It has been confirmed that Arsenal’s clash with Brighton, due to take place on Saturday, has been postponed after Gunners boss Mikel Arteta tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday.
Arsenal have confirmed that both the London Colney and Hale End training facilities have been closed and the Guardian reports that the entire first-team squad and coaching staff will now self-isolate for 14 days from the moment they last had close contact with the boss. It is said as many as 100 staff could be forced to do the same.
The Premier League have convened an emergency meeting for tomorrow in which they will discuss next steps. Given that football has been suspended or is being played behind closed doors in a number of leagues across the continent it wouldn’t be surprising if the same happened here.
Regarding the late postponement of Saturday’s match at the AMEX, Brighton’s chief executive Paul Barber said: “First and foremost our thoughts are with Mikel Arteta and we wish him a speedy recovery.
“It’s absolutely essential the health and wellbeing of individuals takes priority and with that in mind Saturday’s match has been postponed.
“We apologise to all fans for any inconvenience but trust everyone will understand that we are all facing an unprecedented situation.
“The Premier League has announced this evening that they will convene an emergency meeting of all clubs tomorrow morning, and we will update supporters on future fixtures as and when we are in a position to do so.”
Five members of Arsenal’s first team squad had spent the last 48 hours self-isolating having come into contact with Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis. The Greek, who was in attendance at the Emirates on the night his side knocked us out of the Europa League, confirmed this week that he’d tested positive for the virus.
It is understood that Mikel Arteta did not have contact with Marinakis.
Unsurprisingly, Academy fixtures are also affected. The under-23s’ showdown with Sp*rs, scheduled for Friday, is off as are games involving the under-18s and under-16s.