Manchester City fans would be forgiven for thinking their team had been given a snow day looking at their training ground on Tuesday.
But the reality is far different to a cheeky day off work – as it is unclear when they’ll be allowed back.
Pep Guardiola’s star-studded squad have suffered a nasty Covid-19 outbreak which has spread like wildfire.
As a result of the various positive tests, the Premier League granted a last-minute postponement of their game with Everton at Goodison Park on Monday.
Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus had already contracted coronavirus recently, along with two members of City’s staff.
And more positive tests came back ahead of the Everton showdown, with at least five more players now carrying the virus.
City immediately shut their training ground and released a statement on Monday to confirm the seriousness of the situation.
Newcastle were in a similar boat a few weeks back, and they are still shaking off the effects of an outbreak in their squad.
City’s season was just get going of late as they aim to chase down reigning champions Liverpool in the Premier League title race.
A 2-0 victory over Steve Bruce’s still-depleted Newcastle on Boxing Day raised spirits, especially off the back of City’s 4-1 Carabao Cup triumph in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals last week.
But seven days on from that win in north London, City are in crisis, and they believe it stems from that trip to the Emirates.
Reports suggest City fear the outbreak can be traced to a London hotel they stand in for the Arsenal tie.
Looking forward, their Premier League clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, January 3 (4.30pm) and their Carabao Cup semi-final with Manchester United at Old Trafford next Wednesday (7.45pm) are now in huge doubt.
Postponements would play havoc with City’s fixture schedule, with Guardiola’s team still in the Champions League and facing an FA Cup third-round tie with Championship side Birmingham at the Etihad on Sunday, January 10 (1.30pm).
No group preparations will take place for those games for the foreseeable future, as City’s training ground is off limits.
Security are on hand at Etihad Campus, with cars having been spotted leaving the premises on Tuesday morning.
Midfielder Rodri was also photoed at the complex in his car, but no training is going ahead.
Mass testing of City’s players and staff is being undertaken on Tuesday, and the results will come back on Wednesday.
That will give a clearer indication of what sort of nightmare City face and how long it could be before they are back in action on the pitch, let alone off it.
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