The Gunners have yet to make a formal request to postpone Sunday’s North London Derby against Tottenham Hotspur as Arsenal are on threshold of not having enough players to fulfil the fixture.
Arsenal’s manager was buoyant on Thursday night, hailing his team’s spirit and mentality for grinding out a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their semi-final against Liverpool.
Mikel Arteta’s side were missing nine players as they drew 0-0 with Liverpool in their Carabao Cup semi-final on Thursday night.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Thomas Partey, Nicolas Pepe and Mohamed Elneny are all at the Africa Cup of Nations, while Emile Smith Rowe (injury), Martin Odegaard (Covid) and Takehiro Tomiyasu are also missing.
Arsenal were forced to play 71 minutes with 10 men following Granit Xhaka’s red card, and he will now be suspended for the game against Tottenham.
Cedric Soares and Bukayo Saka are also injury doubts after limping off.
Arteta on whether the Derby will be called off?
“It is a possibility in every game. Arteta said.
“From our side, from the opponent’s side, because of the amount of issues everyone is having and because it is happening every week.
“We try to prepare games thinking we are going to play
“If something happens along the way, it is what it is.”
On the other hand, Tottenham Hotspur head coach Antonio Conte Will be without Cristian Romero, Eric Dier, Son Heung-min, and Steven Bergwijn(doubt) for the North London derby at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
“In this moment we have only two strikers, Harry and Lucas, and then there is Bergwijn, and then also there is Scarlett, he is also recovering from an injury.” Conte said in his press conference.
“As you know very well we have many injuries and then there is also the Covid situation that you have to check every day and sometimes you find a surprise…All teams are suffering at the moment.”
Will the Derby be called off?
football.london understands that Arsenal players and staff are being tested at their London Colney training base today.
Those results are expected back within the next 24 hours which will give a further indication over whether the club will make a formal request to postpone the game.
According to the Premier League rules on postponements, a match will be postponed if a club cannot field 13 outfield players and a goalkeeper.
But if anyone else picks up Covid-19, or if (for example) Saka doesn’t recover from the knock that forced him off against Liverpool, then Arsenal could request a postponement.
But for now, the fixture is very much in the balance right now.
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.
Clubs, however, have failed with requests and Chelsea were forced to play Wolves before Christmas, despite naming just four outfield players on the bench.