’s tram network experienced problems which would hamper supporters making their way to the match.
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When will the match be rescheduled?
The original statement explained, “Further information regarding the rescheduling of today’s match will be published in due course.” Since then, it has been confirmed that the match will be replayed on Wednesday 19th February, 10 days later than originally scheduled. The game will kick off at 19:30 GMT.
Because the Champions League last-16 ties are staggered, it means only half the teams involved are in action during each midweek. For example, Manchester City’s first meeting with Real Madrid isn’t scheduled until 26th February. As a result, the midweek date of 19th February is available and was chosen.
Uefa are unlikely to be happy with the decision. In the instance of domestic top-flight games needing to be played on the same day as a Champions League match, this has usually been scheduled so they finish 15 minutes before any European ties kick-off. However, this is not the case in this instance.
West Ham have Premier League survival as their sole objective for the remainder of the season. Pep Guardiola’s side though, are competing on multiple fronts.
Why couldn't Manchester City vs West Ham be replayed before the winter break finishes?
At first glance, rescheduling the fixture for the weekend of the 15th-16th February would have made some sense. With the Premier League currently in the process of a winter break, allowing all teams some downtime, neither team are scheduled to play again until the following week.
However, this was overlooked based on the Premier League’s instructions to clubs once this break was put into place. The guidance explains “Clubs should not arrange competitive or friendly matches with other clubs during the Mid-Season Player Break.”
It’s understandable to see this kind of statement being included. In recent years many Premier League sides have undertaken extensive pre or post-season tours. A minimum of 10 days without a break could be a tempting opportunity for clubs to arrange high-profile clashes elsewhere in the world.
Manchester City’s hectic schedule
Although Manchester City look set to lose their Premier League crown to Liverpool, they will be keen to secure a top-four finish, ideally second behind the Reds. There’s a Carabao Cup final on the horizon against Aston Villa on March 1st. Because of this, the league game against Arsenal at the Etihad has already had to be postponed to accommodate the trip to Wembley.
City will also be back in Champions League action against Real Madrid before the end of the month. The FA Cup could also figure in any potential dates for the rescheduled Premier League clash between the pair. Guardiola’s men will take on Sheffield Wednesday in the next round.
|19/02/2020||West Ham (H)||Premier League|
|22/02/2020||Leicester City (A)||Premier League|
|26/02/2020||Real Madrid (A)||Champions League|
|01/03/2020||Aston Villa (N)||Carabao Cup Final|
|04/03/2020||Sheffield Wednesday (A)||FA Cup|
|08/03/2020||Manchester United (A)||Premier League|
|14/03/2020||Burnley (H)||Premier League|
|17/03/2020||Real Madrid (H)||Champions League|
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