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OFF: Everton vs Manchester City in Premier League axed at four hours' notice as Guardiola's side see FIVE positive Covid-19 tests

OFF: Everton vs Manchester City in Premier League axed at four hours' notice as Guardiola's side see FIVE positive Covid-19 tests
Monday evening's Premier League fixture between Everton and Manchester City has become the latest sporting event to hit the coronavirus scrapheap after five of Pep Guardiola's squad tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of the game.

Guardiola's side were due to travel to Goodison Park for Monday evening's fixture against Carlo Ancelotti's in-form Everton but the club released a statement to confirm that the game has been nixed just hours before the game was due to kick off. 

The identities of the players or staff have not yet been revealed, but the club confirmed the outbreak and the cancelation of the game in a statement released late Monday afternoon.

"Manchester City FC can confirm that this evening’s Premier League fixture at Everton has been postponed," the statement read.

"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."

News of the outbreak within the Manchester City ranks comes just days after it was confirmed that Gabriel Jesus and Kyle Walker, as well as two staff members, had tested positive for Covid-19 in advance of City's last game against Newcastle - news that prompted City boss Pep Guardiola to state that the club must be "careful" during their recovery.

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"Covid is here," Guardiola said. "It is not just here in Man City, it is all around the world attacking hard. So that's why we have to be careful and what we want in the next days is for them not to have symptoms and recover."

Monday's news suggests that the pervasive virus has spread within Manchester City's bubble - prompting concerns that the team's January 3 game against Chelsea may also be canned. 

It was also confirmed on Monday that the United Kingdom has registered a further 41,385 positive tests for Covid-19 within a 24-hour period - the largest such figures since the pandemic began.

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