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U.S. soccer's Christian Pulisic contracts COVID-19, out for Chelsea-Arsenal

Chelsea midfielder Christian Pulisic contracted COVID-19 this week and must isolate for at least 10 days. Photo by Frank Augstein/EPA-EFE
Chelsea midfielder Christian Pulisic contracted COVID-19 this week and must isolate for at least 10 days. Photo by Frank Augstein/EPA-EFE

Aug. 20 (UPI) -- United States Men's National Team soccer star Christian Pulisic tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss Chelsea's match against Arsenal on Sunday, Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel said Friday at a news conference.

"With Christian, it's unfortunately very easy to explain," Tuchel told reporters. "He had a positive test and needs to follow the protocols, so he won't be available for the game."

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The 22-year-old midfielder confirmed the positive test result Friday on Instagram. Pulisic, who is asymptomatic, must isolate for at least 10 days, according to the United Kingdom's COVID-19 guidelines.

"Unfortunately, I tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week," Pulisic wrote on the social media platform. "Thankfully I'm fully vaccinated and I have no symptoms so far."

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Chelsea faces Arsenal at 11:30 a.m. EDT Sunday at Emirates Stadium in London. Tuchel hinted that Romelu Lukaku, Hakim Ziyech and N'Golo Kante, who didn't play in Chelsea's Premier League opener, could appear in Sunday's game.

Chelsea beat Crystal Palace 3-0 Saturday at Stamford Bridge in London. Pulisic scored the second goal in the Blues' Premier League season opener.

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Pulisic's positive COVID-19 test result comes just weeks before the U.S. men face El Salvador in a World Cup qualifier. That game is at 10:05 p.m. EDT Sept. 2 in San Salvador, El Salvador.

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Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta told reporters Friday that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Willian and Alex Runarsson are doubtful for the Gunners on Sunday in London.

All four players tested positive for COVID-19 last week and missed Arsenals 2-0 loss to Brentford on Aug. 13 in Brentford, England.

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