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English football facing Covid crisis as Man City hit by coronavirus outbreak

League clash with Chelsea and United semi-final under threat, plus seven League One clashes off

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Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus (left) with team-mate Kyle Walker. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus (left) with team-mate Kyle Walker. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus (left) with team-mate Kyle Walker. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Manchester City's Premier League clash against Chelsea and League Cup semi-final against Manchester United are under threat after a worsening coronavirus outbreak at the club forced the postponement of their game against Everton last night.

City had been due to take on Everton at Goodison Park at 8pm but the match was postponed on medical grounds just four hours before kick-off after three more members of Pep Guardiola's squad tested positive for Covid-19.

The club announced on Christmas Day that Gabriel Jesus, Kyle Walker and two staff members had contracted the virus but, after the squad were tested again on Sunday, three more positive tests were confirmed. The trio - who it is thought have yet to show any symptoms - will have to self-isolate for at least 10 days.

City fear their squad could have been exposed to the highly contagious new variant of the virus, which has become particularly prevalent in London and the south-east of England, following the trip to face Arsenal last Tuesday.

City's training ground has been closed indefinitely and was undergoing a deep clean yesterday. Guardiola's squad will be tested again today to see if there has been a further spread of the virus amid fears next Sunday's league game awway to Chelsea could also be compromised. Three days later, City are due to face United at Old Trafford in their League Cup semi-final.

After today's tests, City are likely to conduct a further two rounds of testing before the Chelsea game but the prospect of another postponement would present huge logistical headaches.

City already had their home league fixture against Aston Villa - which was postponed due to the Manchester club's delayed start to the season - to reschedule before the postponement of the Everton match. The prospect of a third league postponement would raise serious concerns about when City will be able to play the games.

Adding to the growing worries was last night's news that Arsenal's Brazilian defender Gabriel has tested positive for Covid. Seven League One matches due to be played today, plus Millwall's home clash with Watford in the Championship, have also been called off. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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