rsenal is today assessing the damage to his side following last night’s draw against Liverpool, amid fears the North London derby against Tottenham could be postponed.
The Gunners were already running out of numbers ahead of last night’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Anfield, which ended 0-0, and their problems escalated after Granit Xhaka’s expulsion and the expulsion by Bukayo Saka and Cedric Soares. possible injuries.
That leaves Arsenal facing the prospect of having just 12 first-team outfielders available for Sunday’s trip to Tottenham. Premier League guidelines state that clubs must have 13 outfielders and a goalkeeper.
Arsenal’s squad could be strengthened by the weekend and the squad are due to report to their London Colney base this afternoon for training.
According to League protocols, players will undergo a series of Covid-19 tests and Arsenal have had at least one team member tested positive for the virus before their last six games. Martin Odegaard tested positive ahead of the game against Liverpool and will miss Sunday’s derby.
Cedric and Saka were due to be assessed today by medical staff after limping last night, while Emile Smith Rowe (groin), Sead Kolasinac (hamstrings) and Takehiro Tomiyasu (calf) will all be checked after missing the last night’s game against Liverpool.
Mohamed Elneny, Nicolas Pepe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Thomas Partey are at the Africa Cup of Nations, bringing the list of possible Arsenal absentees to 11 for the weekend.
So far, 20 Premier League games have been postponed this season due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, including Leicester’s trip to Burnley this weekend.
The virus caused players to miss games by isolation, while it also forced those involved to play more minutes and therefore teams were also stretched due to injuries. Normally, clubs would be able to cope with this, and CAN, by Covid, has made the problem worse.
The most recent game to be called up was Leicester’s clash with Everton on Tuesday, with the Foxes not having enough players due to Covid-19 cases, injuries and players in international service at CAN.
Clubs, however, did not respond to requests and Chelsea were forced to play Wolves ahead of Christmas, despite only naming four outfielders to the bench.
Arteta said late last night that he was not sure Sunday’s game would take place and that he was due to provide a new update this afternoon when speaking to the media.
“It’s a possibility in any game on our side, on the opponent’s side, because of the number of problems everyone has and because it happens every week,” he said.
“But we try to prepare for the games by thinking that we are going to play. If something happens along the way, this is it.
Arsenal are desperate to strengthen their squad, especially the midfield area, and a move for Arthur from Juventus is progressing.
“I think I’ve been very clear with the situation with Jack and the role he’s going to have here and we’re continuing the same way,” he said.
Midfielder will be a key area for Arteta on Sunday, if the game goes as planned, and there is a lack of options there.
Albert Sambi Lokonga is the only senior central midfielder available and Arteta could be forced to play against 18-year-old Charlie Patino. Another option would be to push Ben White into such a role or have Calum Chambers replace him.
Arteta will at least have taken a lot of courage from last night’s performance at Anfield, where Arsenal dug deep to win a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final.
“He is an extraordinary opponent and we got a result under the circumstances,” he said.
“We have to take it as a positive, but we have a second leg and we’re going to need everyone.
“We have to create a good atmosphere in the Emirates with the fans who traveled today, who created an incredible noise and gave us incredible energy, and put in a real game to try to get to the final.”