EPL News: Why Man City vs Arsenal match postponed

Manchester City vs Arsenal postponed due to coronavirus concerns as Arsenal players self-isolate after meeting infected Olympiakos owner.

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As Manchester City vs Arsenal becomes the first major sporting event in Britain to be called off as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, here’s all you need to know.

Why has the game been postponed?

A number of Arsenal players and staff have been forced to self-isolate after meeting Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis, who revealed on Tuesday he had contracted COVID-19.

What measures are Arsenal taking?

Although the risk of infection is said to be extremely low, they are strictly following government guidelines which state anyone who has come into contact with the virus should self-isolate at home for 14 days.

The game with Olympiakos took place on February 27 – 13 days ago – so the players in question, and four members of staff who were sitting close to Marinakis during the match, remain at home and unavailable.

As a result, Wednesday’s fixture at City has been postponed, although the Gunners have stressed the decision is a precautionary measure.

How many players are self-isolating?

Arsenal revealed “a number of players” met the Olympiakos owner immediately after the game but are yet to confirm exact numbers of those in self-isolation.

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However, Arsenal’s first-team players were not training on Wednesday after being given a day off following the postponement.

When will the rearranged City-Arsenal game take place?

At this stage, a new date for the Manchester City vs Arsenal fixture remains unclear.

The Premier League has revealed it currently has no plans to postpone any other matches, but with the fixture schedule already congested, the calendar may have to be rearranged to accommodate the rescheduled fixture.

City and Arsenal have confirmed tickets will be valid for the rearranged fixture.

Why hasn’t the game at Brighton been postponed?

With contact with Marinakis occurring on 13 days ago, players and staff will be able to return to work on Friday if they do not show any symptoms when the 14-day self-isolation period ends on Thursday.

It means that, as things stand, Saturday’s Premier League match at Brighton goes ahead as scheduled.

Would the affected players be available at Brighton?

Yes, but only on the condition that they were symptom-free at the end of the 14-day self-isolation period.

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If the affected players are symptom-free at the end of Thursday, they are free to return to training on Friday and would be available for Saturday’s trip to the AMEX Stadium.

Their participation would rest with Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta, who is expected to provide an update on his squad when he speaks to the media at his pre-match press conference on Friday.

Are any other matches under threat?

As this stage, the Premier League insists it has no plans to postpone any other matches.

English clubs have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak in European competition though, with Chelsea, Manchester United, Wolves and Rangers all due to play behind closed doors.

Does this affect Liverpool winning the title?

The postponement of Manchester City’s fixture with Arsenal has not changed the fact that Liverpool still need just six points to the win the Premier League.

The postponement does mean the Reds will no longer be able to win the title without kicking a ball, but it does open up the possibility of being crowned champions at Goodison Park.

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If Manchester City lose to Burnley on Saturday, Liverpool will need just three points to clinch the title and could win it with victory over Everton in the Merseyside derby on Monday Night Football, live on Sky Sports.

Analysis: Handshake at the heart of concerns

Sky Sports News reporter Dharmesh Sheth…

“We’ve been told that none of the Arsenal players that were in contact with Marinakis were in prolonged contact with Marinakis. One player did, however, shake hands with the Olympiakos owner, and that has led to this situation.

“Arsenal players are expected back in training on Thursday, and those who have self-isolated are expected back on Friday, providing they do not show symptoms.

“Another issue that has come up following the postponement is the fact Arsenal have played two games since the Olympiakos game – against Portsmouth in the FA Cup and West Ham in the Premier League.

“At this stage, though, that is not thought to pose an issue as there are no coronavirus cases at Arsenal.”

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