Manchester City have a nightmare task on their hands rescheduling upcoming matches against Chelsea and Manchester United if their Covid-19 outbreak forces them to postpone both fixtures.
City had no choice but to ask the Premier League to postpone their clash with Everton on Monday night after another five of their players contracted coronavirus.
Their latest blow came after Kyle Walker, Gabriel Jesus and two members of staff tested positive on Christmas Day, meaning none of them could be involved in their Boxing Day victory against Newcastle.
And on Monday Pep Guardiola was dealt another setback, which is only likely to make his jam-packed fixture schedule even more congested.
Along with the latest five City players to test positive, Walker and Jesus’ 10-day isolation period will take them past their Premier League showdown with Chelsea on January 3.
Premier League chiefs may therefore have no choice but to postpone that fixture too, especially given City’s training ground is now shut pending further tests, which means their Carabao Cup semi-final against United three days later will also be in jeopardy.
But rescheduling those two fixtures and Monday’s trip to Everton is going to be prove an absolute nightmare for City, who still have another five matches to play in January.
Guardiola and co are due to host Birmingham in the FA Cup third round on January 10, before Brighton visit in the Premier League three days later.
Crystal Palace then do the same on January 17, before City go away to West Brom on January 26.
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The nine-day gap in between those games could be the perfect opportunity to reschedule their clash with Everton, but trying to cram in the Chelsea and United fixtures will still be a complete conundrum.
After their meeting with Sheffield United on January 30, City have six matches to play in February with a Champions League last-16 trip to Borussia Monchengladbach in store on the 24th.
Their longest gap in between games in February is a seven-day period after their crucial trip to Premier League champions Liverpool on February 6, with another tough test at home to Tottenham coming on February 13.
The games are only going to come thicker and faster as we approach the business end of the campaign, too, leaving City and Premier League officials with a real conundrum.
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Man City fixture schedule – January/February
January 10: Birmingham (H) – FA Cup third round
January 13: Brighton (H) – Premier League
January 17: Crystal Palace (H) – Premier League
January 26: West Brom (A) – Premier League
January 30: Sheffield United (H) – Premier League
February 2: Burnley (A) – Premier League
February 6: Liverpool (A) – Premier League
February 13: Tottenham (A) – Premier League
February 20: Arsenal (A) – Premier League
February 24: Borussia Monchengladbach (A) – Champions League last-16 first leg
February 27: West Ham (H) – Premier League
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