Carabao Cup No Return Leg Matches for the Semi-finals

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The new Covid-19 variant, Omicron, is wreaking havoc with the football calendar, and the quarter-finals of the knockout competition are scheduled to be held next week.

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However, with the number of positive results skyrocketing, plans are already underway to ensure the Carabao Cup can be completed.

The Telegraph has claimed that a repeat of the drastic measures taken last season, when the one-legged ties were introduced, is being weighed up.

Arsenal will host Championship outfit Sunderland in the first final-eight fixture on Tuesday, December 22 – before the other three matches take place a day later.

Any potential postponements to the quarter-final match-ups would have a dramatic knock-on effect on the semi-finals, which may not be played as scheduled on the week commencing January 3.

This would trigger the EFL to either push back any of the semi-final ties for the next week – when the second legs are pencilled in – and then find a new date in the schedule for the return legs, or switch to one-legged clashes instead.

Currently, it is the latter option that looks set to cause the least disruption.

On Wednesday, Brentford will play Chelsea – but Thomas Frank’s side has been struck by a large Covid outbreak. A postponement to this tie, which is now under threat, would throw the Blues’ already crammed calendar into disarray.

Indeed, Chelsea will take part in the Club World Cup next February, and any delays to their Carabao Cup showdowns would spark an even bigger pile-up.

And Tottenham is also threatened by the latest in Covid cases ahead of their match against West Ham.

Their last three fixtures were postponed due to a host of positive results in Antonio Conte’s squad, causing a major headache over when they will be rearranged.

For now, Spurs remain in the Europa Conference League, but should the club find themselves thrown out of the tournament after failing to fulfill their game against Rennes, this would free up ample time in their mid-week slots.

This season’s winter break, which will take place at the end of January, could be used for teams to play their affected games, although World Cup qualifiers are taking place across the globe during that period, apart from Europe.

Last season, the Carabao Cup was affected by football being thrown behind closed doors – with the final pushed back from February to April to allow supporters to attend at Wembley.

This time around, the final is scheduled for Sunday, February 27.

Premier League clubs are set to meet on Monday to hold talks over the coronavirus crisis, with a potential pause to the season expected to be on the agenda.

However, The Telegraph has added that they are poised to resist calls for a firebreak due to a belief that this would cause more problems than it solves.

 

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