Focus on Portsmouth's FA Cup clash as Arsenal players self-isolate amid coronavirus fears

Ross McCrorie  and Ryan Williams challenge Gabriel Martinelli against Arsenal. Picture: Joe PeplerRoss McCrorie  and Ryan Williams challenge Gabriel Martinelli against Arsenal. Picture: Joe Pepler
Ross McCrorie and Ryan Williams challenge Gabriel Martinelli against Arsenal. Picture: Joe Pepler | JPIMedia
Questions have been raised over the Pompey squad coming into contact with Arsenal players now in self-isolation over coronavirus fears.

Arsenal’s game with Manchester City has been called off tonight as a ‘precautionary measure’ after Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis contracted the virus.

Marinakis, who also owns Championship side Nottingham Forest, came into contact with several Gunners players in their Europa League match with his club a fortnight ago.

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Pompey, of course, faced Mikel Arteta’s side in the FA Cup at Fratton Park four days after the encounter – with a number of players including Gabriel Martinelli, David Luiz, Bukayo Saka, Sokratis and Lucas Torreira also in action action against Olympiakos.

In a statement released last night, Arsenal explained the risk of players developing Covid-19 was ‘extremely low’, but they are self-isolating until Friday.

The statement said: ‘The medical advice we have received puts the risk of them developing Covid-19 at extremely low.

‘However, we are strictly following the Government guidelines which recommend that anyone coming into close contact with someone with the virus should self-isolate at home for 14 days from the last time they had contact.

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‘As a result, the players are unavailable for tonight's match against Manchester City and the Premier League has decided the game should be postponed. The players will remain at their homes until the 14-day period expires.’

The 14-day period for the Arsenal players comes to a close on Friday, when they are expected to return to prepare for this weekend’s clash with Arsenal.

If any Pompey players were required to self-isolate for 14 days from the Arsenal FA Cup game on March 2, that period would cover Saturday’s Fratton Park meeting with Accrington.

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