Pep Guardiola expects coronavirus will cause Premier League games to be played without fans
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By Michael Jordan
Last Updated: 10/03/20 5:18pm
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola expects Premier League games to be played without fans as concerns over coronavirus escalate.
The French and Spanish leagues announced on Tuesday that fixtures will be played without spectators for the next few weeks, while clubs in Germany began following their health minister's advice to do the same in an attempt to prevent its spread.
Guardiola says the Premier League will likely have to perform similar precautions due to the high attendances throughout the top-flight, but suggested he preferred to postpone fixtures altogether because without fans it makes "no sense".
Guardiola said: "It's happened already in Italy and in Spain - and I think it's going to happen here.
"We have to ask is it worth playing football without the spectators? We do our job for the people. If the people cannot come to watch the games, there is no sense.
"We are going to follow the instructions from the governments, everybody all around the world is involved in that - and we'll just follow what we have to do."
The Premier League is yet to change any football fixtures but has scrapped the traditional pre-match handshake between players and officials, while clubs have been putting in place their own measures at stadiums, mostly surrounding best hygiene practice.
But Guardiola's sentiments came on the day the Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis announced he had the illness, raising concerns having recently attending the Championship match against Millwall and Olympiakos' Europa League clash at Arsenal.
Guardiola is preparing to meet his former assistant Mikel Arteta for the first time as Arsenal boss when they visit the Etihad on Wednesday, and Guardiola praised his impact at the Emirates since December.
Arteta has had a mixed run of form during the early stages of his reign at the Emirates, but Guardiola says that his former assistant coach has done incredibly well to already implement his ideas into his new side.
Guardiola said: "I was convinced he would be a manager. When the opportunity came, he decided it was the right opportunity for him.
"His positional game is getting better day by day - doing that in a short time is not easy. I am pretty sure Arsenal will have success in the future with him on the bench."
Kevin De Bruyne missed City's Manchester derby defeat at Old Trafford on Sunday, and remains a doubt for the visit of Arsenal.
Guardiola confirmed the Belgium midfielder has trained for the last two days, but is unsure whether he will be fit enough to feature.