Manchester City have confirmed that five players from their first team have contracted COVID-19 and are self-isolating for 10 days, as they will miss City’s trip to Chelsea on Sunday (watch live, 11:30am ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
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Speaking to the media ahead of that huge clash at Stamford Bridge, Pep Guardiola confirmed that three more Manchester City players will be unavailable after Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 25.
After those positive cases were found among two players and two staff members, Man City’s squad were tested and the decision was made that their game at Everton on Dec. 28 would be postponed out of caution.
“Five right now. Five players are isolating for 10 days and some of them, the first cases that were released, it was four people – two players – and three more the second time. I don’t think the Premier League allow us to name the players but you will know tomorrow,” Guardiola said.
Reports state that Joao Cancelo and Ferran Torres have also tested positive, while Man City goalkeeper Ederson seems to have confirmed on his Instagram stories that he is currently self-isolating.
What does this mean for Chelsea – Man City?
This game will go ahead, as Guardiola and the rest of his players and staff have tested negative and they have returned to training and have the outbreak under control.
As for the players missing, if it is Walker, Jesus, Torres, Ederson and Cancelo, they will be missing multiple right backs, a striker, goalkeeper and attacking midfielder.
The Premier League guidance for games in the 2020-21 season is that games will take place if teams can list a squad of 14 players. Man City will be able to do that on Sunday, and it appears that USMNT goalkeeper Zack Steffen is set to start for City in what will be the biggest club game of his career so far.
As for the future as COVID-19 cases surge in England due to the new strain of the virus, the Premier League is adamant that the season will continue and there will be no pause in play for a two week period as had been previously reported.
With just three games postponed so far this season, testing regimes are being stepped up across all 20 clubs as extreme measures are being taken to avoid any further disruption.