Everton's match against Newcastle has been postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Magpies squad, the Premier League has announced.
Newcastle had gone into Monday's clash against Manchester United with their squad already depleted by positive tests and injuries before also losing Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin to injury during the 1-1 draw.
"The board accepted Newcastle's postponement application as the club does not have the required number of players available for the match (13 outfield players and one goalkeeper), due to COVID-19 cases and injuries," a Premier League statement said.
"The board was able to make its decision in advance of the fixture to give clarity to the affected clubs and their fans. We apologise for the inconvenience and disruption caused to supporters' festive plans."
The postponement is the latest to impact on the top-flight schedule, with Tuesday's games between Arsenal and Wolves as well as Leeds versus Aston Villa also not able to be played.
Following the United game, Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe had admitted the trip to Everton on Friday morning (AEDT) was in doubt, as he was "dangerously close" to not having enough players available.
Karl Darlow, Ciaran Clark, Matt Ritchie, Joe Willock and the suspended Isaac Hayden were absent from a matchday squad which featured only eight substitutes.
Full-back Javier Manquillo then picked up his fifth yellow card of the campaign so would be banned against Everton.
Everton, managed by former Magpies boss Rafael Benitez, have not played since December 16 as a result of their own selection problems.
The 20th round of the EPL has now been reduced to seven fixtures.
Meanwhile, Arsenal have announced manager Mikel Arteta will sit out Saturday's crunch Premier League game at home to Manchester City after testing positive for the virus.
Arsenal are fourth in the table on 35 points after 19 games, 12 points behind leaders City.
"Mikel is isolating in line with Government guidelines and we wish him well," Arsenal said in a statement.
Britain reported a record 129,471 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday as it battles a surge in infections fuelled by the Omicron variant.
Australian Associated Press
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