Patrick Vieira has revealed Crystal Palace will no longer have a Christmas party due to the escalating coronavirus situation in the country.
The Government announced on Wednesday it had implemented ‘Plan B’ in response to the spread of the Omicron variant, which means proof of Covid-19 vaccination or a negative lateral flow test will be required for spectators to attend sporting events in England with crowds of over 10,000.
Vieira, who revealed he is double vaccinated ahead of the Super Sunday game with Everton, live on Sky Sports, remembers celebrating during the festive period as a player but revealed a joint decision had been made to scrap such plans for his squad at this time of year.
“This is part of the culture of this country, this Christmas party the players are doing,” he said.
“We did it a couple of years ago and this is something players like to do but obviously with the situation, we and the players decided to cancel the Christmas party and this was the right thing to do.”
Palace’s Premier League rivals Tottenham are in the middle of a Covid-19 crisis with an outbreak at the north London club forcing them to postpone matches with Rennes and Brighton this week.
Eagles boss Vieira is happy with the protocols in place at Selhurst Park but continues to stress to his squad the importance of what they do outside of training.
He added: “I am just like everybody else. We are all worried about the increase of positive cases, not just in football but in our society.
“Everywhere else the cases are getting more and more. If outside the cases are more, obviously it will be more in football clubs.
“We just have to be careful and hopefully everyone will pay a bit more attention over how we socialise from outside of the training facility.”
Vieira declined to comment on how many of his squad have received both doses of the coronavirus vaccination when quizzed on the fact NHS Covid passes will be required for people to attend large sporting events, although a negative lateral flow test will also be sufficient.
He did reveal he “strongly” believed in the vaccine which has been a topic of debate in football during recent months regarding how many players are vaccinated amid speculation conspiracy theories had influenced their decisions.
“It is not my place to say what has to be mandatory or not,” Vieira insisted.
“We are like everybody outside following a process by the Government’s rules and we all in this football club will follow those rules.
“There is some specialist who will have to say if it is mandatory or not to have the vaccine or these kind of passes you need to go into the stadium.
“The only thing I can tell you is myself I have the double vaccination and I strongly believe we need to have it but everyone has to make their own decision on that side.”
Jack Butland, Luka Milivojevic, Jordan Ayew and Wilfried Zaha all tested positive for Covid-19 last season.
How to follow Crystal Palace vs Everton
Crystal Palace vs Everton is live on Sky Sports Premier League from 4pm; kick-off 4.30pm. Sky Sports customers can watch in-game clips in the live match blog on the Sky Sports website and app. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.
Crystal Palace have lost their last three Premier League games, all coinciding with the absence of central defender Joachim Andersen, whose ability to push up the pitch makes it easier for Palace to control games. They haven’t had much luck putting away lower-ranked teams this season either, failing to win in five games against teams in the bottom half. When you factor in those two variables, I’d be against them in this one at 5/4 with Sky Bet.
Everton are also unbeaten in the last 13 Premier League meetings between the teams and put in a proper performance for their manager in the win over Arsenal. They’ll be just fine when Dominic Calvert-Lewin returns.
One angle to focus on is the game sparking to life in the second half. Both these teams are notorious slow-starters with a patient, no-thrills approach in the opening knockings of a match. Of the 38 goals scored by these two clubs this season, 73 per cent of those have come in the second half. That makes the 11/10 with Sky Bet on the second half being the highest scoring half very appealing. It’s a bet that would have copped in seven of Palace’s last nine fixtures.
SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1
BETTING ANGLE: Second half to have most goals (11/10 with Sky Bet)
- Following a seven-game unbeaten run, Crystal Palace have lost their last three Premier League games. They last lost more consecutively in June/July 2020 (7).
- Everton are winless in five away Premier League matches (D1 L4), their worst run since an eight-game stretch between April and October 2019. The Toffees have also conceded first in each of their current five-game winless run on the road.
- Everton have won more points from losing positions than any other side in the Premier League in 2021-22 (10), making up 56% of their total (10/18). In Premier League history, only Wolves in 2011-12 (60%, 15/25) and West Brom in 2010-11 (57%, 27/47) have won a higher share of their total points from losing positions in a single season.
- Only Wolves (4) have scored fewer first-half goals in the Premier League this season than Crystal Palace (5), while only Aston Villa (24%) have netted a lower share before the interval than the Eagles (26%).
- All four of Wilfried Zaha’s Premier League goals for Crystal Palace this season have been the opening goal of the game, with three of those ending up being the game’s winning strike. The Ivorian has scored just once in his 11 Premier League games against Everton, and has never been on the winning side against the Toffees.