West Brom will visit Newcastle United for a much anticipated Premier League match which is the first match for Newcastle United since the club went on a coronavirus lockdown on November 28. West Brom coach, Slaven Bilic says his players are not scared of contracting coronavirus from Newcastle United when they meet on Saturday.
Recall that the last Premier League match Newcastle United played was against Crystal Palace on November 27, 2020. Newcastle United won the game 0-2 away from home.
A day after the Premier League match, Newcastle United reported multiple confirmed coronavirus cases. The club had to appeal to the league body that they were not able to train ahead of their match against Aston Villa and they were not having enough players to execute the match due to the outbreak of the virus at the club.
The Premier League accepted Newcastle’s appeal and postponed their match against Aston Villa scheduled for December 4 to a yet to be determined date.
After 13 days without training, Newcastle United announced on December 9 that they have reopened their Darsley Park training base. Afterward, it was confirmed that the league match between the club and West Brom scheduled for 16:00 on Saturday would go on as planned.
During the press briefing ahead of the match, West Brom manager, Slaven Bilic said he and his players are not worried about the past coronavirus situation of Newcastle United. The manager stressed that he believes in the judgment of the Premier League and Newcastle United that it is safe for both teams to play the league match.
Bilic went on to reveal that his team is not expecting to face a weak Newcastle United team despite the coronavirus outbreak at the club. He said West Brom have been preparing for the match like how they should.
“They opened their training ground and we knew we were going to play the game”, Bilic said on Thursday. “So it’s normal preparation. It looks positive, hopefully, we’re going to play it and that’s good news.
“It wasn’t us who was monitoring the situation at Newcastle, it was Newcastle and the Premier League, and they decided the situation improved a lot, positively. They told us the game is on, so we don’t have any doubts.
“I didn’t have any of the guys knocking on my door saying like they are worried because Newcastle has got several cases.
“This is serious football and the Premier League would not allow any sort of those things to happen – they wouldn’t risk the health of the players. And Newcastle wouldn’t do it.”
Newcastle United are currently occupying the 13th spot on the league table after recording 4 wins, 2 draws, and 4 defeats. They have garnered 14 points in 10 league games so far this season.
While West Brom are currently occupying the 19th spot on the league table after recording a win, 3 draws, and 7 defeats. They have garnered 6 points in 11 league games so far this season.
🗣 "It's pleasing to be back. The boys have worked hard and we're raring to go."— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) December 10, 2020
Matt Ritchie spoke with NUFC TV ahead of Saturday's visit of West Brom.