Mikel Arteta believes Asenal’s Premier League clash against Tottenham Hotspur could be postponed
Many Premier League teams have been hit by the recent Covid 19 outbreak, and the problems are on the rise. 18 Premier League games have been postponed due to Covid-related reasons.
Arsenal saw one of their one game get postponed whereas three of Tottenham’s matches have been rescheduled. However, according to Gunners manager Mikel Arteta, both teams are at the risk of bearing another postponement due to a shortage of players.
Arsenal midfielder Martin Odegaard tested positive for Covid-19 a few hours before the game vs Liverpool and had to be isolated. And during that first-leg semi-final game at Anfield, two Arsenal players – Cedric Soares and Bukayo Saka- were substituted due to fitness concerns. On top of that, Granit Xhaka received a red card which directly rules him out for the next match against the Lilywhites.
What next for Arsenal vs Spurs?
It is believed that Arteta’s team is left with just 12 outfield players currently, which doesn’t meet the criteria of 14 players- 13 outfield players and a goalkeeper- required to compete in a Premier League match.
When asked about the possibility of the North London derby being postponed, Mikel Arteta suggested that the risk of such a situation is indeed there, but he would approach the training sessions assuming that they would play.
“[Postponement] is a possibility in every game, from our side and the opponents’ side with the issues everyone is having, and it is happening every week. But we try to prepare the game thinking we will play.”
The Spanish manager also hinted at the crisis relating to his team’s missing players but claimed that he would be trying to field a competitive team if possible on Sunday.
“We came here, and we were missing nine or 10 players. We don’t know what to expect the next day, so we cannot be looking at that. But we have players I decided to play, and we will try to do the same on Sunday.”
The postponed games haven’t been very advantageous for our team, considering that we were eliminated from the UEFA Conference League due to not finding a suitable date for our game vs Stade Rennais. On top of that, if the game against Arsenal gets postponed, we would have to play three Premier League clashes on a rescheduled date, making the schedule more hectic in the second half of the season.
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Some of our essential players such as Son Heung-min, Cristian Romero and Steven Bergwijn are already sidelined, and the increased pressure of the hectic schedule would only bring additional risk on players’ fitness.
We are already out of the Carabao Cup and the UECL, while the PL title seems like an unattainable dream right now. But a top-four finish, undoubtedly, would be a massive achievement for us right now and if we have to play a lot of rescheduled games one after the other, it could seriously disrupt our rhythm and impact team selection. So, hopefully, we get to see the North London derby take place on Sunday itself.