Javi Mata has reported on Twitter that nearly Qarabag’s entire team has COVID-19 and that it has put their match day six contest with Villarreal in jeopardy. Qarabag is requesting that the match be postponed but it is within the purview of UEFA to cancel the match in its entirety.
Desde Turquia s’apunta que hi han molts contagiats de Covid al Qarabag (aseguren que quasi tot l’equip) per el que demanarien ajornar el partit e inclús el podrien cancel·lar de forma definitiva ( decideix la UEFA) Vorem com evoluciona el tema.— Javi Mata (@javimatagil) December 8, 2020
The results from matchday 5 really make cancelation a possibility. Qarabag sits on one point, they cannot qualify for the knockouts no matter what happens. Neither Maccabi nor Sivasspor can catch Villarreal who sits on 13 points, so no matter what happens in the matchup between 2nd and 3rd the result of the Qarabag vs Villarreal matchup does not matter.
In normal circumstances, you would still want to have the match played because of matchday revenue considerations, but with no fans allowed in the stands that isn’t a loss to be considered either. I certainly hope all of Qarabag’s players get well soon, but I would not be surprised if they decided it was better for their side to not make a meaningless trip out to Spain to play that match. Conversely, from a Villarreal perspective I would not want to risk our first team players in a match that had no bearing on anything, so even if it was played I would expect Emery to rotate as much as possible.
Right now, Villarreal just needs to get healthy. The fewer extraneous matches we have to play, the better. With the Copa Del Rey getting ready to start, I don’t want to delay a Europa match that won’t impact anything. Either have Qarabag send an non-infected B team or just cancel the match.