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Portsmouth players test positive for coronavirus

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Four players from English side Portsmouth have tested positive for coronavirus, Pompey have announced.

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The entire Pompey squad and staff were tested after their FA Cup last 16 defeat at home to Arsenal on March 2, as Arsenal’s manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for coronavirus 10 days later and the entire Gunners playing squad and staff were placed into self-isolation.

In a statement released by the League One club they confirmed James Bolton, Andy Cannon, Sean Raggett and Haji Mnoga have coronavirus.

“They are all self-isolating in accordance with government guidelines and will continue to follow medical advice. The club have also notified Public Health England. All players and first team staff were tested earlier in the week and we are still awaiting approximately half of the results of these tests.

“Chief executive Mark Catlin said: ‘I received the news last night and immediately spoke to Kenny [Jackett] and head physio Bobby Bacic. Kenny and I then spoke to all three players. Football is not immune from this virus and I can assure you that it only really hits home when those that you know contract it. All three players were in good spirits and perfectly calm – showing mild or no symptoms – and are looking forward to overcoming it as quickly as possible.’

Bolton, Cannon and Raggett were in the squad to play against Arsenal in the FA Cup but there is no suggestion that that is when they caught the virus. The same trip have all played in Portsmouth’s two league games since their defeat against Arsenal, as they lost at Peterborough and drew with Fleetwood Town at home.

Portsmouth are the latest team to be hit by the spread of coronavirus as Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi has tested positive, plus multiple players from Alaves in Spain, plus Sampdoria and Juventus in Italy have also tested positive for COVID-19.

Solskjaer on Ighalo, Rooney, Man Utd win: ‘Everyone loves Wayne’

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Manchester United will look to stretch its unbeaten run to 10 matches when it hosts Manchester City in what should be a scintillating derby on Sunday.

The Red Devils hit nine matches on Thursday when they eliminated old pal Wayne Rooney and Derby County from the FA Cup with a 3-0 win at Pride Park.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was thrilled with the performances of striker Odion Ighalo and rare goal scorer  Luke Shaw in the win.

For Ighalo, it’s three goals in two starts for United after a trio of goal-free substitute appearances. Here’s Solskjaer, via the BBC:

“When you get strikers in you want them to be happy and confident. He has come in here and of course we still have a few injuries and it is great for us to have Odion to call upon. He is a different striker for us and scores some good goals, there is not many who could dig that one out for his first. We have a team of good players.”

The striker says he’s feeling good around Old Trafford, and isn’t bothered by any odd thoughts regarding his return to the Premier League from the Chinese Super League.

“As long as my team-mates believe in me, the boss believes in me and the fans believe in me, just have to keep going. I don’t care what anyone says.”

Rooney nearly got on the score sheet with a technical marvel of a free kick in stoppage time, but Sergio Romero made an even better play to slap the ball over the bar.

Solskjaer and Rooney were teammates at Old Trafford for a few seasons, and there’s mutual appreciation.

“Everyone loves Wayne, all the supporters at Manchester United appreciate what he did,” Solskjaer said. “He played well. He shows class and sometimes he has too much time on the ball for my liking.”

Rooney was quite good on the day. The Derby County captain completed 11 of 15 long balls while connecting on 88 percent of his passes. He had five key passes, an interception, a blocked shot, two tackles, and a clearance (via Sofascore).

Ighalo leads Man Utd past Derby County

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Manchester United dealt with old pal Wayne Rooney and Derby County to reach the FA Cup quarterfinals.

Odion Ighalo scored in each half after Luke Shaw opened the scoring to lead the Red Devils past the Rams 3-0 at Pride Park on Thursday.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Rooney put on a decent display in a losing effort. The Derby County captain completed 11 of 15 long balls while connecting on 88 percent of his passes. He had five key passes, an interception, a blocked shot, two tackles, and a clearance (via Sofascore).

Sergio Romero denied Rooney a wonderful stoppage-time free kick goal when he flew right to slap a ball over the bar.

Shaw’s goal was a bounding effort from the left side of the box in the 33rd minute.

It’s his first since opening day of the 2018/19 Premier League season, and just his second in 151 senior appearances between Southampton and Manchester United.

Ighalo has scored in both of his starts for United this season since arriving from the Chinese Super League, and his first goal was especially deft (see below). The 30-year-old maneuvered between two defenders and finished well. He deposited his own rebound after a Juan Mata pass in the 70 minute to make it 3-0.

United will visit Norwich City in the quarterfinals, which is comprised entirely of Premier League combatants.

[ MORE: FA Cup Draw ]

FOLLOW LIVE, FA Cup: Man United v. Rooney, Derby County

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One final place in the FA Cup quarterfinals is up for grabs on Thursday, but that will be almost a secondary storyline to the fact that Wayne Rooney and Derby County are set to face Manchester United.

[ LIVE: Follow Derby v. Man United here ]

Man United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made six changes to the team that drew 1-1 at Goodison Park last weekend, with star midfielder Bruno Fernandes highlights the starting lineup alongside Jesse Lingard and Odion Ighalo.

Rooney starts for the Rams, who have deployed Man United’s all-time leading scorer in a number of different positions and roles during his first two months at the club. Expect him to play both midfield and center forward at some point.

FA Cup Draw: Chelsea draw Leicester; Man City visit Newcastle

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Four of the “Big Six” clubs from previous seasons have a chance to make the FA Cup semifinals after the quarterfinal draw took place on Wednesday night.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Holders Manchester City was drawn at Newcastle United, Chelsea was drawn at Leicester City, and Arsenal was drawn at high flying Sheffield United. Either Manchester United or Derby, who face off on Thursday, will visit Norwich for the final match of the quarterfinals.

Earlier this season, Newcastle played to a thrilling 2-2 draw with Manchester City, as Jonjo Shelvey scored a dramatic game-tying goal in the 88th minute. Arsenal nearly lost to Sheffield United in January, which sets up a fantastic rematch in March. Chelsea and Leicester City meanwhile are neck and neck in the Premier League table, so it will be interesting to see how strong of a lineup they select in this upcoming matchup.

Meanwhile, Manchester United could put away former star and captain Wayne Rooney and Derby, and make it an all-Premier League quarterfinals. However, Rooney could have one last word to say against his former club.

The matches for the FA Cup quarterfinals will be played between March 20 through March 22.