Manchester City’s fixture with Everton at Goodison Park tonight has been postponed due to a covid outbreak in Pep Guardiola’s squad.
The Premier League and City confirmed the cancellation four hours before scheduled kick-off after ongoing talks between the clubs on Monday afternoon.
It is unclear how many City players have been affected, or how many other fixtures are at risk over the coming days, but the number infected has gone beyond four already reported.
In a club statement, City said: “After the latest round of Covid-19 testing, the club returned a number of positive cases, in addition to the four already reported on Christmas Day.
“With the security of the bubble compromised, there posed a risk that the virus could spread further amongst the squad, the staff and potentially beyond.
“Based on strong medical advice the Premier League, in consultation with both clubs, have decided to postpone the fixture.
“All positive cases involving players and staff will observe a period of self-isolation in accordance with Premier League and UK Government protocol on quarantine. The first team training ground at City Football Academy will close for an indeterminate period, with the squad and associated bubble undergoing testing before any decision is made for training to resume.
“Everyone at the Club wishes all of our colleagues a speedy recovery ahead of their return to work, training and competition.”
Like all clubs, City are in the midst of a hectic schedule. They are due to play Chelsea this weekend, and then a Carabao Cup semi-final against Manchester United prior to the FA Cup Third Round tie with Birmingham City. All those games must now be in doubt pending further test.
Everton went into tonight’s scheduled game with the chance to go level on points with Liverpool at the top of the Premier League.
It was also another opportunity to play in front of 2000 fans – a rare opportunity for many to see their side. It remains to be seen how long the city of Liverpool remains in tier 2 as the current rules are under ongoing review.
On the flipside, Carlo Ancelotti has injury issues of his own and may welcome the chance to rearrange the game to a date when stars such as James Rodriguez and Lucas Digne are available again.
An Everton statement read: “Following a Premier League Board Meeting this afternoon, Everton Football Club has been informed that tonight’s fixture against Manchester City has been postponed on medical grounds due to an increase in cases of COVID-19 in the Manchester City squad.
“Supporters who were successful in getting match tickets through the club’s ballot for the fixture are advised not to travel to the stadium.
“An alternative date and kick off time has yet to be decided.”
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