Arsenal’s clash at home against Manchester City on Wednesday is the first Premier League fixture to be postponed as a result of the coronavirus following fears some players have been exposed to the illness.
The Gunners exited the UEFA Europa League round of 32 via away goals in February following a 2-2 aggregate draw against Olympiacos. The Greek club’s owner, Evangelos Marinakis, has since been diagnosed with the coronavirus, Covid-19, and Arsenal confirmed via their official website that several players had met with the businessman after the match.
Arsenal’s statement confirmed four members of the club staff have been quarantined along with those players after sitting in close proximity to Marinakis, though the 14-day isolation period will end on Thursday. It’s also said that medical advice given to the club puts their risk of developing Covid-19 as being “extremely low.”
Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker responded to news of the first postponed Premier League game this season but agreed it was responsible to put safety ahead of entertainment:
The delayed fixture means it’s no longer possible for Liverpool to wrap up their first English top-flight title since 1990 this weekend. The Reds are 25 points clear at the table summit having played one game more than City, but the crown would have been assured had Pep Guardiola’s side lost against Arsenal before also falling at home to Burnley on Saturday.
Wolverhampton Wanderers criticised UEFA’s decision in refusing to postpone their Europa League last-16 clash against Olympiacos on Thursday, per the Press Association (via Guardian). The English outfit are still expected to travel to Piraeus in Greece and play the first leg behind closed doors, but a statement from Wolves said “the trip poses unnecessary risks to our players, staff, supporters and the families of all who travel.”