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Manchester City's season has been thrown into chaos after tonight's game with Everton was postponed due to a rise in Covid-19 cases at the club.
The former Premier League champions have been forced to close their training ground and suspend training following an outbreak of the pandemic within the squad and coaching staff.
Five more members of Pep Guardiola's squad have tested positive for coronavirus and the news comes after Kyle Walker, Gabriel Jesus and some club staff members returned positive tests ahead of the Boxing Day win over Newcastle.
The virus has now spread within the team bubble – meaning Sunday's crunch showdown with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge is now at risk of being called off as well.
A City statement 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."
Guardiola's squad were not scheduled to train tomorrow and will now undergo another round of testing to see if anyone else has contracted the virus.
Guardiola's men already face a packed schedule of at least three games a week for the foreseeable future and the postponement of games will complicate their fixture planning even more.
A Premier League statement said: "Manchester City lodged a request with the Premier League today to rearrange the game following an increase in positive Covid-19 test results received by the club this morning, on top of the cases reported on Christmas Day.
"This rise has created uncertainty and the Premier League Board received medical advice that the match should be postponed. The Board agreed to rearrange the game as a precaution, and further testing will now take place tomorrow.
"The decision has been taken with the health of players and staff the priority.
"The Premier League continues to have full confidence in its protocols and rules, and the way in which all clubs are implementing them.
"The League wishes those with COVID-19 a safe and speedy recovery and will rearrange the postponed fixture against Everton in due course."
- Manchester City FC
- Premier League
- Everton FC
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